Monday, December 29, 2014

Krazy and Ignatz 1941-1942

Written by: George Herriman

First line: Double "kats"--a pretty sight, but it isn't right.

Why you should read this book: Krazy Kat adores Ignatz Mouse, whose daily practice is to attempt to brain his admirer with a brick, while Offisa Pup, outraged by the boldly sadomasochistic relationship, does his best to incarcerate the reprobate mouse. On the surface, Herriman spent almost twenty years telling this same story over and over, and yet the level of invention, the playfulness with language and imagery and the comic format, the roundabout plots and trickery, the levelheaded observations about human nature, and the general weirdness keep Krazy Kat fresh to this day, a continuing source of inspiration for no-holds-barred cartoon violence. Also, I'm now fairly certain that Krazy Kat is a metaphor for the closeted homosexuality grimly suffered by many men of the era, but feel free to argue if you disagree.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Herriman's reliance on dialect can make his scripts a little difficult to puzzle out, but native English speakers can generally parse his meaning with a small degree of effort.

No comments: