Posts Tagged ‘Krazy Kat’

That Krazy Kat

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Krazy&IgnatzA lot of people when asked “Who were the first cat and mouse team in comic strips?” typically answer Tom & Jerry or Sylvester & Speedy Gonzales. But very few know about ‘Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse’.

Krazy Kat was first conceived by George Herriman in 1903 when he appeared in a newspaper gag panel as a tiny black kitten with a white bow in the ‘washbolla’. Krazy was really no more than a black smudge on the page. But the cat continued to appear in George’s work until September 6th, 1903 when he got his first half page comic strip. Thus the Kat was born and given a name! He continued to grow in popularity and soon in 1913 regular “Krazy Kat” comic strips were found in pages of the New York Journal.

It wasn’t long afterwards that George took a simple mouse that appeared in the backgrounds of his comic strips and pair him up with Krazy Kat and the birth of the first cat and mouse team was born. Ignatz mouse was depicted as an angry straight man that reacted to Krazy’s mad off the wall insights and remarks. Krazy was a carefree indeterminate gender cat who constantly tried to ‘win’ Ignatz heart. The mouse, clearly offended by this would hurl a brick at the cat’s head, but Krazy took this as an expression of love. You could say there was also a bit of a love triangle, due to the fact that there was also a bull dog involved in later strips acting like the ‘protective’ boyfriend of Ignatz, but that gets confusing to follow.

And so, Krazy and Ignatz mouse along with a few other friends from Coconino Country told their tale in Sunday newspapers across the country week after week, then year after year! Biographically there really isn’t more to say about George Herriman’s career. He did go on to make a few animated ‘shorts’ of Krazy and Ignatz, but never really got to give the production the direction they sorely needed.

Feel free to do a little more research if you want to learn more about George Herriman’s contributions to comic strip art.