Watching the SDCC Wander Over Yonder panel from 2014 (mainly to hear everyone Do the Voices, let’s be honest) and Craig just cited Krazy Kat as an influence. I’m so happy, because I’ve had that comic strip flitting in and out of my head this entire time. For many reasons–Krazy Kat is an enigmatic little character (his creator George Herriman described him as a “pixie” rather than a cat) who leads a roving, hoboish existence, offering kindness to everyone he encounters and returning the fury of a violent adversary with utterly sincere endearment.
Plus, look, he plays a banjo!
There are other ways in which the comic strip puts me in mind of the cartoon–especially the roiling desertscapes which seem to predict the atmospheres of many of Wander’s planets–but most essentially I think it’s the notion, so central to the cartoon as an art form, that you can hang the world on a simple concept. Krazy Kat constantly encompasses comedy, poetry, philosophy and language–it counted E.E. Cummings, Frank Capra and Jack Kerouac among its fans–but the core story is always, always about a mouse throwing a brick at a lovesick cat. There’s a similar willful simplicity anchoring Wander, which is most essentially about an entity hellbent on loving the universe until it becomes a thing worth loving. No matter what else it delivers, it never fails to deliver the brick.