Some biographies mention this item, but few have shown the goods. Thanks to a great friend of this blog, OtherEric of The Digital Comic Museum, we can see Kelly at work as a journeyman cartoonist, illustrating a War Department manual: The Mechanics of English.
With so many G.I.s coming into wartime administrative positions, a professional standard had to be maintained in written communications. Sometimes the manual was fairly complex in its substance, so a few cartoons helped to liven it up and help make sense of it all.
Copyrighted 1943 by the MacMillan Company, it's interesting to see that Kelly's credited name is misspelled on the title page, but make no mistake—this is OUR Walt Kelly, demonstrating a cartoon technique that was popularized by cartooning courses of the time, but identifiable with the Kelly wit. Kelly was already drawing Pogo and Disney stuff and comic books by this point, but he chose (or was directed) to stick to basic cartooning, yet make it lively and quick.
I know a lot of you are desirous of Pogo material, and we will have plenty more of that over time, but I think it's fascinating to see an early part of the evolution of Kelly's style and wit. Besides being fans of Kelly, many of this blog's viewers are animators, cartoonists and illustrators looking for inspiration, and I hope y'all get something out of this.
I've chosen to show the work in context, with the entire page where art was utilized, so as to get a flavor of the educational content.
A millyum thanks to OtherEric for the scans, with a bit of cleanup by me.