I first came across George Herriman's eternal sprite when the Guardian ran it for a few short months, back in the late 1980s. Then Bill Blackbeard's wonderful collections of the early Sundays started coming from Eclipse Comics. I purchased them all, until Eclipse went under in a hail of legal drama, along with Kitchen Sink Press' one collection of colour material from the mid 1930s (my collection of Kattery also includes a Scottish commune's newsprint collection of all the dailys from 1927 and 1928 and Jay Kantor's novel). Blackbeard's subtitles for the collections (often taken from the strips) are strange one line poems that pull out the essence of the kat, the mouse and the kopp...
The end of Eclipse and of Kitchen Sink left the reprint project hunting for a new home, and in a hiatus that lasted several years. Then Fantagraphics came into the picture, and brought us the return of Bill Blackbeard's Krazy and Ignatz collections, running two years of Sunday strips in each volume. I've been buying them sporadically, and they've rushed headlong through the '30s. But it's an upcoming volume that's really caught my eye.
Herriman was a master of the comic form. He was one of the pioneers, inventing the rules we've come to take for granted. But he was also able to break the new rules, and try new things. In 1920, over a nine month period, he produced a run of single panel "wide screen" panoramas that remain legendary for their audacity and their beauty. I've only seen a handful of them, and they are amazing.
Now I get to see them all, as Fantagraphics is releasing The Kat Who Walked In Beauty: The Panoramic Dailies of 1920.
It's a bit of a wait - it won't be out until next month. But this is one of those books that I know will be worth the wait. After all, it's Krazy Kat - and it doesn't come much better than that.