George Herriman’s Krazy Kat came into existence around 1910–1911 and ended in 1944 with the death of the author.
The dramatis personae were three: a cat of unspecified sex – probably female; a mouse – Ignatz; a dog acting as policeman – Offissa Pupp.
The drawing was remarkable with certain surrealistic inventions especially in the improbable lunar landscapes – deliberately intended to divorce the events from any verisimilitude.
The cat madly loves the mouse and the wicked mouse hates and tyrannizes the cat – preferably by hitting him on the head with a brick.
The dog constantly tries to protect the cat but the cat despises this unrestrained love – the cat adores the mouse and is always ready to excuse him.
From this absurd situation without particularly comic ingredients – the author drew an infinite series of variations – based on a structural fact that is of fundamental importance in the understanding of comics in general: the brief daily or weekly story – the traditional strip – even if it narrates an episode that concludes in the space of four panels will not work if considered separately – rather it acquires flavor only in the continuous and obstinate series which unfolds strip after strip day by day.
In Krazy Kat the poetry originated from a certain lyrical stubbornness in the author who repeated his tale ad infinitum – varying it always but sticking to its theme.
It was thanks only to this that the mouse’s arrogance – the dog’s unrewarded compassion and the cat’s desperate love could arrive at what many critics felt was a genuine state of poetry – an uninterrupted elegy based on sorrowing innocence.
In a comic strip of this sort the spectator – not seduced by a flood of gags or by any realistic or caricatural reference or by any appeal to sex and violence could discover the possibility of a purely allusive world – a pleasure of a ‘musical’ nature – an interplay of feelings that were not banal.
To some extent the myth of Scheherazade was reproduced: the concubine – taken by the Sultan to be used for one night and then discarded, begins telling a story and because of the story the Sultan forgets the woman; he discovers – that is – another world of values.