Robert Warshaw

The Immediate Experience

KRAZY KAT & The Eternal Middle of the Comics

The Immediate Experience

The Immediate Experience is a collection of essays by Robert Warshaw, who died at the age of 37 in 1955. He is probably best known for his film analysis (particularly gangster movies) but he also took up comics on a few occasions. This 2002 collection from Harvard University Press contains Warshaw's writings about George Herriman's Krazy Kat and the EC horror Comics.

The quotes below are from his essay "Woofed with Dreams":

Krazy Kat Page

"Where no art is important, "Krazy Kat" is as real and important a work of art as any other – it is only supposed to divert its reader for two minutes at a time. (While the intellectual has to 'discover' Krazy Kat," the comic-strip audience just read it.)"

"'Krazy Kat' is perhaps the best that the comic strip has produced. But it would be a mistake to think of it a 'higher' development of the comic strip. 'Higher' development brings in the whole apparatus of respectable controls and produces 'Joe Palooka' helping to sell the country on conscription, or the hygienic, progressive-school fantasy of 'Barnaby.' 'Higher development makes 'Krazy Kat' impossible. 'Krazy Kat' is 'pointless' and 'silly,' it comes from the peripheral world where the aims and pretensions of society are not regarded.'"

"Something should be said also about the comic strip's dimension of time. 'Krazy Kat' started before I was born, and it ended in 1944 only because Herriman died and the King Features Syndicate decided there was no one who could continue the work. This was accidental; the usual practice is to appoint a successor to the dead artist – there is no internal reason Orphan Annie, for instance, should not continue to face up to her troubles for ten million years. Thus the comic strip has no beginning and no end, only an eternal middle."

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More Krazy Kat here.


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