Krazy Kat, by George Herriman

George Herriman was born in New Orleans in 1880, and moved to Los Angeles with his parents in 1886. Against the wishes of his father, who was a baker, George pursued an artistic career and sold his first drawings to the Los Angeles Herald when he was seventeen years old. By 1900, he has contributed numerous humorous illustrations to magazines like Judge, Life and the New York News. A year later, he was employed by the New York World, and George Herriman created his first comics in 1902: 'Musical Moose', 'Professor Otto and his Auto', 'Acrobatic Archie', 'Two Jolly Jackies', 'Lariat Pete' and 'He Got His Man' all appeared in the years to follow, while Herriman was also anonymously assisting Tad Dorgan in the New York Journal.

Krazy Kat, by George Herriman

From 1905, Herriman created several Sunday comics, such as 'Bud Smith', 'Major Ozone's Fresh Air Crusade', 'Bruno and Pietro', 'Grandma's Girl', 'Handy andy', 'Rosy-Posy Mama's Girl', 'Alexander the Cat' and 'Butch Smith, the Boy who Does Stunts'. For The New York Journal, in 1907, he made 'Baron Mooch', 'Mary's Home from College' and 'Gooseberry Sprig'. In June 1910, Herriman came up with one of his best known comics, 'The Dingbat Family', later renamed 'The Family Upstairs'. As the series developed, Herriman introduced a "sideshow" underneath the main page featuring a cat and a mouse. These two animals eventually grew into Herriman's most famous work, 'Krazy Kat', a comic that is generally held as one of the best comics ever made. Because of this peculiar beginning, Krazy Kat's exact birthdate cannot be easily pinned down. What's certain is that the first real Krazy Kat comic is published in 1913. It is quite surrealistic and poetic for its use of New York slang.

Stumble Inn, by George Herriman 1923

Other comics by George Herriman are 'Baron Bean' (1916), 'Now Listen, Mabel' (1919), 'Stumble Inn' (1922), 'Us Husbands' (1926) and 'Mistakes Will Happen' (1926). He also produced a series of comic illustrations called 'Embarrassing Moments' (later: 'Bernie Burns'), and was an assistant of Bud Fisher on 'Mutt and Jeff'. George Herriman continued 'Krazy Kat' until his death in April, 1944.

George Herriman has remained an influence on new generations of comic artists, most notably from the American underground comix movement. His work has served as an inspiration to Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Ralph Bakshi, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Bill Watterson, Patrick McDonnell, Denis Kitchen, Bobby London, Massimo Mattioli, Walt Kelly, Dr. Seuss, Windig & De Jong and Charles M. Schulz.

Article about Herriman's Krazy Kat
A Salute to George Herriman

Series and books by George Herriman in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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