Friday, January 16, 2009
Fritz the Cat Comic Book Fictional
Fritz the Cat was an underground comic book fictional character created by Robert Crumb. The character first appeared in printed form during the height of the underground comix movement of the 1960s and has since appeared in two films inspired by Crumb's comics.
Fritz the Cat was one of the first characters Crumb created, and the first to see print in a professional publication. In the liner notes for the Fritz the Cat film soundtrack, Thomas Albright describes Fritz as "a kind of updated Felix with overtones of Charlie Chaplin, Candide and Don Quixote."
Fritz was originally created as part of a series of comic books that R. Crumb and his brother Charles drew when they were children. In the earliest stages of the character's form, Fritz was a house cat named Fred. Crumb eventually developed Fred into an anthropomorphic character, renaming him Fritz.
In early strips, collected in The Complete Crumb Comics series, Fritz has adventures as a James Bond–like secret agent, has an incestuous tryst with one of his sisters and generally behaves in ways somewhat out of character with his persona in his later, published stories. The character's first published story appeared in Help! #22 (January 1965). The story was called Fritz Comes on Strong. In it, Fritz brings a young (cat) girl home, and strips all of her clothes off before getting on top of her to pick fleas off her. While Harvey Kurtzman agreed to publish the comic, he told Crumb that he did not know how he was going to "publish it without getting arrested."
Fritz developed a distinct personality. Fritz was "glib, smooth and self-assured," characteristics Crumb himself felt he lacked. According to Marty Pahls, "I don't think the difference between Robert, back in 1960–1965, and his characterization of Fritz is all that mysterious. To a great extent, Fritz was his wish-fulfillment. Through Fritz, Robert could do great deeds, have wild adventures, and undergo a variety of sex experiences, which he himself felt he couldn't. Fritz was bold, poised, had a way with the ladies—all attributes which Robert coveted, but felt he lacked." Crumb himself denied any personal relationship with the character, stating "I just got into drawing him. [...] He was fun to draw."
As Crumb's personal life changed, so did the character. According to Pahls, "For years, [Crumb] had few friends and no sex life; he was forced to spend many hours at school or on the job, and when he came home he 'escaped' by drawing home-made comics. When he suddenly found a group of friends that would accept him for himself, as he did in Cleveland in 1964, the 'compensation' factor went out of his drawing, and this was pretty much the end of Fritz's impetus." The character increasingly became a parody of would-be poets and other middle-class bohemian types who profess to be seeking cosmic truths when they are actually more interested in chasing girls.
Fritz the Cat's adventures were published in magazines and comic books such as Cavalier, Fug, and The People's Comics throughout the years. He acquired his own title in 1969. These comics have been reprinted interspersedly in The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 1 through 8, published by Fantagraphics, as well as several "complete collections", currently out of print.(Wikipedia)