Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Bernard "Hap" Kliban (1935-1990) is best known for his cat cartoons. But many of my generation first encountered him in Playboy in the early 70s, which was about the time most of us stopped reading Playboy, except for the interviews of course. In fact, it was a Playboy editor who spotted some of Kliban's cat cartoons and set him on his infamous feline career. Personally I knew he was "the other" cartoonist at Playboy because Shel Silverstein and Gahan Wilson were the more famous architects of illustration for Hefner.

I still remember being introduced to Kliban's work in 1978 when I was handed Tiny Footprints, Whack Your Porcupine, and Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head. Those to me remain the quintessential Kliban.
I thought we might reminisce with some of his drawings and commentary on life as we don't know it.

Attentive readers may have noticed I have varied a bit from my every-other-day blog production. Today was simply a visual thing. I use my blog as my home page and quite frankly having that cobra head pop up all day yesterday got a bit distracting, so I moved up my ode to Kliban due to reptilian hebbie-jebbies.

Who hasn't felt the need for such relief, I find the political talking heads drive me quickly to the mint flavored floss. I prefer the the Glide polymer variety and I like the flat tape over the string version, it gets into all those folds and ruffles of the cortex.

He just gets it. Anyone care to take a shot at defining "it"?

Of course I can't end without another cat cartoon, here his nod to Botticelli's Primavera (Spring).

Methinks I shall need a 2011 Kliban Kalendar. Search Amazon.com for kliban


mira amiras said...

Used to sing the Mousies song to my kids — which was their introduction to Kliban.

Never saw the figs before, though. Love it! Maybe if I show it to my two fig trees they'll get the idea??

Anonymous said...

Love the Primavera one, had not seen it. My bro in OZ was a friend of Kliban. Sad to hear he died.

I still have a box of momentos of Hawaii somewhere with my worn out yellow tank top, with "Love to eat them Mousies"

I still have a bunch of Kliban stickers with motivational saying to children such as "You can do it".

No calendar of Kliban for me. I shall opt for Fractals, thank you.