George Herriman’s Krazy Kat ran in the Sunday papers from 1913 until 1944. The strip’s offbeat poetry and idiosyncratic dialect made it one of the first comics to be taken seriously by intellectuals and praised as high art (e. e. cummings wrote the introduction to the first collection of the comic to be published as a book). The premise is a deceptively simple love triangle: Ignatz the mouse despises sweet, simpleminded Krazy Kat, who nurses an undying love for him. Ignatz hurls bricks at Krazy, who takes each one as a sign of affection (“Li’l dollink, allus f’etful,” he says, as the bricks bounce off his head). Officer Pup, in love with Krazy Kat, attempts to protect him by thwarting Ignatz and jailing him. In the strip below, from 1918, Ignatz and Krazy come down with the Spanish flu, which apparently can be contracted by dreaming of bull fights.
Page courtesy of Michael Tisserand, author of Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White
George Herriman was a cartoonist, best known for the influential ‘Krazy Kat.’