1995 32¢ Krazy Kat
Comic Strip Classics
- Third sheet in the Classic Collection Series
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Comic Strip Classics
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: October 1, 1995
First Day Cities: Boca Raton, Florida
Quantity Issued: 300,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.2
Why the stamps were issued: The Comic Strip Classics sheet was the third issue in the Classic Collection Series. There was push to create a stamp to honor American comics as early as the 1960’s, but didn’t get real consideration until 1993. With the 100th anniversary of the comic The Yellow Kid, a comic committee, and an 83-page proposal the USPS finally agreed.
About the stamp designs: Even though only one stamp was approved, Terrence McCaffrey, head of stamp design, thought there was no way to honor American Comics with one single stamp. Therefore, he had a list of all proposed stamps and had Carl Herrman, art director, mock up a sheet of 20 stamps. McCaffrey wanted all the stamps to be taken from original panels by their respected artist. Herrmann worked on going through thousands of panels to find comics of the 20 chosen that showed the central theme of the comic in one panel with clean lines. Then with the help of American Color, that colorizes most of the comics in American newspapers, he was able to colorize them with accurate color choices, even those that were outdated.
Krazy Kat (#3000e) – This stamp image was one that came directly from the 83-page proposal. Much wasn’t needed to turn this design into a winner. It was simplified a touch and Herrman added a heart to symbolize Krazy Kat’s unrequited love, but that was all.
About the printing process: In order to include the text on the back of each stamp, it had to be printed under the gum, so that it would still be visible if a stamp was soaked off an envelope. Because people would need to lick the stamps, the ink had to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as non-toxic. The printer also used an extra-fine 300-line screen, which resulted in some of the highest-quality gravure stamp printings in recent years.
History the stamps represent:
Kat loves Mouse. Mouse, who dislikes Kat, angrily tosses bricks. Kat takes this as a sign of affection. Kop secretly loves Kat, which gives him extra reason to enforce law and order. This was the comics’ “eternal triangle.” Although few understood Krazy Kat, everyone knew its creator, George Herriman, was a genius.
The strip began as a cat-and-mouse chase in Herriman’s Dingbat Family strip. In October 1913, Krazy got his own strip, and thus started the imaginative fantasy life of Krazy, Ignatz Mouse, and the other inhabitants of Kokonino County.
Ironically, Krazy Kat, which has become the most highly-praised of all comic strips, was not very popular during the years it ran in newspapers. Having only a few dozen subscribers, compared to hundreds for its better-known contemporaries, the strip mainly owned its existence to the fact that publisher William Randolph Hearst was an avid follower. The strip ended with Herriman’s death in 1944, and it wasn’t until years later that Herriman’s genius was recognized.