Secrets of the great cartoonists

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Two separate stories shed some light on the psychology of two of the all-time greatest cartoonists, George Herriman and Georges “Hergé” Remi.
portrait2 Secrets of the great cartoonists First, the blog Don’t Touch My Comics looks at Herriman’s mixed-race heritage and how it may have influenced Krazy Kat:

One gag, which ran during both the black and white and color eras, has Krazy going to a beauty shop and having his black fur died white. Ignatz (who usually hates Krazy and seeks to bean with him a brick, recall) is instantly smitten by the vision of the White Kat that emerges from the salon. It is only when he finds out the White Kat’s true identity that Ignatz reaches for his trusty brick. This is revealing. It suggests that Ignatz does not hate Krazy because he is a cat, but because he is a black cat. Similarly, Herriman employed a gag (again, in both the color and black and white periods of the strip) in which Ignatz falls into a stove-pipe and is turned black by the coal dust. When he throws his customary brick, Krazy is incensed. ”A lil Eetiopium Mice, black like a month from midnights. Fuwi!” Krazy declares when he sees Ignatz in blackface. Again, Krazy only loves Ignatz when he is white.


tintin1 Secrets of the great cartoonists Next, recently auctioned letters by Hergé continue the narrative of his antipathy towards his greatest character, as well as shedding light on his romantic life and more.

“There is a complete divorce between what I think and what I invent and draw,” he writes afterwards.

“And right now, my work makes me sick,” he tells his wife. “Tintin is no longer me. And I must make a terrible effort to invent (him)… If Tintin continues to live, it is through a sort of artificial respiration that I must constantly keep up and which is exhausting me.”

Comments

  1. The Herge headline needs more context. He wrote that at a time when his work for a Nazi approved newspaper had led him to being banned from employment. Once he could work again his attitude turned around.

    He was not a Nazi – just to save anyone the trouble of pointing that out. The Nazis invaded, took over the country, and then either shut down or controlled the newspapers. Herge was a cartoonist and he decided that he’d just keep working. A decision that would have consequences.

  2. Pedro Bouça says:

    To be fair, after a renaissance of sorts on the 50s (probabyl thanks to his studio, that did a lot of the grunt work), Hergé’s interest on the character fell off again after that, and his production got to Travis Charest levels of slowness until his death.

    Which is sad, since pretty much every single one of his later albuns is a masterpiece.

    Best,
    Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

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