Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Eagle has Branded

Daniel tells us that his preordered copy of the loooong awaited 1st volume of the new Pogo reprint series has arrived at his door, but hasn't had time to look at it yet. I haven't had time to order it or to look for it anywhere.

Anyone who has it in their hands and wants to write a review, whether it's a sentence, a paragraph or a page, please write either an email or a comment to me, and I'll print it 'up front' as a post.


  1. The book is heavy and beautiful. I just moved from NY to LA this week, driving across the country. The 'Pogo' collection and Fantagraphics' first volume of Carl Barks "Donald Duck" stories were both very good companions to me during my late nights in lonely hotel rooms. Truth be told, I've focused more on the Duck book, solely because it arrived in the mail earlier and I started on it first.

    The last time Fantagraphics reprinted the 'Pogo' strips in the '90s, they inexplicably whited-out the dates and copyright notices! I'm glad to see these aspects present in this new collection, as they're part of the experience (and Kelly would even occasionally incorporate these elements into the narrative!). I'm also tremendously happy that they elected to use the original publication colors for the Sundays. The editorial explanation sums up perfectly why this was important. It's certainly a trade-off that will annoy some people, because it means using inferior copies rather than original art. But there was no way Fantagraphics could exactly recreate the ambitious color gradation and shading. The purple trees and orange skies are such an iconic and comforting part of reading the Sunday 'Pogo's. I think the only way to do them justice was to go with the original. I speak as one who is too young to have read Kelly's original in the paper. Although I'd seen some colored 'Pogo' here and there, Thomas' blog really opened up the world of Sunday 'Pogo' for me. I wonder if they will use Kelly's hand-colored originals, in the few instances that they exist (i.e., the Christmas Eve 1967 strip Thomas posted a couple of years back).

  2. (cnt'd) For those who are interested, Fantagraphics also made what I feel is the correct choice in their coloring on the Barks book. They've recolored the stories (since the original colors were washed-out, inconsistent, and very frequently misaligned). BUT they have used the original U.S. publications very faithfully as a guide (to the point where Donald's hat is white instead of blue in "Race to the South Seas," as it was in the giveaway comic where it was originally printed). Unlike Kelly and his Sundays, Barks had zero input into the coloring of his stories (he once said that if he asked for a beach to be colored red, he knew it would come back yellow). Still, with Barks gone, I think the most valid choice is to go with the hues the original Dell colorists chose (and a generation of kids grew up on). If Donald's walls were yellow in 1949, I think they should stay that way. The one thing that does annoy me is that Fantagraphics streamlines the nephews' hats into the standard red-blue-and-green colorization in every story. I know for a fact that some of these stories had a yellow-hatted nephew. The randomness of which nephew is wearing what color throughout the years is something that's fun to follow, and I wish Fantagraphics would just let the hats fall where they may.

    Walt Kelly's 'Pogo' and Carl Barks' "Donald Duck" stories were my favorite go-to comics of choice as a kid (growing up in the late '80s and the '90s, oddly enough). I was delighted to see these collections both released on the same day. Having these two durable, beautifully bound books in my hand at once is like a childhood dream come true. They came at the perfect time in my life, in the midst of many changes, to remind me of my earliest storytelling influences.