Saturday, April 25, 2009


Time to explain where the title comes from, part 3.
Ignatz is the mouse of the cat-and-mouse love/hate duet of Krazy and Ignatz in Krazy Kat.
3/4 of a century ago, George Herrimann created an iconic minimalist text in comic strip form that draws on primal aspects of love and fear.
When one first reads Krazy Kat, the usual reaction is "meh". But on extended exposure, one usually agrees with the popular perspective that it's the best comic strip ever done, possibly the best that ever will be done.
By blurring Krazy's gender in the strip, sometimes referring to Krazy as "he" and other times as "she", Herrimann established one of the first gay relationships in comics. This is wildly debated, but does need to be mentioned in passing, so to speak.
Whenever I want to remind myself how much can be done with this art form, I read Krazy Kat and just sit in wordless joy.


  1. Hi Diana:

    Just to get things started, I'll debate you a bit! I can't see Ignatz and Krazy's relationship as gay, precisely because it may be BOTH hetero- and homosexual, so perhaps it's bisexual. But it strikes me as even more perfectly queer, for all the reasons that queer theorists and activists chose that word (both challenging and retaining negative connotations, quite appropriate for the love-hate relationship in Herrimann) to represent something that gay didn't fully capture. Oh, and don't forget that it's really a threesome ...

    Best, Corey

  2. Corey;
    As we discussed in other exchanges, the issue becomes the way sexuality is defined by gender. Since none of the participants have overtly sexual bodies (though the absence of breasts implies masculinity, except in cases of pre-pubescence, androgyny or use of neoteny as a narrative device), then gender is defined by the individual. Therefore, "he" and "she" become barometers of sexuality based on attraction.
    As for the issue of bisexuality, I'm trying feebly to recall from Foucault's History of Sexuality when that comes into the public consciousness.
    Thanks for starting the ball down the hill!