Rudolph Dirks created The Katzenjammer Kids in 1897 for the American Humorist, the famed Sunday supplement of the New York Journal. Inspired in part by "Max Und Moritz," the famous German children's stories of the 1860s, The Katzenjammer Kids featured the adventures of Hans and Fritz, twins and fellow warriors in the battle against any form of authority. "The Katzies" rebelled against Mama (their own mother, of course), der Captain (the shipwrecked sailor who acted as their surrogate father) and der Inspector (dreaded representative of the school authorities).
The oldest comic strip still in syndication, The Katzenjammer Kids was adapted to the stage in 1903 and inspired countless animated cartoons. The U.S. Postal Service also saluted the Katzies with a commemorative stamp.
Hans and Fritz Katzenjammer
The Katzies, as they are often called, are born troublemakers. Their neat clothes and innocent faces conceal their deep-seated ability to do mischief. These two juvenile anti-heroes were the original troublesome twosome. Katzenjammer in German literally means "the howling of cats," and it is also German slang for a hangover. A hangover would be a pleasure compared to the dire antics of Hans and Fritz, who play tricks on neighbors, pets, tradesmen, and any other available target, including their own mother.
Apparently a widow, this stay-at-home mom tries, vainly sometimes, to turn a blind eye to her mischievous offspring's brazen antics and blatant disregard for authority.
Der Captain and Der Inspector
Der Captain is actually a boarder in the Katzenjammer household, and the perpetual butt of Hans and Fritz' pranks. Der Inspector is the local truant officer, but he seldom catches the ever-inventive brotherly twosome. All too often the grownups' plans to turn the tables on these two devilish kids come back to haunt them.