KRAZY & IGNATZ: 1929–1930

George Herriman, Author, Bill Blackbeard, Editor
George Herriman, Author, Bill Blackbeard, Editor . Fantagraphics $14.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-56097-529-8
Reviewed on: 11/17/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Paperback - 978-1-56060-203-3
Hardcover - 75 pages - 978-1-56060-063-3
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-1-60699-387-3
Hardcover - 122 pages - 978-1-60010-645-3
Paperback - 120 pages - 978-1-56097-620-2
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The third volume in the complete reprinting of Herriman's masterpiece continues the series' achievement. The comic strip within famously details the love triangle among Krazy Kat, Ignatz Mouse and Offissa Pup. After all these decades, it remains a joyous, life-enhancing reading experience. To this reprint, Fantagraphics has added a few marvelous twists. Award-winning cartoonist Chris Ware is designing the series, contributing spectacular covers and interior layouts. And each volume is accompanied by solid background material, including archival photographs, press clippings, drawings and obscure comic strips. For this volume, series editor Bill Blackbeard has assembled a visual essay on Herriman's life, presenting some unseen strips and objects that successfully convey the scope of his career. Meanwhile, Ben Schwartz contributes a fine essay on the humor and cultural atmosphere of Herriman's day, while nicely attempting an explanation of the relationship between the artist and his patron William Randolph Hearst. The book closes with a short explanation of a Krazy Kat ragtime tune. All of the secondary material enhances the strip, at once grounding it in the real worlds of business and culture but without reducing its effect. Since, as Blackbeard notes, Herriman left few clues to his life and thoughts, the background material can encircle and support the artist and his work but not explain it. This suits the lyric, wistful atmosphere of Krazy Kat just fine. Krazy Kat remains as good a comic as there ever was, and this beautifully produced book is a must for any reader interested in great art. (2003)

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