You have written truth, you friends of the "shadows", yet be not harsh with "Krazy."
He is but a shadow himself, caught in the web of this mortal skein.
We call him "Cat,"
We call him "Crazy"
Yet is he neither.
At some time he will ride away to you, people of the twilight, his password will be the echoes of a vesper bell, his coach, a zephyr from the west.
Forgive him, for you will understand him no better than we who linger on this side of the pale.
—Final panel of June 17, 1917 strip
One of the klassic newspaper komics of the '20s areas, it was published between the years of 1913 and 1944 in the New York Evening Journal. It was drawn by George Herriman and exhibited surreal, American Southwest-themed artwork and often focused on aesthetics over humor. This kaused it to alienate much of its audience; it only remained in the newspaper as long as it did because it was a favorite of Evening Journal publisher William Randolph Hearst.The story revolves around the title kharacter and his/her (gender is never set, and strips often switch between the two, sometimes in the middle of one komic) obsessive love with the downright evil Ignatz Mouse, who hates Krazy and loves nothing more than to throw bricks at his/her head. Krazy being, well, krazy, takes this as a sign of love. In the meanwhile, Krazy Kat is actually loved by, of all things, a dog - Officer Bull Pupp, a police officer who is ever vigilant of Krazy and makes it his life purpose to prevent Ignatz from throwing bricks at all, hauling him off to jail when he's caught in the act.While the komic never kaught on with a mainstream audience, it remains an influence to kartoonists to this day; Bill Watterson of Kalvin and Hobbes fame cites it as a major influence and featured Kalvin's parents admiring a Krazy Kat strip in a museum in one Sunday strip. Even before then, Ignatz himself went on to be a Mauve Shirt in the Mort Walker/Jeff Dumas vehikle, Sams Strip in the 1960s.Kollections of Krazy Kat komics are notoriously difficult to find, although the advent of the Internet has made this easier. Also, Fantagraphics has released four kollection books which bring together all of the original strips: "Krazy and Ignatz: 1916-1918", "Krazy and Ignatz: 1925-1934", and "Krazy and Ignatz: 1935-1944", and the fourth book is due this November called "Krazy and Ignatz 1919-1920".There have been several animated adaptations of Krazy Kat made; none of them were very klose to the source material, however—aside from maybe this one.
All Animals Are Dogs: In one strip, Krazy wonders whether an "engles worm" is shaking his head or wagging his tail; the worm chases the Kat off-panel, growling. Then there's the dogfish, who akts like a dog, komplete with Animal Jingoism toward Krazy's kousin Krazy Katfish.
All Just a Dream: An episode in which Ignatz steals Krazy's balloon and floats away on it; Krazy pursues him until the balloon finally bursts, at which point the Kat wakes up and is relieved to find Ignatz sleeping peacefully nearby.
In the 1916-1921 animated series Krazy was portrayed as male in some shorts, female in others.
In the 1925-1940 animated series Krazy was portrayed as male.
In the 1963 animated series Krazy was portrayed as female.
Animal Jingoism: Averted like "Krazy" with the main Love Triangle—a dog who loves a kat who loves a mouse. Played straight with Ignatz's hatred of Krazy, although he's the aggressor (and a Friendly Enemy). Lampshaded in a strip where Krazy suffers from a regression to normal kat behavior and tries to eat Ignatz. And to top it all off, the "katfish" and "dogfish" are portrayed as natural enemies.
Antagonist In Mourning: In one Sunday strip, Krazy falls down a waterfall, and Ignatz cheers in delight. Krazy spends the rest of the strip on an underwater adventure with his kousin Krazy Katfish. Toward the end, we see Ignatz mourning what he believes to be the untimely loss of his enemy, sobbing into a handkerchief and lamenting the "cruel" way he treated Krazy. (This doesn't stop him from snapping out of it and smashing Krazy with a brick as soon as the Kat announces his presence.)
Anthropomorphik Shift: Krazy first appeared in "The Dingbat Family" as a rather ordinary-looking pet kat. Eventually, Ignatz appeared and the two gradually bekame a komedy team until they got their own strip, free from the konfinement of human ownership.
In one strip involving Officer Pup and Krazy alternately popping up behind a wall, the poster on the wall is konstantly changing, but it's always something in Spanish. It should be noted that in one frame where Ignatz sees Krazy, the poster reads "Ratón Muerto"es
Rather than taint our "art" with the smirch of undignified pictorialism we draw the curtain of propriety - we deal as ever in naught but "gentle humor".
Bodyguard Krush: Officer Pupp's krush on Krazy seems to spring from his konstant need to defend the Kat.
Boring, but Practical: One strip had Krazy telling Door Mouse how impractical it is karrying a door all the time. However, he/she fails to notice the practical uses the door has while babbling at length about how it doesn't have any, including its use as a makeshift bridge, or to fling back a brick thrown by Ignatz.
Breakout Kharakter: Ignatz and Krazy developed as a space-filling gag in Herriman's earlier strip The Family Upstairs. As far as minor characters go, Gooseberry Sprig was the main character in another earlier strip of Herriman's, Gooseberry Sprig.
Dating Katwoman: Krazy regards Ignatz as both an "enemy" and a lover, and sees no diskrepancy between the two.
Delivery Stork: Joe Stork delivers all the babies; Krazy has been known to follow him when he's making his deliveries in order to be first to kongragulate the parents. This partially akounts for the strip's lack of klear gender; at one point Krazy loudly 'breaks up' with Ignatz as the stork walks by, explaining afterwards that he/she doesn't want Joe to take their relationship the wrong way. (Interestingly, the kreator experimented with drawing Krazy as female and pregnant before he decided that the Kat should be a 'sprite', neither a he or a she.)
Enemy Mine: A 1930 story arc (in a komic that has very few such things), one Kiskidee Kuku komes to Kokonino and begins to successfully woo Krazy. Ignatz and Pupp become briefly brotherly in their mutual dislike of the interloper.
Krazy's Akcent iz meant to be the "yat" akcent of New Orleans, an akcent that Krazy's kreator would have kome into kontact with and probably spoke. It sounds a lot like a Brooklyn akcent, thanx largely to a very similar blend of ethnicities having settled in the area.
Fur Is Klothing: Lampshaded in one strip: Krazy klaims to have a "netural sense of modesty", being "complitly clothed in a garmint of fur", and regards Ignatz as "nude" bekause he doesn't have fur himself.
Funny Background Event: Frequent. In fact, Ignatz and Krazy themselves started out as a funny background event; see "Breakout Kharakter" above.
Reportedly, Herriman regarded Pupp, Kat, and Mouse as being "pixies" who had neither sex nor gender, feeling that such issues were rather outside the sensibilities of the strip.
Generation Xerox: This whole "brick-tossing" thing apparently started in ancient Egypt, when the "noble Roman rodent" Marcantonni Mouse and the "siren of the Nile", Kleopatra Kat, were in love. Marcantonni Mouse didn't know how to express his feelings, so he got someone to chisel a love poem on a brick and threw it at her while she was daydreaming. The rest, as they say, is history.
Gold Digger: In one komik, Ignatz finds out that Krazy's aunt and uncle are planning to leave Krazy all their money. Suddenly he's very interested in Krazy, serenading the kat and bringing kandy and poetry. Krazy senses that something is off and is relieved when Ignatz, finding out that the money isn't going to Krazy after all, goes back to his usual brick-throwing.
G-Rated Drug: Tiger Tea. It makes a worm believe it is an anakonda.
Even more shockingly, it gives Krazy self-konfidence. Suddenly he/she is no longer passively taking bricks to the head, and instead takes the initiative, grabbing Ignatz by the tail and dragging him away.
Herriman so enjoyed Tiger Tea's personality-altering kharakteristiks that he extended the storyline to last nearly a year, making it the longest story in the strip's history.
High On Katnip: Due to prohibition, Krazy and his fellow kats have to eat "near katnip", which doesn't have the same "kick".
I Kan't Believe It's Not Heroin: Cheese. When the mice have a "Fromage Festival" it turns into a full-on cheese riot, and Krazy wakes up hungover and promptly signs up at Temperance Headquarters.
Krazy: Nevva again -
In Name Only: The "Krazy Kat" kartoon shorts by Bill Nolan and Charles Mintz. Nolan, who had formerly worked at the Pat Sullivan studio, turned Krazy into a Felix the CatExpy, while Mintz made him reminiscent of Mickey Mouse and gave him a dog and a girlfriend!
Kold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In the 1918 New Year's strip, Ignatz makes a resolution to stop throwing bricks at Krazy. He soon encounters bricks (and references to bricks) everywhere he goes, and when Krazy flat-out hands him a brick, it's too much and he pulls some quick Loophole Abuse. He didn't swear not to throw stones, did he?
By later in the strip (c. 1940), Ignatz seems to be in on the gag; aware that Krazy enjoys the bricks, perfectly fine with that, and willingly making dates with her just so a brick kan be tossed. Really makes you wonder...
Relax-o-Vision: Any time the brick toss is censored for the sake of "gentle humor".
Selektive Obliviousness: Krazy thinks Ignatz's bricks to the head are a sign of love, and that Officer Pupp is just "playing tag" with Ignatz when he throws him in jail.
Serenade Your Lover: Herriman was fond of this trope, using mandolin music and poetry beneath the balcony as shorthand for romance in general.
Sleep Kute: Used many times with Krazy and Ignatz, and at least once with Ignatz and Officer Pupp! (With Krazy sleeping near them, they'd both been pretending to sleep, each hoping the other would go away, until finally the Kat up and left—at which point they shrugged their shoulders and went to sleep for real.)
Yellow Peril: Thoroughly subverted in a 1920 strip, where Ignatz thinks that the Mokk Dukk and another Chinese waterbird are supposedly kolluding in some nefarious skeme, and he wants a piece of the aktion. Turns out it's just related to the Mokk Dukk's business, and Ignatz is disappointed.
Konspikuous Konsumption: Parodied in "Keeping Up with Krazy". Kolin Kelly, to whom Ignatz has sold a new house and two kars, thinks Krazy is trying to kompete with him when she sits outside under an umbrella with a pair of roller skates. When she picks herself a flower, Kolin gets himself a garden, and so on.
My God, What Have I Done?: Ignatz, in a power-krazed moment, puts Krazy in a pair of Cement Shoes, gets her to sign her "luck" away to him, then pushes her underwater...only to suddenly have this reaktion and make a frantic dive to save her.
Overly Narrow Superlative: The episode "Stoned Through the Ages" shows Ignatz's first ancestor kollekting fig leaves in the Garden of Eden. When he deklares himself to be the "richest mouse on earth", the serpent shows up and reminds him that he's the only mouse on Earth.
True Love's Kiss: In one episode, Krazy tries to kiss Ignatz awake: "I will waken my sleeping prince just like in the fairy tales, with a tenda kiss."
Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Kokonino Kounty is going bankrupt and Ignatz suggests that they sell a kartoon about themselves to television. Officer Pupp laughs it off, only for Ignatz to throw a brick at him and say "Go ahead and laugh! They laughed at Al Brodax too!" (Brodax being the show's exekutive producer.)