When Fantagraphics launched our collection of Krazy Kat Sunday strips back in 2002, we picked up with the 10th and 11th years of the legendary strip (1925-1926) because another publisher had already collected the first nine during the 1980s and 1990s. But now, with that publisher long gone and their Krazy Kat collections fetching record prices (some over $100!) among collectors, it’s time to go back and get every one of these comic-strip masterpieces back into print — re-scanned and re-retouched from original tearsheets, using 21st century digital resources.
Fantagraphics will be collecting these first nine years of Sundays into three volumes comprising three years apiece, starting with the very first Sundays from 1916 through 1918, and incorporating all the original articles and special features from the first edition, including rare art, series editor Bill Blackbeard’s definitive historical overview “The Kat’s Kreation,” and updated and expanded “DeBaffler” endnotes explaining some of the arcana behind the strip’s jokes.
Krazy Kat, with its eternally beguiling love triangle of kat/dog/mouse, its fantastically inventive language, and its haunting, minimalist desert décor, has consistently been rated (literally) the best comic strip ever created, and Fantagraphics’ award-winning series one of the best classic comic-strip reprint series ever published. Krazy and Ignatz 1916-1918, the 11th of a projected 13 volumes collecting the entirety of the Sundays, brings us within a brick’s throw of
finishing “The Komplete Kat Sundays” once and for all!
As Fantagraphics’ ambitious plan to
reprint every single Sunday Krazy Kat page
created by George Herriman for close to
three decades (this being the penultimate
book) careens toward the finish line, this
volume features another three years’ worth
of Sunday strips — over 150 little masterpieces
by the greatest cartoonist of all time,
featuring the greatest comic-strip love triangle
of all time: “kat,” “mice” and “pupp.”
Each page is a hilarious, poetic masterpiece crackling with verbal wit and graphic
brilliance. Those were the days…!
In the introductory essay, editor Bill Blackbeard chronicles Krazy Kat’s ascent from
its earliest days as a tiny pendant for Herriman’s earlier strips The Dingbat Family
and The Family Upstairs to its own full feature. A second major article in this
volume is Bob Callahan’s “Geo. Herriman’s Los Angeles,” a fascinating look at Herriman’s
pre-Krazy Kat days as a journalist/illustrator, covering such things as a Mexican
bullfight (Herriman was appalled), the opening of a new “bums’ jail” (Herriman’s
sympathies were clearly with the vagrants), and UFO sightings — all accompanied by
Herriman’s virtuoso cartoons, of course.
As usual, the cover is designed by Chris Ware, featuring a striking two-color look
that will set this latest volume apart from the previous eleven.
Praise for Krazy Kat and the Krazy & Ignatz series:
“Endlessly perplexing, energetic, deep, and playful.” – Sarah Boxer, The New York Review of Books
"In truth, nothing less needs to be propped up on the ivory stilts of 'fine art' than Krazy Kat. On a daily basis, in a medium designed to provide simple diversion, Herriman went about his business unpretentiously, seemingly effortlessly, leaving an American masterpiece in his wake." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Herriman's panels convey an irrepressible sense of movement and incorporate distinctly surreal touches, such as the thronged mushrooms that 'rise to feast in florid fungushood,' blooming like umbrellas under a cheese-slice moon." – The New Yorker
"This beautifully produced series is a must for any reader interested in great art." – Publishers Weekly
"George Herriman was one of the very great artists, in any medium, of the 20th century." – Michael Chabon
"Mr. Herriman's scratchy, elastic line revolutionized the art of comics, as did his canny psychologizing." – The New York Times
"Don't read 'Krazy Kat' because it's good for you. Read it because it is you, an American being, immigrant-infused, with a light-hearted sense of infinite promise. Herriman's art, word and line, is so damn deep, so damn wonderful and so damnably us." – Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Herriman was one of those godsent popular artists like Chaplin, Armstrong, Hitchcock, and Dylan, whose low art makes mincemeat of the high.” – Tom DeHaven
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