When did Fritz the Cat come out?

Fritz the Cat
Fritz the Cat. I argue fair use in using this still image from the video on this page.
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Here are some key dates as to when Fritz the Cat came out. There has to be more than one date because there’s been more than one Fritz the Cat product. Fritz the Cat was created by Robert Crumb. This cat is slick, drug loving, smart but debauched and rather crude. He is “often full of hollow compliments”.

  • Robert Crumb, at the age of sixteen, produced his amateur comic of Fritz the Cat in 1959;
  • The cat’s first professional appearance was in 1964 in a comic strip in Help! magazine. At this time Fritz was not named;
  • Head Comix, a book, came out in 1968;
  • R. Crumb’s Comics and Stories came out in 1969;
  • Fritz the Cat came out in 1972. The film was financially successful. When people ask when Fritz the Cat came out they are probably referring to this film. The film of 1972 “bears only a superficial resemblance to the comic stories and Crumb disowned it.” In the film, there’s a bath tub orgy which brings the police to Fritz’s East Village home. He escapes and the police pursue him. He hides in a synagogue. The police’s pursuit of Fritz is stopped by Jews dancing the Hora. Fritz heads to Harlem and hides out and makes love to Big Bertha. He leaves town with his old flame Winston. He meets up with Hells Angels and is caught up in an explosion when the bikers attack a powerplant. He ends up in hospital and seduces visiting ladies.
  • The sequel to Fritz the Cat (1972) was The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat which came out in 1974. It was not a financial success.

Fritz the Cat is the most famous underground comic book animal. There are others such as Fat Freddy’s Cat.

The extract below from Fritz the Cat, the film, is on YouTube and you can see that he is a tabby cat. He appears to be a grey or grey/brown tabby cat.

The quotes and information are from Jeff Rovin’s The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals.

Robert Crumb (photo: Wikipedia commons):

Robert Crumb 2014
Robert Crumb 2014. Published under creative commons license. Photographer: Niccolò Caranti – Own work. At the Lucca Comics & Games 2014.

Crumb lives in a village in the South of France at the date of this post.


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