This is a preprint
restricted access Laughing Sam and Krazy Kats: The Black Comic Sensibility

Racist caricature dominated the earliest newspaper comic strips (from 1895 to 1910). A closer look at strips by James Swinnerton and, especially, George Herriman, however, shows how these conventions could be manipulated to express a black comic sensibility—a sensibility that produced dark laughter by plumbing the ironic depths of American race relations.