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Nine Lives To Live: A Classic Felix Celebration

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Nine Lives to Live: A Classic Felix Celebration

Current Status:
In Season
Otto Messmer
Pop Culture, Comic Novels

We gave it an A

Baby boomers can be forgiven for remembering Felix only as the nominal hero of choppy ’60s television cartoons featuring characters like Poindexter and Rock Bottom. In truth, the wonderful, wonderful cat’s roots go back to early comic strips and the early, pre-Disney days of animated film. Otto Messmer, a shy cartoonist working for Pat Sullivan’s animation factory, created the feisty feline in 1919 and directed him through dozens of hugely popular short films. When Sullivan — who always took full credit for Felix — thought to franchise the character in the Sunday funnies beginning in 1923, Messmer wrote and drew those as well. Nine Lives to Live: A Felix Celebration rescues the best of those strips from yellowing oblivion and, despite Sullivan’s signature, honors their real creator. Pitched somewhere between Krazy Kat dada and Katzenjammer Kids slapstick, the comics follow Felix’s adventures with Mother Goose, giant mosquitoes, cubist furniture, Mars (the planet), and Jupiter (the god). All in all, one sweetly fantastical nostalgia binge. A