Classic Cartoons: Martin Plimmer on B Kliban

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The Independent Culture
AS THE originator of abominable cartooning concepts (eg: "Genitalia of the Universe"), it is only fitting that B Kliban should have possessed so perceptive an insight into the mind of the cat. Kliban, a regular contributor to Playboy, drew cats with affection, but without any sentimentality, revealing them to be self-important, absurd, cruel, and (as here), endlessly hedonistic.

His cat books, which he started in 1975, spawned a $50m merchandising industry. As bewitching as the humour of the work is the occasional straight sketch of Kliban's own cats, Nitty, Norton, Burton Rustle and Noko Marie the Snake.

Kliban died in 1990, leaving grieving Japanese fans to barter increasingly rare Kliban cat mugs on the Internet; their names (Tanu, Hiromi, Jasmine) are suspiciously catlike, unlike the artist's; it was Bernard until he cut the body off.