The Krazy Kat Sketchbook

KRAZY KAT: He’s got what?

MOCK DUCK: Atavism.

KRAZY KAT: His poor joins.

MOCK DUCK: I didn’t say Ignatz had rheumatism – I said atavism – – – Habits, customs, traits of a long long past were haunting him – A breath of the past gives him irkage?

KRAZY KAT: Is it ketchen?



“With the addition of colour, Herriman rethought the design and even the drawing of Crazy Kat. He introduced bigger panels with more open space, less crosshatching in the drawings, panels with huge skies usually at darkest night, and wide open desert.”

Golla Golla, the Comic Strip’s Art – Gilbert Seldes (Vanity Fair, May 1922)


1910 William Randolph Hearst’s New York Evening Journal summons Herriman back to New York.

1910 July 26. For the first time, the Dingbat’s cat is hit on the head with a brick hurled by a mouse and becomes a “Kat”.

1910 Aug 1. The Dingbat Family is retitled The Family Upstairs. The Kat and mouse fill up the waste space at the bottom of the page.

1913 Oct 28. Krazy Kat becomes a completely independent strip under this name.



“By the 1960s, with Pop Art embracing the processes and products of mass production, and minimalism espousing the materials and methods of industry, the ultimate decade of technology had arrived. By the time men were travelling to the moon, art was being assembled in factories from blueprints… It seemed as if the glorious technological future the early modernists dreamed of had arrived.

But at the height of this optimism, modernism fell apart. The late 60’s was also the time of Vietnam, Woodstock, peace marches, race riots, demonstrations and violence. 1968 may have been the crucial year, the year we stopped wanting to look at art as we knew it, when even the purest form began to seem superfluous and we realised technological innovation wasn’t enough.”