Ach, those damn 110 year old kids!
December 27, 2007 4:04 PM   Subscribe

The Katzenjammer Kids* are 110 years old this month, the world's longest running comic. Watch 1918's Policy & Pie (pt. 2), rare animation by creator Rudolph Dirks who lost the strip to William Randolph Hearst in a court case. The strip was taken over by Harold H. Knerr, but Dirks retained rights to the characters and produced a rival cartoon under The Captain & the Kids for Pulitzer papers for several decades. Five artists followed Dirks and Knerr creating the strip for Hearst.
posted by madamjujujive (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
A wealth of material here! Thanks for putting this all together. My daughter is fascinated, so she thanks you, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:19 PM on December 27, 2007

The Katzenjammer Kids came from Wilhelm Busch's Max and Moritz, a German children's book from the 1860s. Hearst bought the rights and gave it to Dirks for adaptation.
posted by jomama123 at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2007

Wow, that's amazing. I wasn't even aware the strip was still going. I doubt that record will ever be broken—110 years and counting! Ach du lieber!!

Oh, and great post, obviously.
posted by languagehat at 4:50 PM on December 27, 2007

Originals and reprints of Das Wilhelm Busch Album, the omnibus edition of Busch's poetry and cartoon work, can be found dirt-cheap online and at yer better used book emporiums. Pretty amazing, even if you don't read German, and required not only for fans of the Katzenjammer Kids but also Tony Millionaire's Maakies -- there's a bird in there that sure seems like the prototype for Drinky Crow.

Also Harvey Kurtzman's parody "The Katchandhammer Kids" in Mad issue no. 20 is pretty amazing.
posted by Kinbote at 5:06 PM on December 27, 2007

What a bizarre coincidence—I was just talking to my girlfriend about The Katzenjammer Kids an hour ago, telling her about how Rudolph Dirks drew it first, but it was taken over by some guy whose name I couldn't remember! Thanks, madamjujujive!
posted by interrobang at 5:29 PM on December 27, 2007

The current strips run here, at least occasionally.
posted by beagle at 5:34 PM on December 27, 2007

The Comic Strip Century reprints some Katzenjammer Kids strips, including a Fourth of July Katzenjammer Kids / Happy Hooligan / Alphonse and Gaston crossover. I'm pretty sure I've seen a Christmas crossover strip with all of the above plus a cameo by the Yellow Kid, but I have no idea where.
posted by ormondsacker at 6:39 PM on December 27, 2007

I myself prefer the world's second-longest-running comic.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:12 PM on December 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Hokay, the KK stuff, 'salright. But that Horace Rumple link above! Wowseewowsee Woo Woo!
posted by humannaire at 9:24 PM on December 27, 2007

The Katzenjammer kids used to be in a series of cartoons on TV when I was a kid called The Captain and the Kids. Some 35 years later, I still vividly remember one episode...the Captain was left alone to take care of the boys, and everything (of course) went wrong, the string of problems starting out with the button popping off of his trousers when he got dressed. Several times during the ep the Captain listed his litany of complaints, growing ever more agitated, and each time ending with "und no ding-donged button on da ding-donged pants!!"
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:06 PM on December 27, 2007

The current strips run here, at least occasionally.


The model rocketry is a direct ripoff of the strip of March 27, 1949, and the house was previously set afire in 1917, 1938, and 1962. We need some new writers pronto.
posted by dhartung at 11:30 PM on December 27, 2007

omg, This was my American-Dutch dad's favorite comic strip. He used to read it to us kids from the local paper in Jamaica, West Indies, wayyy back there a gazillion years ago. I didn't know anyone who knew this strip. *So* cool you posted this! Thanks dear madamjujujive! You find the funnest stuff!
posted by nickyskye at 1:27 AM on December 28, 2007

More like the Spice Women, AMIRITE?
posted by ersatz at 5:20 AM on December 28, 2007

Also of note is the Kids' presence in Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers.
posted by Koko at 8:47 AM on December 28, 2007

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