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Posts Tagged ‘Comic strip

“Watta woil, watta woil”*…

 

Readers will know of your correspondent’s special affection for Krazy Kat and his creator, George Herriman. From the remarkable Chris Ware, an invitation to consider the modern relevance of the work…

For one of the most prolific and highly-praised cartoonists who ever lived, George Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat (1913-1944), didn’t like talking about himself. Recoiling from photographers and brushing off personal questions with elliptical answers and even occasional fabrications, George or “Garge” or “The Greek” always preferred the focus to be on the multivalent, multifarious, and multicultural characters who populated the inner world he made every day with the scratchings of his pen. A direct throughline of thought-to-gesture in black ink on white paper, George Herriman’s drawings come alive before the reader’s eye with a vital, persuasive complexity previously unknown in the history of art. Krazy Kat lived on the page—but he—or she—had a secret. And so did George Herriman.

Krazy Kat has been described as a parable of love, a metaphor for democracy, a “surrealistic” poem, unfolding over years and years. It is all of these, but so much more: it is a portrait of America, a self-portrait of Herriman, and, I believe, the first attempt to paint the full range  of human consciousness in the language of the comic strip. Like the America it portrays, Herriman’s identity has been poised for a revision for many decades now. Michael Tisserand’s new biography Krazy does just that, clearing the shifting sands and shadows of Herriman’s ancestry, the discovery in the early 1970s of a birth certificate which described Herriman as “colored” sending up a flag among comics researchers and aficionados. Tisserand confirms what for years was hiding in plain sight in the tangled brush of Coconino County, Arizona, where Krazy Kat is supposedly set: Herriman, of mixed African-American ancestry, spent his entire adult life passing as white. He had been born in the African-American neighborhood of racially mixed, culturally polyglot 1880s New Orleans, but within a decade Herriman’s parents moved George and his three siblings to the small but growing town of Los Angeles to escape the increasing bigotry and racial animosity of postbellum Louisiana. The Herrimans melted into California life, and it was there that George, with brief professional spates in New York, would remain for the rest of his life.

But imagine knowing something about yourself that’s considered so damning, so dire, so disgusting, that you must, at all cost, never tell anyone. Imagine leaving behind a life to which you cannot claim allegiance or affection. Imagine suddenly gaining advantages and opportunity while you see others like you, who have not followed in the footsteps of your deception, suffering. Herriman, once he was considered white, didn’t even have a way of voicing this identity. Until he started drawing Krazy Kat

Read the essay in its remarkable whole at “To Walk in Beauty,” then peruse Michael Tisserand’s Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White.

* George Herriman’s Krazy Kat

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As we learn from the Masters, we might recall that it was on this date in 1863 that Leland Stanford, industrialist (and later Governor of California and endowing founder of Stanford University) drove the ceremonial “first spike” in the transcontinental railway in Sacramento, California. (Ground had been broken there just under a month earlier.)  Stanford drove the ceremonial “golden spike,” celebrating the completion of the railway, at Promontory Summit, in the Utah Territory, on May 10, 1869.

 source

 

Written by LW

February 2, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Life’s a lot more fun when you aren’t responsible for your actions”*…

 

Josh Millard has created “Calvin and Markov,” a “machine” that generates scrambled variations on Bill Watterson’s classic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, using a Markov chain process.

Just land here, then keep hitting refresh to experience a steady stream of random, but somehow still inspired, silliness.

And if (as your correspondent hopes and expects) you like it, try Millard’s other wonders: GarkovPreviously, On The X-Files, The Big Markovski, and Jesus Markoving Christ.

* Calvin, in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

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As we mix it up, we might send Kryptonite-free birthday greetings to Joseph “Joe” Shuster; he was born on this date in 1914.  A comic book artist, he is best remembered for creating (with his high school best friend, writer Jerry Siegel), the DC Comics character Superman, who debuted in Action Comics No. 1 (June, 1938).

 source

 

Written by LW

July 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

Bottomed out? If only!…

Through good times and bad, comic strips have played a Greek chorus-like role in American life.  Inspired exceptions (Krazy Kat, Calvin and Hobbes) aside, the comics pages have given voice (or voice bubbles, anyway) to the dreams– and nightmares– that Americans share.

So lest one be carried away by the recent updraft on Wall Street, one might consult Cathy

…  and indeed, one might consider Comics Alliance‘s round-up of “15 Suicidally Depressing Newspaper Comic Strips.”

As we swallow our selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, we might recall that it was on this  date that the first “cartoon superstar,”  Felix the Cat, premiered in a daily strip (1923, in the Daily Sketch in England, though the panels were quickly picked up across North America).  Created by Otto Messmer (for producer Pat Sullivan), Felix had been a film star since 1919, and was in an estimated 60% of U.S. cinemas when he debuted in the funnies…  Appropriately perhaps, Felix was the first image ever broadcast on television by NBC, as RCA chose a papier-mâché Felix doll for its 1930 experiment via W2XBS New York in Van Cortlandt Park. Shot on a rotating phonograph turntable, the image was chosen less for its celebrity than for its tonal contrast and its ability to withstand the intensely-hot lighting necessary…

source: TVHistory.com

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