Two separate stories shed some light on the psychology of two of the all-time greatest cartoonists, George Herriman and Georges “Hergé” Remi.
First, the blog Don’t Touch My Comics looks at Herriman’s mixed-race heritage and how it may have influenced Krazy Kat:
One gag, which ran during both the black and white and color eras, has Krazy going to a beauty shop and having his black fur died white. Ignatz (who usually hates Krazy and seeks to bean with him a brick, recall) is instantly smitten by the vision of the White Kat that emerges from the salon. It is only when he finds out the White Kat’s true identity that Ignatz reaches for his trusty brick. This is revealing. It suggests that Ignatz does not hate Krazy because he is a cat, but because he is a black cat. Similarly, Herriman employed a gag (again, in both the color and black and white periods of the strip) in which Ignatz falls into a stove-pipe and is turned black by the coal dust. When he throws his customary brick, Krazy is incensed. ”A lil Eetiopium Mice, black like a month from midnights. Fuwi!” Krazy declares when he sees Ignatz in blackface. Again, Krazy only loves Ignatz when he is white.
Next, recently auctioned letters by Hergé continue the narrative of his antipathy towards his greatest character, as well as shedding light on his romantic life and more.
“There is a complete divorce between what I think and what I invent and draw,” he writes afterwards.
“And right now, my work makes me sick,” he tells his wife. “Tintin is no longer me. And I must make a terrible effort to invent (him)… If Tintin continues to live, it is through a sort of artificial respiration that I must constantly keep up and which is exhausting me.”