Formula and the Sublime in George Herriman's Krazy Kat
The premise is always the same: Cat loves mouse. Mouse hits cat with brick. Dog takes mouse to prison. While not literally every installment of George Herriman's Krazy Kat follows this exact premise, this is the framework around which the strip was built. One might think that such a simple formula would grow tiresome quickly, but Herriman — like a master of that other uniquely American art form, jazz — could take that simple framework and improvise around it, shifting characters and landscapes into something new and beautiful every day for over thirty years.