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Krazy : George Herriman, a Life in Black and White
by Michael Tisserand


Overview -

FINALIST FOR THE NBCC AWARD IN BIOGRAPHY

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts , an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman that explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged--and the deep secret he explored through his art.  Read more...


 
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More About Krazy by Michael Tisserand
 
 
 
Overview

FINALIST FOR THE NBCC AWARD IN BIOGRAPHY

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts, an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman that explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged--and the deep secret he explored through his art.

The creator of the greatest comic strip in history finally gets his due--in an eye-opening biography that lays bare the truth about his art, his heritage, and his life on America's color line. A native of nineteenth-century New Orleans, George Herriman came of age as an illustrator, journalist, and cartoonist in the boomtown of Los Angeles and the wild metropolis of New York. Appearing in the biggest newspapers of the early twentieth century--including those owned by William Randolph Hearst--Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoons quickly propelled him to fame. Although fitfully popular with readers of the period, his work has been widely credited with elevating cartoons from daily amusements to anarchic art.

Herriman used his work to explore the human condition, creating a modernist fantasia that was inspired by the landscapes he discovered in his travels--from chaotic urban life to the Beckett-like desert vistas of the Southwest. Yet underlying his own life--and often emerging from the contours of his very public art--was a very private secret: known as "the Greek" for his swarthy complexion and curly hair, Herriman was actually African American, born to a prominent Creole family that hid its racial identity in the dangerous days of Reconstruction.

Drawing on exhaustive original research into Herriman's family history, interviews with surviving friends and family, and deep analysis of the artist's work and surviving written records, Michael Tisserand brings this little-understood figure to vivid life, paying homage to a visionary artist who helped shape modern culture.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780061732997
  • ISBN-10: 0061732990
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: December 2016
  • Page Count: 560
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Artists, Architects, Photographers

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-10-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Tisserand (The Kingdom of Zydeco) weaves American history, pop culture, and racial politics with biography to elucidate and celebrate the life of cartoonist George Herriman (18801944), the creator of the Krazy Kat comic strip. Readers gain a glut of insight into the development of Krazy Kat, and the many ways the character served as an outlet for Herriman to playfully explore the human condition, which Tisserand sets against the backdrop of Herrimans own little-known racial identity. Though Herriman passed as a white man his whole life, he was actually African-American, born during Reconstruction to a Creole family that hid its racial identity by moving from New Orleans to California when Herriman was 10. Tisserand reconstructs Herrimans multicultural background and follows him from his childhood through his apprenticeship in Los Angeles, his big break in New York City, and frequent trips to the Southwest, using these places in their variety to animate Herrimans identity and provide nuance to his growth as a comics artist. This is a gripping read at the intersection of pop culture and American history. (Dec.)

 
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