Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A new 'golden age' (III) (for realsies)

Alright, I've made up my limited mind and decided to go with Krazy Kat for this week's blog post on the comics of yore. Sorry to end the suspense.

Krazy Kat started as bit player as the family cat in George Herriman's zany strip 'The Family Upstairs'. (Sounds kinda creepy, now that I think of it.) The titular family was never shown, and always caused grief to the strip's protagonist, the head of the Dingbat family. Their cat appeared in a miniature strip at the bottom of the page, along with a prickly mouse named Ignatz (apparently the pet of the family that lived upstairs). In 1913, Krazy and Ignatz were given their own comic strip and The Family Upstairs faded into oblivion.

Krazy and Ignatz were joined by the new antagonist, 'Officer Bull Pupp, the constable. And a new, bizarre triangle was formed. For you see, Krazy was in love with Ignatz, who hated her; he often threw a brick at her head, which Krazy took as a sign of affection and always enjoyed getting hit with a brick now and then. But Officer Pupp was fond of Krazy, so he usually made life miserable for Ignatz by throwing him in jail at every opportunity. What kind of nutso world was this?! And the setting for all this was the southwestern American desert.

The American public didn't like it all that much, though the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who owned the syndicate, loved it. So it stayed until Herriman's death in April, 1944. History has been very kind to this comic strip, as several in the industry have regarded it as the greatest comic strip ever made. I disagree as it's not one of my favorites, but I do like it, still. And Fantagraphics (them again) has reprinted every Sunday page from 1925-1944, and is now preparing to publish three more volumes covering 1916-1924's Sunday pages (which were printed years back and now out of print).



  1. I'm amazed at how much you know about old comics. That's not a knock...that's a compliment.

  2. Lucas' compliments are like the bricks Ignatz throws at Krazy.

  3. Lucas, thanks very much for the kompliment. Though there is one glaring omission on my part--an obvious reference to the one and only Steve the krazy kat. Why didn't I point that out... Ah well.


  4. I loved Krazy Kat. I think there must have been Krazy Kat comics books. I remember, at my grandmother's, there were some very old comics in a dresser that we were allowed to read. Krazy was great. I think there were also Porky Pig, some Disney, Archie and some super hero books that she had. Please address Tintin at some point. We are big Tintin fans here. The library has quite a few Tintin comics.

  5. Absolutely. Tintin is indeed part of the line-up for this series. I've been a Tintin fan since 1995. Oh, and I also plan to review a book that just came out that is a treasury of children's comics from the 1940s and 1950s. These, too, are part of the 'golden age'.