[Review] The George Herriman Library: ‘Krazy & Ignatz’ (1925-1927) from Fantagraphics

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of The George Herriman Library: ‘Krazy & Ignatz’ (1925-1927) from Fantagraphics. Released Tuesday, February 28th, the contributors for this collection features George Herriman and features Bill Blackbeard, John Alden Carpenter, Gordon Heath, and J. Michael Catron.

About the Author:

George Herriman (1880-1944), the creator of Krazy Kat, was born in New Orleans and lived most of his life in Los Angeles, California. He is considered by many to be the greatest strip cartoonist of all time.


Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of… 

The George Herriman Library: Krazy & Ignatz (1925-1927)

Pages: 228
Format: Hardback
Color: Black-and-white
Dimensions: 11.3″ × 13.8″
ISBN-13: 9781683966746

In Shops: February 28th, 2023

Meticulously and lovingly restored, this exquisite, generously-sized volume collects the acclaimed and groundbreaking Krazy Kat Sunday strips of 1925, 1926, and 1927!

This Eisner Award–nominated series showcases one of the most renowned and celebrated comic strips in the art form’s history as it strides boldly through the mid-1920s, its quirky characters in full flower in this gorgeous, archival hardcover collection.

In this volume: Ignatz repeatedly sets elaborate traps for Krazy (long before the Road Runner), adventures on the “enchanted mesa,” wacky weather, literal cliffhangers — and what happens when Santa and the stork arrive at the same chimney at the same moment? BONUS: The most complete collection of Herriman’s long-lost Book of Magic pages ever assembled.

With incisive essays by Herriman scholars, this entry in our ongoing series makes it plain to Herriman fans and newcomers alike why historians, scholars, and cartoonists consider this to be the best comic strip ever created and why The Comics Journal proclaimed it to be “the greatest comic strip of the 20th Century.” Krazy Kat is an ongoing story of a (head-) achingly unrequited love triangle. Krazy adores Ignatz, who returns that affection by launching literal bricks at Krazy’s cranium. Offisa Pup loves Krazy and seeks to protect “her” (Herriman always maintained that Krazy is genderless) by tossing Ignatz in the pokey. With this deceptively simple structure, Herriman builds entire worlds of meaning into the actions, building thematic depth and sweeping his readers up with the looping verbal and visual rhythms of his characters’ unique dialogue and his loopy, ever-shifting surrealistic backgrounds.

The George Herriman Library: Krazy & Ignatz 1925-1927 is part of the The George Herriman Library series.

The George Herriman Library:
Krazy & Ignatz (1925-1927)

Since the Yellow Kid first appeared in newspapers 128 years ago, the American comic strip has gone on to become an essential part of media in this country. Across the years a wide variety of strips featuring unique work by talented persons have delighted generations of readers. George Herriman stands tall as one of those talented folks, especially considering that he devoted 31 years to the zany adventures of Krazy Kat. One of the unique things about this delightful volume is the faithful reprinting of this slew of Krazy Kat strips and the wonderful essays by scholars of this cartoon curmudgeon. 

Writing: Herriman’s writing throughout the book is as it always was – crisp, spot-on, fun to follow, and colorful with the verbiage of the zany characters that inhabit the world he created. One thing to note for those who are not familiar with George’s work, prior to reading this volume, is that he was crafting a world of funny animals that spouted both playful and idiosyncratic dialogue. So if you are expecting the same level of writing that is in the newspaper in the modern age, you are in for a shocking surprise of the best kind.  

Art: Every page of artwork in this book is wonderful. While to the artistic elite and snobby it may seem rather basic and at times childish, remember that George was not trying to pander to a higher class of people with his strips, but rather present zany adventures with characters that readers could connect with on all levels. The amount of detail that he poured into each strip is fantastic, whether it was indoors settings, to the minuscule such as say, the spines on a cactus or quick strokes to illustrate the rays of a hot summer sun. 

Colors: While there is no color in the comics presented in the book, that does not mean they themselves are not colorful. It may be a black and white art-style world that Krazy Kat and company inhabit, but it sure is a lively one. As with the artwork itself, the color palette – while limited – is nonetheless rich in that everyone and everything comes to life. 

Letters: Herriman’s work didn’t just comprise the scripts and art, but the lettering as well. There are instances where the cramped style of the original layouts make the wording seem untidy, but to be frank it does not detract from the appeal of the comics themselves. If anything, it forces the reader to pay even more careful attention to the dialogue and stories.

Overall Assessment:

What can be said about Krazy Kat ant the work of George Herriman that has not been said already. As one of the father’s of the pioneer days of comic strips, his work had a massive influence on leading cartoonists of the 20th century, from Will Eisner to Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson. There is something for everyone in the pages of this book. Fans of classic comics will enjoy adding this delightful volume to their shelves, as will historians, art enthusiasts, and folks who just want a good laugh. 

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

New Rating - 5 Stars

5 out of 5 Stars

Publisher – Fantagraphics

For over 40 years, Fantagraphics has published the very best comics and graphic novels that the medium has to offer. Our mission is to celebrate great cartooning in all of its incarnations, from the form’s early luminaries to contemporary artists currently forging the future of visual storytelling. Not content to rest on our laurels and extensive roster of talented artists, we constantly seek out fresh voices from across the globe. Thus, we honor the rich history of comics while providing a platform for bold new stories, styles, and perspectives that push the boundaries of the medium. Fantagraphics remains peerless in our commitment to be the publisher of the world’s greatest cartoonists.