Monday, November 30, 2009

Frugle Rottablagger

Any story line or art that broke up the 'monotony' of the swamp was always welcome. And it had been a long time since Pogo himself put on a silly hat and acted up. We can always count on Albert though.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Big Xmas Pageant

From the holiday season of 1969, this is a fun little story arc. Keep comin' back, this costume Christmas caper is to be strung out a bit.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Post Today

Sorry, no post today, I'm on a huge deadline. Tomorrow's Sunday though and you know Sunday isn't Sunday without a color Pogo Sunday. See you then.

Kelly self-portrait 1961

Friday, November 27, 2009

Practice That Banjo!

Mouse into Elephant—page 14

This is the final page of this story. As a teenager, this story inspired me to learn wash techniques, as I think it is quite effective to soften and accent otherwise stark black and white. Kelly didn't use the technique often, yet he was indeed a master with it.

It would be so tempting to have asked Kelly the question that is the bane of all good cartoonists, "where do you get all your ideas?" His plots, dialogue, and morals were so unique to him.

Great Gobs of Geese!

Mouse into Elephant—page 13

Ragout ala Cartwheels!

Mouse into Elephant—page 12

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Deceitful Megalomaniac

Mouse into Elephant—page 11

We'll Make a Million

Mouse into Elephant—page 10

Send in the elephants. Kelly was really big on elephants during this period of time, bringing them in repeatedly in Pandemonia and the Okefenokee. Kelly's elephants can do anything.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ick! A Cat!

Mouse into Elephant—page 3

An Oppressed Majority

Mouse into Elephant—page 2

Gnot-even, a Mouse

Mouse into Elephant—page 1

Many of you folks have all the Pogo books, and many of you don't, having only some, or none. To the Pogophiles who have them all, yay. To the others, I'd like to share some of Kelly's amazing tales of wonder, stories and fairy tales formatted just for the books.

All these years after my encounter and talk with Kelly, I remember how passionately he spoke of fairy tales as a bridge for the imagination. Over the years he parodied some of the standard fairy tales, but he also created them in outrageous and inventive ways. They could not be easily retold by anyone, as they were pure Kelly.

Circumstances dictate that I post the stories one page at a time, but I will try to post at least two a day. And the file names for each page will be labeled so as to facilitate collating.

This tale is from the Pogo Poop Book, a terrific assemblage of Kelly stories created in and around his Pandemonia era.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Give You the National Bird

Well, fwoosh. This appears to be a Sunday, Kelly Sunday. This strip saw print exactly 45 years ago to the day. For those keeping track of such things, Kennedy was shot 46 years ago today.

Here, the name Peaniebrickle comes up, perhaps ancestor to our elephant friend, Peaniebrickle (over on the Pogo in Pandemonia 'blog). On the other hand, it's a pretty common name.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Looky At What Got In

An ultra cool promo art piece:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Far Flung Hall Syndicate

This has my vote for "Most Self-Effacing Self-Portrait Caricature" ever. And the other portrait caricatures of cartoonists are really swell. I had no idea what Reg Smythe or Irving Phillips looked like. This was drawn in 1967, the year of Pandemonia!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Here's another handful of Kelly illustrations for his 1947 book, Complete Nursery Song Book. Some of the drawings could be fairly ordinary, then suddenly very Kellyesque.

Hey Diddle Diddle

Goosey Goosey Gander

Farmer in the Dell

Girls and Boys

Little Boy Blue

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trick Dacey, Famous Detective

Kelly had fun in every panel, never taking a single one for granite.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Goryopsis, Daddy

This is one of the cute Sundays, what with all these firemice, colorful colors, 'Hap Hazard', and spoofing Dick Tracy and Li'l Orphan Annie.

A Billion Times a Dime

John Kennedy had been killed two days before this strip was published. Everyone I knew seemed numb or dazed. As an 11 year old, I took comfort that Kelly's world still whirled on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Own Cosa Nostra

So we've already skipped the strip that I'm missing, just prior to this one. Yet for story continuity it doesn't seem to harm us.

I'm not sure of the significance of Deacon's head being hidden by balloons and Sam peeking out from under one, other than to show us that Kelly is fully aware of how wordy the strip is.

Cosa Nostra, of course, refers to the Mafia, a Sicilian criminal society.

Clandestine Meeting

When I was a kid of eleven, I was clipping and keeping newspaper comics, but not obsessively. If I skipped a week or two here or there, it didn't mean anything to me. So what, I thought, comics will always be around, and new Pogo Sundays will be printed forever. Continuity? Completism? What are those things?

In short, I'm missing some pages at the early end of my Pogo Sundays. What you see below is a storyline that is 'already in progress'. But so what? We're lucky to see this much. Amidst the seven pages of the arc that you will see, there will be a couple more Sundays missing. Again, so what? The story still flows, thanks to Kelly's genius of 'running in place' with his stories.

I so want to get in Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine, and go back to have a talk with my younger self. There are many things I would tell him/me. Among other things, I would say, "be more aware, pay attention to what you think is unimportant, cuz really, ultimately those things will be important. Don't take anything for granted". And of course I'd tell him/me to go out and buy as many Action #1's that he could find.

Realize that when this Sunday strip was printed, John F. Kennedy was still alive (though only with 2 and 1/2 weeks left to his life). The world felt young and optimistic, even to a boy of 11.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Showman and Promoter

Kelly never really identified with the character of Pogo. The possum was too simple, pleasant, innocent—kind of a pushover. No, Kelly saw himself in his other critters: loud, boisterous—full of ego, greed, imperfect knowledge. Well, at least that's how he played it up with publicity.

Perhaps Kelly was really most like PT Bridgeport, the consummate showman and promoter.

The drawings above appeared in Life magazine, a great venue for showcasing the strip! And we see a cultural milepost for the definitions of gay and fey.

The photo below, used in other PR, continues to promote Kelly and Albert as psychological kin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Appearance

I like to think this is the true first appearance of Pogo:


The first autumn after my high school graduation was a heady time of freedom and trouble-making, footloose and all that stuff. But one of the headiest rushes that I had that fall, was opening a tube that was mailed to me, having been forwarded from one address to another.

It was from Walt Kelly and contained a large crayon on newsprint drawing of Pogo himself. The accompanying note from Kelly congratulated me for having come in first place in a national high school editorial cartoon contest that I was not even aware that I had entered. The next day I received official notice from the committee, and then after that I found out that my fellow journalism staff had entered my work to the competition the previous spring, without telling me.

It was very exciting that I learned of it first from Kelly, who, of course, was a supremo editorial cartoonist himself. He even recalled having met me 4 years previously. This was the portrait of Pogo that he sent:

It was a preliminary character sketch for the Crest reprint book Pogo for President and, to me, is the ultimate Pogo personality.

But he certainly didn't always look like that. Cartoon characters age and evolve over time in a parallel course with their creator's talents and skills. Below is Kelly's 1959 rendering from Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo, showing how he seemed to remember Pogo's first appearance from 1943. But it wasn't quite accurate.

Kelly tried even earlier, in 1952, I think, to compare the original with a scant 9 years of evolution. Still not quite accurate, because even though unkempt, the rendering on the left below was a bit too cute.

Now these two images below show the TRUE first appearance of Pogo the rat, I mean Pogo the possum. The first, being his very first appearance anywhere, and the bottom image, scaring the heck out of me, looking like the possum from hell, from just a few months later. Both of these images were scanned from the Eclipse reprint series.

We can all be grateful that Kelly's talents and skills evolved.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Light Fantastic

These are some swell panels from the Cinderola story in Pogo Sunday Brunch. I know a lot of you have all the Pogo books, but maybe some of you don't. Would some of you like to see full stories like these? Please, let me know.

I spent much time as a kid trying to decipher Kelly's verse and unverse:

Cozy Comfy

Many a long year ago, I was a sickly child (much later I found that Walt Kelly had been too), and spent much time in bed. There were times that I was so out of it that I drifted in and out of consciousness and had a lot of what I would call Fever Dreams. But other times I was well enough to sit up in bed with tea and muffins and COMIX!

I remember an episode where I went from the comix to a fever dream rather rapidly. I had been reading a lot of the original Plastic Man comic books by Jack Cole, and as you might expect, the resulting dreams were rather bizarre.

But more relevant to this post, I always had a handful of Pogo books to keep me company that I read over and over, as they were so comforting to my weary soul. The Pogo Sunday Brunch had this art on the cover and it was so cozy comfy with these guys sittin' up in bed, eatin' samidges and readin' comix.

Later, when I met Kelly (as recounted elsewhere) he held this very book in his hands as he talked to me about fairy tales (I had brought the book with me for him to sign). In the book is a story about Cinderola and the Fore-bears, and he kept thumbing through those pages as he discoursed on the value of 'furry tails'. This book will be with me to my dying day (along with many others of course) as a source of comfort in trying times.

That's the kind of geek I am.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Foot in His Mush

Don't expect three Sundays a day alla time, I'm just trying to make it up for the last coupla weeks that you've had to do without.