The first volume of the second-most requested strip collection reprint in Fantagraphics’ history.
Walt Kelly started his career at age 13 in Connecticut as a cartoonist and reporter for the Bridgeport Post. In 1935, he moved to Los Angeles and joined the Walt Disney Studio, where he worked on classic animated films, including Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Fantasia. Rather than take sides in a bitter labor strike, he moved back east in 1941 and began drawing comic books.
It was during this time that Kelly created Pogo Possum. The character first appeared in Animal Comics as a secondary player in the “Albert the Alligator” feature. It didn’t take long until Pogo became the comic’s leading character. After WWII, Kelly became artistic director at the New York Star, where he turned Pogo into a daily strip. By late 1949, Pogo appeared in hundreds of newspapers. Until his death in 1973, Kelly produced a feature that has become widely cherished among casual readers and aficionados alike.
Kelly blended nonsense language, poetry, and political and social satire to make Pogo an essential contribution to American “intellectual” comics. As the strip progressed, it became a hilarious platform for Kelly’s scathing political views in which he skewered national bogeymen like J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon. Walt Kelly started when newspaper strips shied away from politics — Pogo was ahead of its time and ahead of later strips (such as Doonesbury and The Boondocks) that tackled political issues. Our first (of 12) volume reprints approximately the first two years of Pogo — dailies and (for the first time) full-color Sundays.
This first volume also introduces such enduring supporting characters as Porkypine, Churchy LaFemme, Beauregard Bugleboy, Seminole Sam, Howland Owl, and many others. And for Christmas, 1949, Kelly started his tradition of regaling his readers with his infamously and gloriously mangled Christmas carols.
Special features in this sumptuous premiere volume, which is produced with the full cooperation of Kelly’s heirs, include a biographical introduction by Kelly biographer Steve Thompson, an extensive section by comics historian R. C. Harvey explaining some of the more obscure current references of the time, a foreword by legendary columnist Jimmy Breslin, and more.
About Walt Kelly
Walt Kelly is the creator of the legendary Pogo comic strip. He was born in 1913 and passed away in 1973.
“…[An] essential purchase for any collection that values comic-strip reprints is finally available. …[T]he inventive wordplay, idiosyncratic swamp patter, and goofy slapstick are all in full effect right from the start, as is the broad cast of loony critters… Due to run 12 volumes, this collection completes the holy trifecta, along with Charles Schulz’ Peanuts and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, of comic strips whose influence cannot be overstated.” (Ian Chipman - Booklist )
“Walt Kelly’s wit and charm is unmatched in the history of sequential storytelling, and is in evidence here fully developed. I’d get this book for Jimmy Breslin’s introduction alone. Go. Read this. You’ll charm the pants off of yourself.” (Mike Gold - ComicMix )
“Walt Kelly’s Pogo… is justifiably hailed as one of the great achievements of the postwar comic strip…. This wonderful first volume of a projected 12-volume series contains the strip’s first two official years… I salute this launch… [Rating] 9/10” (Michael Barrett - PopMatters )
“Pogo Through the Wild Blue Wonder: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Volume 1” by Walt Kelly
The Washington Post Book Review – January 13, 2012 (Excerpt)
For years devotees of Walt Kelly’s immortal “Pogo” comic strip have been pleading for a complete and definitive collection. Here at last is the first of a promised dozen volumes, each to cover about two years of the strip’s run from 1948 until Kelly’s death in 1973. To say that it has been worth the wait is wild understatement. “Pogo Through the Wild Blue Wonder” is beautifully produced — no surprise to anyone familiar with the
work of Fantagraphics Books in Seattle — and a joy to read. It comes as a genuine gift to anyone who loved “Pogo” and, it is to be hoped, as an introduction for younger readers to what many people believe was the best comic strip ever drawn in this country.
Pogo himself is a gentle possum, living in the Okefenokee Swamp with, among many others, his friends Albert the Alligator, Beauregard Bugleboy (a dog), Churchy LaFemme (a turtle) and Howland Owl. Their antics occupy a territory that often borders on the surreal, as they recite brilliant nonsense verses and get themselves into the most improbable fixes imaginable. [Read the full article...]
BOILED PEANUTS A Novel by John Patrick Doyle
A Peeping Tom Goes Nuts Over A Blind Girl
Paul Kirk is a librarian and one of his town’s quirkier residents. In a childhood home lacking parents (his mother dying of MS and his father an alcoholic) Paul had imagined himself a member of the neighboring family. Now in his late twenties, Paul vicariously participates in the households of his community. His peeping-Tom proclivities express his awkward need for social bonding. [Read more...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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