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Krazy & Ignatz

Krazy & Ignatz

Krazy Kat is a love story, focusing on the relationship of its three main characters. Krazy Kat adored Ignatz Mouse. Ignatz Mouse just tolerated Krazy Kat, except for recurrent onsets of targeting tumescence, which found expression in the fast delivery of bricks to Krazy's cranium. Offisa Pup loved Krazy and sought to protect "her" (Herriman always maintained that Krazy was genderless), mostly by throwing Ignatz in jail. Each of the characters was ignorant of the other's true motivations. This simple structure allowed Herriman (1881-1944) to build entire worlds of meaning into the actions, building thematic depth that led critics like Gilbert Seldes and e.e. cummings to recognize Herriman's genius almost immediately.

The Fantagraphics Krazy & Ignatz is designed by Chris Ware, creator of the wildly successful graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan (Pantheon Books, 2000), and each volume features an introduction by the editor of the series, comics historian and critic Bill Blackbeard.

In 1999, The Comics Journal named Krazy Kat the greatest example of the artform in the history of the medium. "Krazy Kat has been the acknowledged greatest comic for so long, by so many esteemed critics, that it becomes tempting to knock it from its perch," then-editor Tom Spurgeon wrote in 1999. "At a casual glance, George Herriman's long-running strip seems quaint and antiquated. But to immerse yourself in Krazy Kat, to yield to Herriman's looping verbal rhythms and lovingly-depicted desert backgrounds, to experience his perfectly-realized triptych of unspoken and unconsummated love, yields a very, very different result. Herriman's creation is not only great comics, with a wonderful command of the medium's possibilities and strengths, but is also great art — an affecting exploration of some of life's most basic issues in a way that enlightens and thrills. Every cartoonist who turns to comics as a medium of personal expression follows in Herriman's path, and that is why his is the greatest comic of the 20th Century." In 2011, Spurgeon added "Krazy Kat is so good that if you don't get it, it's better for you in the long run that you do whatever is necessary to change yourself until you do get it."

"The surreal high jinks of Krazy, Ignatz Mouse, Offisa Pup (and enough bricks to build a small city) are as entrancing today as when George Herriman wrote and drew them." – The New York Times

"The Krazy & Ignatz books have been a godsend to comics fans... Each book is bizarre, sweetly amusing, and blissfully continuity-free." – "The Best Comics of the '00s: The Archives," The A.V. Club

"...[T]he complete Krazy Kat [is] a genuinely amazing thing to exist, and almost a reason all by itself to to have irrational hope for humanity’s future. (Does that seem like an overstatement? It obviously is. But read more Krazy Kat and get back to me.)" – Tim Hodler, The Comics Journal

"One of the first comprehensive comic strip reprint projects of the current era, and arguably the most important..." – Bill Kartalopoulos, Print