Krazy: George Herriman – A Life in Black and White by Michael Tisserand - review by Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

Top Kat

Krazy: George Herriman – A Life in Black and White


Harper 545pp £25 order from our bookshop

Writing for Esquire in September 1935, the American critic Gilbert Seldes declared, ‘I can only say that those who have once fallen under his spell can never forget him, and form a sort of secret society, bound together by their love of a gentle little monster, the first character in our popular mythology.’ The spellbinder in question was the cartoonist George Herriman (born in 1880); the ‘gentle little monster’ was the lead character in Herriman’s most famous creation, Krazy Kat; and the ‘secret society’ of ardent admirers, though its numbers today are smaller than they were, persists into our own century.

It is hard to explain in a few words why Krazy Kat is such an enduring wonder. The newspaper strip ran in various formats from 1913 until Herriman’s death in 1944, and though its scenarios could sometimes be as bizarre and its visions as baroque as anything produced in the

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter