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The strip appeared in Help! and Cavalier magazines. It subsequently gained prominence in publications associated with the underground comix scene between 1965 and 1972. Fritz the Cat comic compilations elevated the strip into one of the most iconic features of the underground scene.
The strip received further attention when it was adapted into a 1972 animated film with the same name. The directorial debut of animator Bakshi, it became a worldwide success. It was the first animated feature film to receive an X rating in the United States and the most successful independent animated feature to date.Crumb ended the strip in 1972 due to disagreements with the filmmakers. He published a story in which Fritz was murdered by an ex-girlfriend. A second animated film, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, was produced in 1974 without the involvement of either Bakshi or Crumb.