Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Krazy Kat

Cartoonist George Herriman, Creole creator of the comic strip Krazy Kat (beginning in 1914), was born on this day in 1880 in New Orleans.

Krazy Kat -- an ironic, surreal fantasy set in a fictional Southwestern desert mesa known as Coconino, in which Krazy, a romantic addle-brained optimist, carries a torch for the beady-eyed realist Ignatz Mouse, despite the fact that Ignatz's favorite activity is throwing bricks at Krazy's noggin.

The strip was long appreciated by critics, who noted Herriman's devotion to Cervantes' Don Quixote de la Mancha throughout his work; at the height of its popularity, art critic Gilbert Seldes, in his book The Seven Lively Arts (1924), called Krazy Kat "the most amusing and fantastic and satisfactory work of art produced in America today." Herriman's comic strip also inspired a jazz-pantomime ballet, scored by John Alden Carpenter (1922), and an apocalyptic novel, by Jay Cantor (1987).

Herriman died on April 25, 1944 in Hollywood.



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