WEST: In looking at Krazy Kat, do you draw any strength from what Herriman did in terms of the relationships of his characters?
WATTERSON: Krazy Kat is a completely unique strip. I think it’s the best comic strip ever drawn. Ultimately, though, it’s such a peculiar and idiosyncratic vision that it has little to say to me directly. I marvel at it because it’s beyond duplication. It’s like trying to paint a sunrise — you’re better off not even trying. Peanuts and Pogo have been inspirations, too, but these strips are much more down to earth, and are much closer to my own way of thinking, and have had much more direct influence. Even so, I try to keep the instances of blatant plagiarism to a minimum. Looking back, you’ll see that some of the old strips are one-gag formulas, endlessly varied. Krazy Kat revolves around the tossing of the brick. Little Nemo was always a dream, and you know the kid is going to wake up in a heap at the bottom of his bed in every single strip. I find Herriman a lot more interesting than McCay, but both are working within a very limited construct. It’s a very different approach to cartooning that what we do now. I would go insane working with limited formulas like theirs, but on the other hand, Herriman and McCay gave us something better than gags. Back then, the fun was in the getting there. The destination of each strip was the same, but every day you went there by a different road. Today, we want the strip over as soon as possible — “Just hand me the punch line, please.” The fewer panels, words, and drawings, the better: I think Pogo was the last of the enjoy-the-ride strips. It’s a shame. We’ve really lost what comics do best.
WEST: Can’t you still do that with the Sundays?
WATTERSON: The Sundays are frustrating — you have to waste the entire top third of the strip so that the panels can be dropped or reconfigured for certain-sized newspapers. This really limits what I can do. Krazy Kat had a whole page to itself, as did Nemo. Even so, there’s more flexibility on Sundays than in the daily strips. I’ve always tried to make the strip animated, even when the characters aren’t moving, with expressions or perspectives or some sort of exaggeration. There’s great potential for that which has yet to be fully mined.
Phil Hughes gave up three runs on a couple of homers through five innings today but had a lead when the skies opened-up thanks in part to two dingers off the bat of Curtis Granderson. It started pouring by me in the north west corner of the Bronx before it hit the Stadium. The tops of the trees whipped around in a frenzy and I had half a mind to go outside and run around just cause. You know, little kid stuff. Then the old man in me sighed, thought better of it, and sat my ass right back down.
Pretty soon the tarp came on the field at the Stadium and it wasn’t until two hours later that play resumed. The Yanks rolled from there. The only blip came when Joba Chamberlain walked the lead off runner in the eighth and then gave up a two-run homer. But the Yanks piled it on late and ran away with it. One scary moment in the eighth when Alex Rodriguez got plunked on the forearm and had to leave the game.
Fortunately, he was okay, didn’t need to go for x-rays and is expected to play tomorrow. The bum didn’t hit a homer. Stuck on 599. Only got two hits and three RBI. Loser. Jeter had three hits, Teixeira had two, and so did Robinson Cano, who got the 1,000th base hit of his career.
Final Score: Yanks 12, Royals 6.
The Rays won but the Sox lost. Yanks stay three ahead of Tampa and are now eight ahead of Boston. And we prepare for the week ahead and go to sleep the heppiest of kets.
[Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images]