Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gadzooks and Huzzah

Color notes:

Still lotsa yellow, but what's new about that? Except, notice that the yellow bench is against a yellow background in one of the panels and sorta disappears. Strips in other times rarely did stuff like that.

Lotsa green tree trunks.

Howland Owl now has white muttonchops with his light orangish body. And he's got clear glasses again.

Churchy still has the two-tone face, which to me is really distracting.

Four more white background panels, still a rarity in the Okefenokee.

A patch of blue missing through the 'o' in the Pogo logo.

And there's a big green blotch in panel 7. Things like that happen in high speed printing, but it looks almost deliberate like maybe it was in the color engraver's guide. I can see the engraver scratching his head and drawling, 'well alright, if that's what Mr. Kelly wants . . ."

All this doesn't look like color-blindness to me as much as scatter-brainess.

Oh, and hey! I inserted a photo of original art two posts ago. Go back and check it out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Knights of Lawn Order

Color notes:

A very buttery yellow abounds.

Howland is now a different shade of brown, sorta orangish. His beak is the same color as his body, but now his feet are deep orange, as opposed to white from last Sunday.

Churchy still has that two-tone face.

But it's cool that they're in costume!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mythillogical Beasts Don't Exist, Never Did Exist an' Never Won't Exist

Below is the black and white original drawing for this strip, sent over as a photograph from J.P.K., a fan of Kelly. Even in the slightly blurred and low resolution state, you can see, without the distraction of strange color, that Kelly's art is still spiffy. Thanks J.P.!

Oh, and check out the 'extra' panel that the 3 tier format always has.

I know I said I'd shut up about colors, but I can't help it, I have to point out the little weirdities:

First, not only is there yellow in the background, there's more yellow in the foreground than usual.

Second, Pogo's got a solid darker brown coloration than usual, with no whites for the eyes.

Third, there are three panels with blank backgrounds, no colors. Before this arc, I can't recall that happening. That's a lost opportunity for more visual stimulus.

Fourth, Howland is back to his usual brown, but it also covers his nose which is usually orangish, as his feet usually are, only now they're white. And his glasses are now sunglass blue, clear being the usual.

And lastly (same as last couple of Sundays) Churchy has that weird two-tone effect with the yellow on his face. But at least the back of his shell is not purple now, like it was in the last two Sundays.

Of course none of this should prevent us from enjoying this excursion, but at least it gives me somethin' to write about, and some of you have said you don't mind my ramblings.

Come back soon for the next one, wherein we get a costume drama.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Goom Goom Goom

Here's a little update about this arc: I'm calling this the Mythillogical Beasts arc, for reasons that you'll see soon enough. But a trait of Kelly's storylines was that they didn't begin and end with precision. Bits and pieces might stray over a few weeks, and before you know it, we're caught up in a new arc that wanders on.

My point being is that I peeked ahead a bit and realized this arc will run more than 13 Sundays . . . maybe more like 18. Again, it's all fun stuff, so no one's going to suffer here. The color confusion dies down after a few Sundays and then it's almost normal.

I had an email come in from Don that had a theory about the 'off-colors':

I think the strange colors on the Pogo page you posted today result from the work having been done by a color-blind person.

Notice the preponderance of blue and yellow. These are the colors that people with varying degrees of red-green blindness can still see. (Blindness to the blue-yellow axis is very rare.)

As to why Walt Kelly would accept these results - perhaps he was too ill to feel like arguing.

That's certainly a possibility. And it's humorous to think how someone with color-blindness could be put in the position of being in charge of colors.

But as you'll see, in posts to come, the colors change in strangeness that make you think that someone's just not paying attention. The oddest detail is Churchy's two-tone head and beak. But overall the colors are lively, the art is great and the story is fun. So I'll shut up for now about this chromatic anomaly.

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skibrous and Skattle-Minded

Here we start a 13 Sunday arc from 1971, a time when Kelly was ill, yet still producing high quality work. But there's one peculiar trait to this arc—namely that the coloring is as odd as I've ever seen in the Pogo Sundays, starting with this strip and continuing into the 9th week of the arc. You'll notice that especially with Churchy and Howland.

I've tried to reason out the reason, but I'm still flummoxed. I've thought that maybe the pressmen were drunk (but for nine weeks?). I've thought that maybe Kelly had new assistance from someone who was not familiar with the strip's characters, and developed color guides that were made up on the spot. And, of course, I thought perhaps Kelly's illness prevented him from seeing colors as usual as he prepared the color guides.

But I don't know that he normally would perform that duty, and have to lean toward an assistant's culpability, since pressmen usually are loyal in following directives.

Whatever the reason, Kelly's artwork is still spot-on, and as you'll see as we get further into the arc, he brings in funny and unusual elements, making this a high quality arc. His style has that later period look, certainly, but still solid.

To thank you for your patience in the lately slow schedule of posts, I plan to post this arc 2 or three times a week, so that we won't drag it out for a real-time 13 weeks. Do come back every few days, because despite the really odd coloring, this IS a fun arc, as you'll see.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Old Wottzizname

I really have been wanting to post more often, here on Whirled of Kelly, but between having the horrible crud and having horrible deadlines, I'm lucky to be able to do the Sunday, Kelly Sunday thing. Give me a little more time and I'll make it worth your patience.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So Grimly Grim

Sometimes the strips could feel a bit dull, kind of been-there-done-that. But true Pogophiles welcome any little bit they're not seen before, as here where we start to fill in some of the dates in our cyber collection.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Mechanics of English

Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Whirled of Kelly takes pride in offering to fans of Walt Kelly a rarity of his early work.

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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cartooning Treat

We have a treat for fans and students of Walt Kelly and for fans and students of cartooning in general.

Produced for the War Department, we have some rare early Kelly material— book illustrations that demonstrate the educational use of cartoons.

Coming up next.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Certain Resolve

Well, we're now finally past that '45 years ago today' conceit that I was running. If'n I hadn't posted all that Pandemonia stuff a couple years ago, I coulda kept on doing that into 1966. But all that year is blogged and is history. So from here on, we'll be jumping around to various years.

This is about the time that 'ecology' was being taken seriously. And Kelly sure got a lot of mileage from that Christmas carol over the years.