Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Eleven Daily Katzies 1917

Rudolph Dirks Katzenjammer Kids was renamed during WWI owing to anti-German sentiments. In Canada the Sunday and daily were christened The Katzies for the Winnipeg Tribune. Both Sundays and dailies were mostly drawn by other hands during the war. Maybe Dirks signed up to show his patriotism. Among the many ghosts this anonymous artist impressed me the most with his nightmarish slapstick panels. the artist was quite famous in his day, he was John Campbell Cory, who drew a strip called “Cory's Kids” in the early days of the comic supplements.

Now here was how cartoonist and comic historian Alfredo Castelli explained the history to me;

“As you know, the Shenanigan Kids was a title adopted by the Katzenjammer Kids in the aftermath of WW1, when Germans (and German names) were hated. On June, 23, 1918, The Captain went to a lawyer and explained he wasn't German but Dutch; the family name changed in “Shenanigan” and Hans and Fritz were renamed Mike (a name used also in the Canadian strip) and Aleck. On 1920, April 18, the strip was titled “The Katzenjammer Kids” again, with no explanation.

The Katzenjammer/Shenanigan strip was distributed by Hearst, and drawn by HH Knerr, while, after a famous litigation, Rudolph Dirks continued it for the NY World with the title “Hans and Fritz”, later The “Captain and the Kids”.

From June of 1917 a daily “Katzie” strip by Oscar Hitt and a bunch of unnamed artists was published by Hearst. It was principally aimed at foreign customers.”

The sequences below are from December 1917-January 1918.


  1. Hi.
    Congrat for your blog.
    I have a question regarding this post: do you know why Oscar Hitt and the "bunch of unnamed artists" signed Driks when in 1917 the official artist war Knerr (Dirks was already drawing for concurrence)

  2. Until I found the Katzies daily strip it was unknown to history -- at least I find no mention of it in any histories. I attributed it to Hearst based on Dirks name appearing in the masthead. The more I think about that though I could be very wrong -- The comic is drawn by Cory and the masthead may be a mistaken attribution by the Winnipeg Tribune editors. Short answer -- I just don't know.