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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Zip!

Gilbert Seldes, author of The Seven Lively Arts, called Krazy Kat the most amusing, fantastic, and satisfactory work of art produced in America. It was a strip of pure fantasy; the lush language was insane poetry. The ourageous love-hate tragic-farce took place on a surrealistic stage of sparse Western landscape: abstract cathedrallike mountains and mysterious vegetation, ever-changing and evolving, disappearing or suddenly springing from the void. Coconino County's basic characters were a cat (Krazy Kat), a mouse (Ignatz), and a cop (Offisa B. Pupp), and the basic props: a brick (from Kelly's Exclusive Brick Yard) and a jail. Ignatz was a mouse with a mission: to "Krease that Kat's bean with a brick." Offisa Pupp, Krazy's unrequited lover, regularly tossed Ignatz behind bars, despite the fact that to Krazy Kat each brick from the "li'l ainjil" was a missle of love. It could have been the eternal triangle except for Ignatz, the anarchist and cynic.
George Herriman created this classic comic in 1911, and it died with him in 1944. Krazy Kat never gained a large syndicated list of newspapers. Its appeal was apparently too intellectual. Among the Kat's avid collectors were the poet e. e. cummings and Woodrow Wilson, who refused to miss a single episode.

- Jerry Robinson, The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art, 1974

2 comments:

Sharif M. said...

Krazy Kat is great. I particularly love the cartoon series based on the original strip(there was a dvd release of it a couple of years back); as opposed to a newspaper strip, the cartoon highlights the kind of weird sado-masochism that used to be marketed to children back in the day.

There's also a great novel by Jay Cantor exploring the ironies and psychology of these characters.

Spencer Carnage said...

There's a cartoon? That sounds like something I need rent, buy, or steal...