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Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman Paperback – September 1, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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From Library Journal

This 1986 volume collects a large portion of Herriman's Krazy Kat comic strips, which appeared in newspapers nationwide for 31 years (until he died) as well as a smattering of his other artwork (158 illustrations, 48 in color). Though the strips were initially created for humor, critics now see a heavier surrealistic quality to Herriman's style.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


..".after World War II, when I came home, Krazy Kat became my hero. I had never seen Krazy Kat up until then because neither one of the papers in the Twin cities published it, so I didn't know Krazy Kat. But then it became my ambition to draw a strip that would have as much life and meaning and subtlety to it as Krazy Kat had."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810991853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810991859
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book stands as the best introduction to one of the best comic strips ever produced. Not only is it packed with hard to find "Krazy Kat" strips, but it also includes a biography of the artist, George Herriman. Some consider Herriman the first African-American mainstream cartoonist. His colleagues didn't know his ethnicity (and Herriman didn't tell them) so some called him "the Greek". He felt he had to hide some of his features from the public. For example, he kept his very curly hair closely cut and hidden under a hat. Not only that, his birth certificate shows his parent's ethnicity as "colored". The prejudices of the time likely would not have allowed an African-American the mainstream status and freedom allowed to George Herriman. So through "Krazy Kat" we get a glimpse of what early 20th century American culture may have missed out on due to its racial myopia. For "Krazy Kat" stands as an absolute masterpiece of its genre.

Herriman found some modicum of fame in his lifetime. William Randolph Hearst (the newspaper magnate) loved Herriman's work and rewarded him with a lifetime contract (according to the biography in the book, Hearst once read a "Krazy Kat" Sunday page and immediately demanded a raise for the artist). Herriman's success didn't come quickly, however. His first big break came in 1897 with the sale of a sketch to the Los Angeles Herald. Around 1901 he landed his first job as a "Staff Cartoonist" (a person who literally reported to the office every day and rattled off strip after strip; very different from today's cartoonists).
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Format: Paperback
KRAZY KAT IS THE FUNNIEST, MOST LUNATIC PIECE OF COMICLITERATURE. The mechanics of Krazy Kat are time-honored anddeceptively simple: there is a cat, a mouse, a dog, and the hurling of a brick. HERE ARE A FEW COMMENTS MADE BY OTHER FAMOUSE PEOPLE IN TRIBUTE TO HERRIMAN: "an immediate progenitor of the Beat Generation and its roots could be traced back to the glee of America, the honesty of America, its wild, self-believing individuality", Jack Kerouac I discovered Krazy Kat when a large anthology of the strip was published in 1969. The book is an editorial disaster, but it did show a lot of Krazy Kat strips, and I admired the work immediately. Krazy Kat seems to be one of those strips people either love or don't get at all. Krazy Kat is nothing but variations on a simple theme, so the magic of the strip is not so much in what it says but in how it says it. Ignatz Mouse throws bricks at Krazy out of contempt, but Krazy interprets this as a gesture of affection instead. Meanwhile, the law - Offissa Pupp - futilely tries to interfere with a process that's completely satisfying to all parties for all the wrong reasons. This weird, recycling plot can be interpreted as a metaphor for love or politics - or it can just be enjoyed for its own lunatic charms. The strip constantly plays with its own form, and becomes a sort of essay on cartoon existentialism. The background scenery changes from panel to panel, and day can turn to night and back again during a brief conversation.
Similarly, Herriman played with language and dialect, inserting Spanish, phonetically spelled mispronounced words, slang, and odd, alliterative phrases, giving the strip a unique atmosphere. The drawings are scratchy and peculiar, but they provide a beautiful visual context to the equally idiosyncratic writing.
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Format: Paperback
fine anthologies like this will have to do.
compiled principally by patrick mcdonnell (artist and author of "mutts" -- the finest contemporary comic strip) this is a good introduction to the best comic strip of all time. for some thirty years in the first half of the american century, george herriman created one of the greatest works of american art and literature. based almost entirely on variations on a theme (cat loves mouse, dog loves cat, mouse throws brick, cat deems said abuse [rightly?] as a sign of love), herriman caught the essence of a country barely growing up, as well as love in all its potential manifestations.
"krazy kat" can be appreciated as allegory, or it can be enjoyed simply as damned funny. this volume will allow you to have a bit of both.
but oh dear, when will some brave publisher issue the entire run?
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Format: Hardcover
When I noticed that many of my favourite cartoonists have said that Herriman's 'Krazy Kat' is the greatest comic strip ever, I decided I should check it out. It didn't take long before I agreed with them.
George Herriman is one of those rare individuals who genuinely deserves to be called a genius. That's a word that gets thrown around a little too casually perhaps, but in Herriman's case it is almost an understatement.
He was a brilliantly inventive artist, but his writing is what really sets him apart. A lot of the dialogue is written phonetically in bizarre dialects, a tricky thing to do, but he uses it to great effect.
Whereas space restrictions force cartoonists today to avoid using more words than is necessary, Herriman would often use a lot more, and much of the pleasure of reading 'Krazy Kat' comes from the sheer virtuosity with which Herriman uses language.
That a comic strip could be as funny, as intellectually stimulating, and as beautiful to look at as 'Krazy Kat' seems to me to be some kind of miracle. This book is a great introduction to Herriman and his work. There's a generous helping of 'Krazy Kat' strips, as well as some of Herriman's other work. Anyone who loves comics should have it. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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