– panel detail, Krazy Kat
One of the most underappreciated (in its time) comic strips of the early 20th Century, Krazy Kat (1913-1944) and its ineffable charms are celebrated in Krazy: George Herriman, A Life in Black and White. This new biography of cartoonist Herriman by Michael Tisserand explores questions of identity (particularly racial) as seen through the prism of Herriman’s cartoon masterpiece and through Herriman’s own life.
Krazy Kat‘s premise is simple. Ignatz Mouse has a visceral loathing of the laid-back, spacy and gender indeterminate Krazy. This loathing manifests itself through the hurling of bricks, which Krazy misinterprets as declarations of love. The third prong of this problematic love triangle is the long-suffering Offisa Pupp, the strip’s resident Keystone-ish canine law enforcement officer. Pupp is devoted to Krazy and will go to any lengths to keep Ignatz away – and for nearly thirty years William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers featured the surreal, endlessly reconfigurable adventures of the bizarre residents of a fictionalized Coconino County, Arizona. Unrequited love looped endlessly in Coconino’s warm cocoon of madness, and Krazy is a fantastic exploration of the man who brought the strip to such vivid and timeless life.