Bright Lights Film Journal

Totally non-homoerotic. Totally.

The Surfin’ Sufi points us to this 1916 cartoon of George [not Bernard] Herriman’s legendary Krazy Kat. Krazy, who to me always seemed decidedly masculine, was in love with the cigar-chomping and utterly masculine Ignatz the mouse, who responded to Krazy’s love by pelting him with bricks. Krazy was saved from death only by the devoted though unrequited love of Offissa Pupp.

I could never make much sense of Krazy, but a persistent Krazy Kat Kult continues to this day. There are excellent Krazy sites here and here. YouTube has a number of Krazy Klips here. (Ignore the films that feature actual cats.) In 1963 a new set of Krazy Kat cartoons ran on TV, to little critical acclaim, and some of them are available on DVD. A couple of out-of-print DVDs may be around featuring the original cartoons, which appeared from 1916 through 1931.

The relationship between Krazy and Ignatz bears a striking resemblance to that between Beetle Bailey and Sarge, ably dissected by the Qomics for Queers guy here.

Herriman claimed that Krazy lacked gender. Why that improved things, he didn’t explain.

Although the strip takes places in “Coconino County,” located somewhere in the Southwest (sort of), the characters tend to speak in a stylized Lower East Side dialect, considered very funny back in the day, but probably unintelligible to many today.