Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Ho, Pogo

Color notes:

Woof, what a lot of yellow . . . and orange . . . and green.

Howland Owl is now a full body light-orange from beak to toes, with greenish glasses.

Churchy is back to a two-tone face and his legs are the same green as the grass.

Pogo, in every panel, is in a deep shade of orange from hat to toes.

Another white background panel—a rarity prior to this arc.

Overall, the color scheme is a pret-ty jarring.


  1. I don't know what Kelly's condition was at the time of these Sunday strips (and can't seem to find this info, from online searches) but if he was in bad shape (as Kelly aficionados know he had diabetes and eventually had a leg amputated) that might have contributed to the problematic colors—maybe he had incomplete color guides, or was in so much pain that he wasn’t as attentive to those as he should have been. Bio sources did say that his assistants took over much if not all of his work during the final years of his life.

    In my search I found that there is a bio on Kelly titled "The Life and Times of Walt Kelly" by Thomas Andre & Carsten Laqua. From my online searches the book was either published last year or is yet to be published (Amazon's publish date was Jan 2011, but Barnes and Nobel say this upcoming July). Below is a blurb from the B&N site; I’m trying to see if I can locate the authors as maybe they have addressed this subject in their book, and/or know the story behind the color issue. If anyone here has any additional info regarding the book and the authors then please post.

    This first comprehensive monograph of Pogo creator Walt Kelly details all of his work from its beginning with Walt Disney through his long creative work on his signature character, Pogo. This full-color art book is profusely illustrated with original artwork and never-before-seen documentary materials.

  2. I wanted to post a different comment from the one I submitted about the Kelly bio regarding the poor shape of Walt's representation on the net. The official page really doesn't do it justice, and the links they provide are either inaccessible or are outdated.

    Pogo is due for a reboot in the sense that someone with money needs to work with the Kelly estate and create a site that reflects current design elements and timely information. Even an official Pogo Facebook page would be welcome (there are many fan pages there with small numbers of users, like!/group.php?gid=56794983948 --I'm posting a blurb there about this blog).

  3. Thom--one of the many nice things about you scanning and posting original strips clipped right from the newspaper (for which, thanks once again) is that if they were reissued in color in book form (which they likely never will be), the editors of said book might correct the color and we'd lose the interesting oddness of the strange appearance of the characters from this period; we'd not even be aware of this tantalizing mystery. We'd be missing all this pondering and discussing and speculating that's been going on here. And the characters don't appear to be in any discomfort or even to be aware of their abnormal appearance.
    Two things occur to me. First, an odd little thought: Churchy with the yellow beak bears a resemblance to the long-after-Kelly Disney character Ze Carioca (or Joe Carioca in English), the Brazilian Parrot. I don't know why the colorist would make that connection rather than refer to his color charts though. Just a strange idea that popped into my head.
    Second: I assume you collected all your Sunday strips all those years ago from the same newspaper. Is it possible that only the color printing guy (technical term) at that newspaper took these liberties, either through incompetence or mischievous intent and that other papers colored them correctly? Have you seen Pogos clipped from other papers' Sunday comics for comparison?
    Just some late-night musings. Couldn't sleep and wandered in here to the computer. G'night all.

  4. Mike and Jim—Thanks for the pondering and speculating, as you put it Jim. It is a tantalizing problem, due in large part that most of us have no idea what Kelly's working arrangement was after the inking was done, and who did what for post production at the studio, syndicate offices or newspaper facilities. Oh we know the general procedure, but Kelly's specific steps are a mystery, at least to me. I would dearly love for someone in the know, who was around in those days, to speak up—here or in some other forum and let us know.

    Jim, yes I've thought about whether the newspaper color pressmen could be responsible (as I said in an earlier post, perhaps drunk for a number of weeks). And yes, these are all from one newspaper. Earlier in my collecting days I would buy out of town papers looking for variations in formats and colors. But by this time, my thoughts were preoccupied with the fact that my draft number was 50 out of 150 or so. I collected these particular strips without even looking at them until years later.

    I'm off to bed. Goodnight world.

  5. This AM I received a reply from someone at Diamond Comics regarding the life and times book. He advised that according to their database the publisher is Hermes Press and that the current publication date is June 2011.

  6. I've had that book on pre-order at Amazon since November 2009, and promoted it on Pogo in Pandemonia. I hope it's a good one.Thanks for the update Mike.