George Herriman at his work station. Picture found here.
Born August 22, 1880, George Herriman is the creator of Krazy Kat, an interesting - the LA Times called it "avant-garde" - comic strip that began in 1916 and ran until his passing in 1944. Herriman was born to a Creole family in New Orleans and moved to Los Angeles early in life, where he hid any trace of his African roots. He began work as an engraver in 1897 at theLos Angeles - Herald Examiner. From there, he moved up to produce a comic strip calledThe Dingbat Family forThe New York Evening Paper.
Out of that comic strip came the more well known Krazy Kat stories.
Krazy Kat follows the eponymous cat who is in love with a mouse named Ignatz. The mouse does not return these affections, and shows hatred toward the Kat by throwing a brick at him/her. (The gender of Krazy Kat is contested.) Krazy Kat mistakes this treatment as a sign of love.
You can see how this could be confusing.
Many kids didn't get it.
While it had low viewership among the adolescents of the time, intellectuals found something interesting in the comic strip. President Woodrow Wilson, T.S. Eliot, and Gertrude Stein among others loved it. William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, was responsible for keeping the comic strip in the newspaper for its complete run. It was he that insisted
Krazy Katwould be laid to rest with its creator. Even after his death, no one really knew that Herriman was black.
Find more things to read about George Herriman after the jump.
George Herriman - Biography - Find everything you want to know about Mr. Herriman on this webpage devoted to him. Includes komics, a store, and quotes about Herriman from artists who are famous in their own right.
L.A. Times - L.A. Cartoonist was obscure and misunderstood- The LA Times gives another overview of the life of George Herriman
The Ignatz Awards- Named after the Herriman's mouse, this award is given to independent comic book creators at the Small Press Expo every year. Click to see 2013's nominees.