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A cat above the restRecent comic albums have tended to fall into two camps Theres the arty difficult kind as typified by Chris Wares Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid on Earth winner of a Guardian book award and then theres the mass-market variety - by the time you read this youll probably be wishing Spider-Man would go spin somewhere elseThere are connoisseurs of both types of course but you get the strong impression that advocates of the former look down on the fanboy followers of the latter and they are generally boys albeit grown-up ones Which is a bit rich considering that comics in general are looked down upon by just about everybody else - John Sutherland was right to suggest in his Guardian column that the Ware victory was a fluke and that the editors of literary magazines hope there wont be too many books like this submitted for reviewKrazy Kat is probably the ultimate connoisseur strip The story of an androgynous felines unrequited love affair with a mouse Ignatz who in turn despises Krazy and tries to bean himher with a brick at every opportunity it was created by George Herriman in 1913 and syndicated in American newspapers for more than 30 yearsAt the time most readers didnt get the almost Joycean language and bizarre dadaist cartooning style - it was only kept going because press magnate William Randolph Hearst was a fan - and reprint volumes have not been big sellers Nevertheless TS Eliot Picasso and Gertrude Stein were admirers and modern comics critics have labelled it a classic Krazy and Ignatz Fantagraphics pp118 collects strips from 1925-26 a vintage run and comes with a gorgeous cover by Chris Ware - which should tell you how damned hip its supposed to beSo does the strip deserve its high reputation Frankly yes Not everything is fabulous and sometimes the panel layouts are so loose they threaten to fall apart a doodle is
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