|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2008-11-24 11:49 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||for a claim, genre: comedy, genre: fluff, pairing: krazy/ignatz, series: krazy kat|
Krazy Kat, by George Herriman, is a gorgeous and poetic comic strip from the 1940s. Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes has cited it as one of his biggest influences.
It is impossible to explain all the nuances, but in brief, Ignatz (the mouse) throws bricks at Krazy (the cat), which Krazy (who is in love with Ignatz) takes as a sign of love (there's an actual reason for this, but it's not terribly important).
Herriman writes half the text of the comic in this crazy mixed-up quasi-Creole patois. I attempted it in some of the dialogue, but mostly I didn't even try.
Title: There Is A Happy Land
Fandom: Krazy Kat
Rating: G for the lot
Disclaimer: Were that these were mine; but no, that honor belongs to Geo. Herriman.
On a really good day, Krazy will fall asleep with ears still ringing.
Ignatz sometimes wonders (though he would never ever breathe a whisper of it to anyone, not even if he were subjected to ten years of katerwauling) if there isn't something heroic in the way that Kat takes brick after brick without complaint.
Krazy's view of bricks is of course the descent of a racial memory passed down the generations from that fated pair of lovers on the Nile; Ignatz may never realize it, but he has this memory too.
The improvised boat sinks quickly, because the hole in the bottom was punched by a brick, but Krazy doesn't mind the loss of the box so much as the fact that Ignatz missed.
When a denizen of Coconino yells "Run!", Krazy has learned to stand stock-still, because it means that Ignatz is aiming.
"So you see," says Krazy, "the 'hurrakain' can hurl a 'house' just like it was a li'l 'mice'"; "I'll do the hurling around here," retorts Ignatz, reaching for a brick.
Many in Coconino have wings - Joe Stork, Mrs. Kwakk Wakk, Gooseberry Spring - but for all the denizens who have had a bird's-eye view of bricks being hurled, only the Katbird realizes what she's seeing.
When it gets this cold, Kolin Kelly gives his kiln a vacation, to the dismay of Kat and Mouse alike.
The bricks that bean the brain (such as it is) of a Kat are just a shade darker than the hearts which fly from that noteworthy noggin afterwards.
"I injoys it when the ice 'krim' melts," says Krazy, licking the cone, "for, as any 'Kat' will konfirm, 'krim' is ment for drinking"; "that's fitting," says Ignatz, taking aim, "since you're such a drip."
Most people in love hope for a kiss when the bells announce the new year; Krazy hopes for a brick, and gets it, and none of the fireworks in the sky compare.
Only once has Ignatz tried to give up brick-throwing; after half a day of tripping over spare bricks around every corner, he took it back up again with gusto.
Ignatz spends almost as much time in the county jail's single cell as he does in his own home; the cell has a better view.
The bricks are supposed to stop the incessant yowling that Krazy calls playing the banjo, but all they do is change the tune to "There Is A Happy Land."
He buys his wife a new silk dress, and for a little while she forgets to chide him for "the shameful way he treats that poor 'Kat'."
Officer Pupp, Limb of Law and Arm of Order, has heard a thousand cover stories for the wicked intentions of a certain brick-wielding Mouse, but he still occasionally falls for them.
He has also heard a thousand promises that Ignatz will stay on the right side of the law for once, but he doesn't believe those for an instant.
He can hardly be blamed for being tricked that night Ignatz claimed the officer had merely dreamed the latest brick-lobbing; he had asked Krazy if it could have been a dream, and the Kat (having just been hit with said brick) replied, 'It soitenly is.'"
Krazy is enthralled by the way the little flame flickers and changes; Ignatz points out that the landscape around them always does that, then picks up his brick—quickly, before it can turn into a potted plant.
Krazy is ready to believe Ignatz in posession of any talent imaginable; most of the citizens of Coconino wouldn't grant him any, except aim.
Once, to teach the "misguided li'l anjil" a lesson, Krazy stopped speaking to Ignatz; it must have been for something dreadfully important, because the Mouse enjoyed five whole minutes of silence.
Sometimes Ignatz will follow Krazy for miles, caught up in something between argument and philosophy, before they pass one of his hidden caches of bricks.
The glow is doubly warm to Ignatz because it reminds him of Kolin Kelly's kiln; for Krazy it is simply warm.
Nobody, not even the boastful Mouse himself, ever seems to notice that the bricks he lifts are larger than he is.
Krazy wore one, once, to a costume ball; then tore it off in disgust when Ignatz passed by without a second glance.
Mrs. Kwak Wakk insists on pressing ice to Krazy's head after one particularly bad beaning; Krazy leaves the block of frozen water under a tree and hopes Ignatz will stumble upon it before it melts.
Coconino is the same year-round, so Ignatz can't understand why Krazy drags him around in autumn to look at the red-gold-brown leaves.
Every time Ignatz ends up in jail, he remembers how frustrating and boring and humiliating it is; but once he's out, he forgets it all the instant he sees a brick.
Ignatz won't dance unless Krazy does, so that he'll look kompetent by komparison.
Joe Stork has brought three little wriggling white bodies to the house of Mr. and Mrs. Mouse; he's dropped off more unusual forms in the kradles that karried Krazy Katbird and Krazy Katfish; he never expects (and rightly so) to be karrying a katmouse, but every once in a while he wonders what one would look like.
Krazy's favorite song is a hymn, but somehow any song becomes a hymn to something when katerwauled to that banjo.
As Pupp drags the guilty Mouse away yet again, he marvels at how graciously that all-forgiving Kat waves a friendly goodbye.
Ignatz hasn't been beyond the Coconino horizon, any more than Krazy; but he fancies himself more worldly because he realizes that there is something there.
Krazy invokes the ancient right of a Kat to look at a King, and declares the monarch vastly inferior to Ignatz; without knowing why, the disguised Mouse throws off the fancy crown and formal trappings and races for a commonplace brick.
He protests that cheese is the only food fit for a Mouse, but Krazy insists that Ignatz finish all of the chicken soup, after which he finds the strength to throw the bowl (and it doesn't quite hit the Kat, but it's a start).
Ignatz hates it when Krazy asks stupid questions about the logic of his jokes; why can't that fool Kat just shut up and laugh?
Ignatz lies all the time (no, dear, I won't use this money to buy a brick; no, Kolin Kelly, I won't throw this brick at that poor Kat; no, Officer Pupp, someone else must have thrown it; no, I can't stand that fool Krazy).
To Krazy, Ignatz's marriage is like the sun or the horizon: forever present, never changing, and completely unconnected with the throwing of bricks.
There is really nothing overwhelming in their lives; only last week a star landed in Krazy's back yard, and they didn't think twice about it, just helped it back into the sky.
Krazy leans in konspiratorially, and Ignatz holds his breath in expectation; when the big secret turns out to be that the Kat saw a robin yesterday, Ignatz snaps "Birdbrain" and reaches for a brick.
The baby mouse, too small to even lift the pebble, fumes: "Just you wait," he promises the infuriating kitten, "until I'm big enough to throw this!"
The Kat will talk nonsense; but how, Ignatz wonders, did he get chosen as the one forced to listen?
Ignatz is restless, angry, constantly searching for something without understanding what; Krazy rarely searches for anything except Ignatz; when they find each other, it satisfies them both.
Krazy hopes to find a magic flower or discover a hidden talent for the clarinet; Ignatz hopes to be able to afford the next brick, to knock those silly ideas out of that Kat's head.
Everyone in the county talks with Krazy, and enjoys it; but they know that any conversation they have will be eclipsed in importance if Ignatz shows up.
"What goes up," says Ignatz gleefully, tossing the brick into the air, "must come down."
There are no big roads in Coconino, nothing but a railroad and a lot of well-worn footpaths down which the heels of a certain Mouse have been dragged by a Kop many a time.
Nobody has any idea how much Krazy enjoys the bricks; Krazy has no idea that they don't get it.
On hearing Krazy's talk of a jewel worth more than rubies, Ignatz goes to great lengths to unlock the Kat's treasure box; when he finds nothing more than a pebble, he tosses it away in disgust, not realizing that it's the first block he ever hurled, so long ago.
It's a cycle so natural as to be unconscious: Mouse breathes in (a deep breath to give him the strength to lift the brick), Kat breathes out (a sigh of the happiness that comes from being in love).