Well now, you learn something new every day… This is from the publisher’s press release: “Walt Kelly’s Pogo, acknowledged as one of the most important and influential comic strips of all time, first appeared not in newspapers but as a feature in the Dell comic book anthology Animal Comics, in its first issue, in 1942. The complex, multi-layered, character rich world of Pogo and the Okefenokee Swamp started in these early stories. Now, fans of Pogo can experience it all from the beginning with Hermes Press’ reprint of the complete Dell Comics Pogo. Volume 1 features all of the Animal Comics Pogo stories together with complete reprints of Pogo’s appearances in Dell’s Four Color comics. With Hermes Press’ complete reprint of the Dell Comics Pogo, admirers of this ground-breaking comic feature can now witness the strip’s evolution, in an archival hardcover, digitally reconstructed to perfection.” Unfortunately you’ll need to wait for October to see Walt Kelly’s Pogo: The Complete Dell Comics, Volume 1 (in hardcover) but you can pre-order it at Barnes & Noble.
The story has long been told of how the production of the 1969 TV special “The Pogo Special Birthday Special”, a collaboration between Pogo creator Walt Kelly and animator Chuck Jones, turned into a “Hollywood ain’t big enough for the both of us!” feud, that ended up with the two not talking to each other. Jones dismissed Kelly as “he thinks that he’s an animator just because he did about 20 seconds of the easiest animation in Dumbo twenty-five years ago.” (Kelly animated the silhouettes of the clowns carousing inside the circus tent.)
Now Amid Amidi reveals that Kelly was so displeased that he decided to create his own animated Pogo half-hour TV special, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us”. But due to the difficulties of producing a half-hour of animation personally while in declining health, Kelly only completed a rough cut of thirteen minutes before he died in 1973.
Amidi has found that thirteen minutes, and presents it on the Cartoon Brew website. It may be unfinished, but it’s pure Kelly, from the drawings of the cartoon funny animals of the Okefenokee Swamp, to their animation, to Kelly performing all of the voices.
Like last month, this month's best item is a big reprint book from Fantagraphics, this time two years of Pogo. Buy it buy it buy it. The Mickey Mouse hardbacks are impressive too.
The diversity of sources continues. This includes some items from Kids Can Press, a Garfield thing from Papercutz, one from Toon Books, and a couple of Dragon Punchers from Top Shelf that I pass over as overjuvie.