Krazy & Ignatz 1927- 1928: Love Letters in Ancient Brick edited by Bill Blackbeard
Trade Paperback – Fantagraphics – Dec 2002 – 116 pages
This volume is one of a long-term plan to chronologically reprint strips from the prime of Herriman’s career, most of which have not seen print since originally running in newspapers 75 years ago. Each volume is edited by the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum’s Bill Blackbeard, the world’s foremost authority on early 20th Century American comic strips, and designed by Jimmy Corrigan author Chris Ware. In addition to the 104 full-page black-and-white Sunday strips from 1927 and 1928 (Herriman did not use color until 1935), the book includes introductions by Blackbeard, vaudeville historian Ben Schwartz and reproductions of rare Herriman ephemera from Ware’s own extensive collection, as well as annotations and other notes by Ware and Blackbeard. Krazy Kat is a love story, focusing on the relationships of its three main characters. Krazy Kat adored Ignatz Mouse. Ignatz Mouse just tolerated Krazy Kat, except for recurrent onsets of targeting tumescence, which found expression in the fast delivery of bricks to Krazy’s cranium. Offisa Pup loved Krazy and sought to protect “her” (Herriman always maintained that Krazy was genderless) by throwing Ignatz in jail. Each of the characters was ignorant of the others’ true motivations, and this simple structure allowed Herriman to build entire worlds of meaning into the actions, building thematic depth and sweeping his readers up by the looping verbal rhythms of Krazy & Co.’s unique dialogue.