When Labels Don’t Matter: George Herriman and Krazy Kat

When Labels Don’t Matter: George Herriman and Krazy Kat

The Beat

Heidi MacDonald, Editor-In-Chief

We’ve been writing a bit about Michael Tisserand’s comprehensive new biography of George Herriman, Krazy: A Life in Black and White, but last night I got to hear him talk about it at one of the stops on his mini tour. Tisserand presented a slideshow on the book for the first time, and it will be presented again on Thursday at Princeton’s Labyrinth Books with Patrick “Mutts” McDonnell along for the ride – an event I highly recommend if you are into Herriman, Krazy Kat or comic strip history. Or really, just history…

…Tissarand has done a ton of research on the book, but the key element is defining Herriman’s own heritage as a Creole man from New Orleans whose family moved to Los Angeles when he was only 10 so that they could pass for white in a world of Jim Crow laws and blatant racism. Tisserand suggests that Krazy Kat’s gender fluid subtext was his own commentary on race, and in the talk he quoted several strips that allude to Krazy’s never pinned down gender and color swapping – “inferiority complexion” Krazy says in one strip…

Read the entire article here.

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