Once again, I am completely overcome by deadlines. I have to work day and night for the rest of the week. I will resume posting on Sunday. Then I think we'll begin one of Kelly's amazing Sunday arcs that I've been holding back until now.
In the meantime, here's Owl as Nero, a funny thing on the way to the forum. Excelsior!
A continuation from the last strip, the 2nd strip that I personally rescued from the trash heap (there was no recycling done by ANYbody back in those days—heck, people even burned their trash in their backyard incinerators!).
The printing registration is pretty bad on this one, as is the bleed-through from Archie on the other side. But it's part of the archives of Kelly's Whirled, so here it is.
This is the earliest Pogo Sunday that I clipped from the paper, back in (wait for it) May of nineteen sixty-three. Good gosh, that's 6 months before Kennedy's assassination. I have no specific memory of culling this piece of ephemera, but seeing it opens a flood-gate of childhood emotions, of wonder and fascination of all things four-color. All these years later, the boy that I was is still within the man I am.
This strip is from the very next day, yet it refers to the fierce bandit as if we had witnessed the encounter. Well, we didn't. And you would think that with the camaraderie that these two have, we would see them again. But we don't. The next daily jumps back to Owl's school, and we don't see these two fine fellows again (at least not in the remaining months of sequential strips that I have. Kelly's stories and characters meander where they will, sometimes with no rhyme or reason.
Sometimes I forget that Albert really is supposed to be an alligator--he's such a lovable doofus. Kelly had such a way of blending human bean characteristics with animal physiology. Here the lion is close to the size of a beaver, stands with human aplomb, runs like Barney Google—and yet seems entirely believable as a character.
Kelly fits so much substance (a full tree house) and action (the lion has run 10 yards) into these fairly tiny panels, and yet still has room to breathe.
Isn't there just something, indefinable, but really evident of the special quality of Kelly's artwork? Looking at this strip. . . the facial expressions, of the lamb in the 2nd panel and of Li'l' Awry in the last panel, the characters feel somehow real, even though we know they're only cartoons. I feel comforted by looking in on the characters in Kelly's Whirled. Most other comic strips have a superficial quality, the art seems manufactured.
Oh gosh, I'm not explaining this right. Somehow I need to come up with the words that communicate this. Anyone want to give it a whirl, if you even get a hint of what I'm saying here? Many many of you feel Kelly's art and style is more than just good art--what is it, why is it that it reaches us on an emotional level? This is something I just have to find the words for.
Boy, that lamb really has the patter down of a promotional campaign.
OK, to be timely I could've/should've/would've posted this grouping of strips at the beginning of March. But I didn't, and it's not gonna hurt anybody that I'm doing it now. And it's better now, maybe, then, oh, say August. But even if I had waited 'til then, so what, right? My mission here is to jump all over the place—Kelly here, Kelly there. Still, it's not even the middle of March, so this is sort of timely, not that I need to be, mind you.
This is the first of ten consecutive strips. They're old and brittle (like me), so please don't mind the yellowing newsprint.
Below, the original art for this strip, demonstrating the 'extra' (6th) panel, as well as how the 5th panel was altered. The original art was in the same format as the printed strip, so why in the whirled didn't the paper just print it that way?
Such beautiful art for just a regular ol' run-of-the-mill strip.
Human Beans appearing in the Pogo strip was a plenty rare event.
At the time of this strip in 1965, Hippies had barely been heard of, outside of a vague use of the term for people who were 'hip'. 'Beatniks' was the appellation and social stereotype applied to young people with guitars and lots of hair. It was the beginning of the end of an era, and the social revolution to come was just as bewildering to Kelly, I think, as it was to most people of his generation.
Marty Allen, the comedian whose tagline was a big 'HELLO DERE' was REALLY popular at that time, having the distinction of performing with his comedy partner Steve Rossi on the Ed Sullivan show on the same night as the Beatles, not just once but twice.
This is the follow-up Sunday to the last post. These two Sundays were sort of stand-alones in the middle of a long arc, of which I will post sometime soon.
The quality of the press runs at this time were somewhat spotty (literally), so I'm spending a bit more time than usual trying to get the cleanest scans I can. In my opinion, this era marks the beginning of the decline of quality that newspapers suffered, lasting to this day—40 years later.
A 1971 strip, starting to wear a little thin, as Kelly was ill, but still fun stuff. Churchy is wearing his pirate hat of the old days, Pogo hisself getting duller and duller, and Albert allus a loose cannon.
Kelly's comic book stories seem to be showing up all over the 'net, but at the risk of duplicating someone's efforts, I like to scan 'em large and in natural color from my collection.
I very rarely have purchased old comics from dealers, having inherited them, or bought them new off the spinner. But this comic was an exception. Some years ago I talked with a dealer who was on tour with an antique show at a mall, and I told him of my interest in some of Kelly's fairy tale comics, and gave him my address to contact me if he found any on my want list. Whoa, just two weeks later a large envelope arrived with this comic, beautifully packaged. The dealer wrote that if I didn't want it, just send it back, or if I did want it, I could send a check (for a very fair price). I was dumbfounded that a dealer could be so trusting, and to keep that trust, of course I sent a check immediately.
My name is Thom Buchanan.
I'm an artist and photographer.
People are my favorite subjects to portray in art and photos. My wife (and studio partner) has called that my 'people skills', as I've been passionately creating portrait studies for many years.
I refer to myself as a pictorialist, a combination of image-making and journalist. Images are my life.
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