Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kandi the Cave Kid

Wow, we're really whirling up some esoteric Kelly material here on the Whirled of Kelly, thanks to several of our friends-in-Kelly. OtherEric of the Digital Comic Museum has come through once again with one of Kelly's early comic book stories.

Here's OtherEric to tell us about it:

When Dell Comics started the Looney Tunes comic book in 1941, they had a surprisingly small number of characters to actually work with; a problem that would affect them throughout the 20+ year run. Bugs Bunny had made his official debut only a year before, and mainstays such as the Road Runner would not debut for years yet. So to fill out the pages, they did a couple of different things. They either took minor characters such as Sniffles and Little Pancho Vanilla and gave them their own feature, or they went right ahead and created new characters and stuck them in as filler. The two most notable of these new features were Kandi the Cave Kid and Pat Patsy & Pete, since Walt Kelly worked on both of them.

Pat Patsy & Pete was not originally by Kelly, although he came in to do the last half-dozen stories; and they are delightful in their own way. But Kandi was apparently an original creation of Kelly's; possibly even his first for comics. Looney Tunes #3 showed up in December 1941, nearly a year before Pogo's debut in Animal Comics #1. In some ways it's a precursor to Kelly's Pandemonia; the early Pandemonia story in Animal Comics almost reads like a leftover idea from Kandi, although that story shows a clearly more experienced Kelly at work both in script and art.

As far as I can tell, there were only six Kandi stories — Overstreet says the character appeared in Looney Tunes 3-6, 8, 11, and 15, but I can verify that he wasn't actually in #6. If anybody has seen any of the other early issues, please let us know if he turns up. I hope that 7th story exists, even if the Guide got the issue wrong! I believe only the story from #5 has been seen on the web before now, courtesy of Pappy: click here.

And now we're pleased to show you the story from #8. Enjoy this look at some of Kelly's earliest comic book work.

Walt Kelly — Looney Tunes #8 — ca 1942

1 comment:

  1. very nice--not too many humans in later stories-nice to see how he handles them-charlie