Richard Kraft, collages excerpted from Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera. Courtesy the artist and Siglio.
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When Richard Kraft asked me to collaborate on Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera(forthcoming from Siglio next March), I hadn’t seen any of the collages that would make up the bulk of the book; he simply told me about them over the phone. I jotted: “menagerie,” “alchemy,” and “putting heads on bodies.” Then, in the spirit of Cage and Cunningham, we worked together apart. Thank goodness, too, because if I’d seen these wild, bewildering, hilarious images beforehand I might have been stunned into silence. Kraft takes Kapitan Kloss, a pre-perestroika comic book about a Polish spy who infiltrates the Nazis, and bombs the plot with elephants on bicycles, white rabbits, Hindu goddesses, bugs, birds, a smattering of porn, and other interruptions. Yet amid the cacophony of collage, there is also, here, a baseline of story marching on: again and again the soldiers, the trucks. Isn’t it a natural impulse to want to follow that line? Soon we feel that even Kraft’s interruptions are gathering narrative force: again and again that rabbit, the goddesses’ hands. Yet as one page compels us to the next, each simultaneously becomes a universe of its own. Subverting becomes telling, bombs become themes, and narrative turns itself sideways, upside-down. As Copernicus said on his deathbed: “It moves!” Here’s a little peek.
Richard Kraft, collage from Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera. Courtesy the artist and Siglio.