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Pogo
WaltKelly Pogo 1964-03-08 96.jpg
Author(s) Walt Kelly
Current status / schedule Concluded
Launch date October 4, 1948 (as a newspaper strip)
End date July 20, 1975
Syndicate(s) Post-Hall Syndicate
Publisher(s) Simon & Schuster, Fantagraphics, Gregg Press, Eclipse Comics, Spring Hollow Books
Genre(s) Humor, Satire, Politics

Pogo is the title and central character of a long-running (1948-1975) daily comic strip created by Walt Kelly and distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp of the southeastern United States, the strip often engages in social and political satire through the adventures of its anthropomorphic funny animal characters.

Pogo combined both sophisticated wit and slapstick physical comedy in a heady mix of allegory, Irish poetry, literary whimsy, puns and wordplay, lushly detailed artwork, irresistible characters and broad burlesque humor. The same series of strips can be enjoyed on different levels both by young children and by savvy adults. The strip earned Kelly a Reuben Award in 1951.

Contents

History

Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. was born in Philadelphia on August 25, 1913, although his family relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut during his second year.

Migrating to California to work on Donald Duck cartoons at Walt Disney Studios in 1935, he stayed until the strike in 1941, long enough to animate on Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon. After leaving Disney, Kelly worked for Dell Comics.

The characters of Pogo the possum and Albert the alligator were created by Kelly in 1941 for issue #1 of Dell's Animal Comics, in a story titled "Albert Takes the Cake."[1] Both were introduced as comic foils for a young black boy character named Bumbazine (a corruption of bombazine, a fabric that was usually dyed black and used largely for mourning wear), who also lived in the swamp. Bumbazine was retired at an early date, however, because Kelly found it hard to write for the human child. He eventually phased Bumbazine out entirely, preferring to use the animals to their full comic potential.

Kelly said he used animals — "nature's screechers," as he called them — "largely because you can do more with animals. They don't hurt as easily, and it's possible to make them more believable in an exaggerated pose." Pogo quickly took center stage, assuming the straight man role that Bumbazine had occupied.

In 1948, Kelly was hired to draw political cartoons for the short-lived New York Star newspaper, and decided to do a daily comic strip featuring the characters he had created for Animal Comics. The first comic book series to make the permanent transition to newspapers, Pogo debuted on October 4, 1948 and ran continuously until the paper folded on January 28, 1949. On May 16 of that year, the strip was picked up for national distribution by Post-Hall Syndicate. George Ward and Henry Shikuma were among Kelly's assistants on the strip. It ran continuously until (and past) Kelly's death from complications of diabetes on October 18, 1973. It was then continued for a few years by Kelly's wife, Selby, and son Stephen before ceasing publication July 20, 1975. Selby said in a 1982 interview that she decided to discontinue the strip because newspapers had shrunk the size of strips to the point where people could not easily read it.[2]

In 1989, the Los Angeles Times revived the strip under the title Walt Kelly's Pogo, written at first by Larry Doyle and Neal Sternecky, then by Sternecky alone. After Sternecky quit in March 1992, Kelly's son Peter and daughter Carolyn continued to produce the strip, but interest waned and the revived strip was dropped from syndication after only a few years.

Setting

Pogo is set in the Georgia section of the Okefenokee Swamp; Waycross and Fort Mudge are occasionally mentioned.

The characters live, for the most part, in hollow trees amidst lushly-rendered backdrops of North American wetlands, bayous, lagoons and backwoods. Local landmarks - such as "Miggle’s General Store and Emporium" (aka "Miggle's Miracle Mart") and the "Fort Mudge Memorial Dump", etc. - are occasionally featured. The landscape is fluid and vividly detailed, with a dense variety of (often caricatured) flora and fauna. The richly-textured trees and marshlands frequently change from panel to panel within the same strip. Like the Coconino County depicted in Krazy Kat, and the Dogpatch of Li’l Abner, the distinctive cartoon landscape of Kelly’s Okefenokee Swamp became as strongly identified with the strip as any of its characters.

There are occasional forays into exotic locations as well, like Australia (which Pogo characters visit at least twice), and "Pandemonia" - a prehistoric place of Kelly’s imagination, complete with mythical beasts, primitive humans, arks and dinosaurs. Kelly also frequently parodied Mother Goose stories featuring the characters in period costume: “Cinderola", "Goldie Lox and the Fore-bears” and “Handle and Gristle”, etc. These offbeat sequences, usually presented as a staged play or a story-within-a-story related by one of the characters, seem to take place in the fairy tale dreamscapes of children’s literature, with European storybook-style cottages and forests, etc. - rather than in the swamp, per se.

Cast of characters

Kelly's characters are a sardonic reflection of human nature—venal, greedy, confrontational, selfish and stupid—but portrayed good-naturedly and rendered harmless by their own bumbling ineptitude. Most characters were nominally male, but a few female characters also appeared regularly. Kelly has been quoted as saying that all the characters reflected different aspects of his own personality. Kelly's characters were also self-aware of their comic strip surroundings. He frequently had them leaning up against or striking matches on the panel borders, breaking the fourth wall, or making tongue-in-cheek, "inside" comments about the nature of comic strips in general.

It's difficult to compile a definitive list of every character that appeared in Pogo over the strip's 27 years, but the best estimates put the total cast at well over 1,000. Kelly would create characters as he needed them, and discard them when they ceased to be funny, or had served their purpose. Even though most characters have full names, some are more often referred to only by their species. For example, Howland Owl is almost always called "Owl" or "ol' Owl"; Beauregard is often called "Houn' Dog"; Churchy LaFemme is sometimes called "Turtle" or "Turkle" (see Dialogue and "swamp-speak"), etc. The following list makes no attempt to be complete, but should serve as a rough beginner's guide.

Permanent residents

  • Pogo Possum: a friendly, personable, philosophical everyman opossum. The wisest (and probably sanest) resident of the swamp, he is one of the few major characters with sense enough to avoid trouble. Though he prefers to spend his time fishing or picnicking, his kind nature often gets him reluctantly entangled in his neighbors' escapades. He is often the unwitting target of matchmaking by Miz Beaver (to Mam'selle Hepzibah). He has also been forced to run for president, against his will, multiple times by the swamp's residents. He wears a simple red and black striped shirt and (sometimes) a crushed yellow fishing hat. His kitchen is well-known around the swamp for being fully stocked, and many characters impose upon him for meals, taking advantage of his generous nature. His full name is: Ponce de Leon Montgomery County Alabama Georgia Beauregard Possum.
  • Albert Alligator: exuberant, dimwitted, irascible and egotistical, Albert is often the comic foil for Pogo, the rival of Beauregard and Barnstable, or the fall guy for Howland and Churchy. The cigar-chomping Albert is as extroverted and garrulous as Pogo is modest and unassuming, and their many sequences together tend to underscore their balanced, contrasting chemistry, like a seasoned comedy team. Albert's creation actually preceded Pogo's, and his brash, bombastic personality sometimes seems in danger of taking over the strip, as he once dominated the comic books. Having an alligator's voracious appetite, Albert often eats things indiscriminately, and is accused on more than one occasion of having eaten another character. Albert was also troop leader of Camp Siberia, the local den of the "Cheerful Charlies" (Kelly's spoof of the Boy Scouts), whose motto was: "Cheerful to the Death." Even though Albert has been known to take advantage of Pogo's generosity, he is ferociously loyal to Pogo and will, in quieter moments, be found scrubbing him in the tub or cutting his hair. Like all Kelly's characters, Albert looked great in costume. This usually led to a classic Albert line (while admiring himself in a mirror): "Funny how a good-lookin' fella look handsome in anything he throw on!"
  • Howland Owl: the swamp's self-appointed leading authority, a self-proclaimed "expert" scientist, "perfessor", doctor, explorer, witch doctor, and anything else he thinks will generate respect for his knowledge. He wore horn-rimmed eyeglasses and, in his earliest appearances, a pointed wizard's cap festooned with stars and crescent moons (which also, fittingly, looked like a dunce cap in silhouette.) Thinking himself the most learned creature in the swamp, he once tried to open a school but had to close it for lack of interest. Actually he is unable to tell the difference between learning, old wives' tales, and the use of big words. Most of the harebrained ideas characteristically come from the mind of Owl. His best pal is Churchy, although their friendship can be rocky at times - often given to whims and frequently volatile.
  • Churchill "Churchy" LaFemme: a mud turtle by trade; he enjoys composing songs and poems, often with ridiculous and abrasive lyrics and nonsense rhymes. His name is a play on the French phrase Cherchez la femme ("Look for the woman"). Perhaps the least sensible of the major players, Churchy is superstitious to a fault (for example, panicking when he discovers that Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday that month). Churchy is usually an active partner in Howland's outlandish schemes, and prone to (sometimes physical) confrontation with him when they (inevitably) run afoul. Churchy may have once been a buccaneer, because for a time in the early strips he wore a pirate's hat and was sometimes referred to as "Cap'n LaFemme." This seems incongruous for the guileless Churchy, however, who was far more likely to play-act with Owl at being a pantomime pirate than the genuine article.
  • Porky Pine: a porcupine, a misanthrope and cynic; prickly on the outside, but with a heart of gold. The deadpan Porky never smiles in the strip (except once, allegedly, when the lights were out). Pogo's best friend, equally honest, reflective and introverted, and with a keen eye both for goodness and for human foibles. The swamp's version of Eeyore, Porkypine is grumpy and melancholy by nature, and sometimes speaks of his "annual suicide attempt". He wore a tall plaid tuque hat and a perpetual frown, and was rarely seen without both. Porky has two weaknesses: his infatuation for Miz Mam'selle Hepzibah and a complete inability to tell a joke. He unfailingly arrives on Pogo's doorstep with a flower every Christmas morning, although he's always as embarrassed by the sentiment as Pogo is touched. He has a nephew named Tacky and a look-alike cousin named Uncle Baldwin.
  • Beauregard Bugleboy: a hound dog of undetermined breed; scion of the Cat Bait fortune and occasional Keystone Cops-attired constable and Fire Brigade chief. He sees himself as a noble, romantic figure, often given to flights of oratory, narrating his own heroic deeds. He occasionally appears with "blunked out eyes" playing "Sandy" - alongside Pogo or Albert when they don a curly wig, impersonating "Li'l Arf and Nonny" (a recurring parody of Little Orphan Annie). Beauregard also frequently wears a trench coat, fedora, and squints his eyes when impersonating a detective in the style of Dick Tracy. However, his more familiar attire was a simple dog collar - or in later strips, a red and white striped turtleneck sweater and fez. His canine revision of Kelly's annual Christmas burlesque, Deck Us All With Boston Charlie, emerged as "Bark Us All Bow-wows of Folly," [3] although he couldn't get anyone else to sing it that way. Usually just called "Beauregard" or "ol' Houn' Dog", his full name is: Beauregard Chaulmoogra Frontenac de Montmingle Bugleboy, a parody of the blueblood aristocracy of the Old South.
  • Miz Mam'selle Hepzibah: a beautiful, coy French skunk modeled after Kelly's mistress, who would later become his second wife. Hepzibah has long been courted by Porky, Beauregard and others but rarely seems to notice. Sometimes she pines for Pogo, and isn't too shy about it. She speaks with a heavy burlesque French dialect and has a tendency to be overdramatic. She is captivatingly sweet, frequently baking pies or preparing picnic baskets for her many admirers, and has every fellow in the swamp in love with her at one time or another. She is usually attired in a dainty floral skirt and parasol, is flirty but proper, and enjoys attention.
  • Miz Beaver: a no-nonsense, corncob pipe-smoking washerwoman; a traditional mother and "widder" (she occasionally speaks of "the Mister", always in the past tense), clad in a country bonnet and apron. Uneducated but with homespun good sense, she "takes nothin' from nobody", and can be daunting when riled. She is Hepzibah's best friend and occasional matchmaker, although she disapproved of menfolk as a general rule. Her trademark line was: "WHY is all you mens such critturs of dee-ceit?"
  • Deacon Mushrat: a muskrat and the local man of the cloth, the Deacon speaks in blackletter text or Gothic script, and his views are just as modern. He is typically seen haranguing others for their undisciplined ways, attempting to lead the Bats in some wholesome activity (which they inevitably subvert), or reluctantly entangled in the crusades of Mole and his even shadier allies; in either role he is the straight man and often winds up on the receiving end of whatever scheme he is involved in. Kelly described him as the closest thing to an evil character in the strip, calling him "about as far as I can go in showing what I think evil to be."[4]
  • Bewitched, Bothered and Bemildred: a trio of grubby, unshaven bats - hobos, gamblers, good-natured but innocent of any temptation to honesty. They admit nothing. Soon after arriving in the swamp they are recruited by Deacon Mushrat into the "Audible Boy Bird Watchers Society", (a seemingly innocent play on the Audubon Society, but really a front for Mole's covert surveillance syndicate.) They wore identical black derbies and perpetual 5 o'clock shadows. Their names, a play on the song title Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, are rarely mentioned; often even they cannot say for sure which brother is which. They tell each other apart, if at all, by the patterns of their trousers - striped, checkered or plaid. (According to one of the bats, "Whichever pair of trousers you put on in the morning, that's who you are for that particular day.")
  • Barnstable Bear: a simple-minded "grizzle bear" who often plays second-fiddle to many of Albert's plots. He wears a pair of pants held up with a single suspender, and often a checkered cloth cap. Frequently short-tempered (and married to an even shorter-tempered "missus", the formidable Miz Bear), he bellows "Rowrbazzle!" when his anger comes to a boil. Barnstable even tried to start his own rival comic strip once, just to spite Albert, which he entitled "Li'l Orphan Abner" (with a wink to Kelly's pal, fellow cartoonist Al Capp).
  • Mister Miggle: a bespectacled stork or crane, owner / proprietor of the local general store - a frequent swamp hangout. He carried just about every undesirable product imaginable, such as "Salt fish in chocolate sauce" and "Day-old ice, 25¢ per gallon," along with "Aunt Granny's Bitter Brittle Root" - the local favorite beverage (and cure-all for the "cold robbies" and the "whim-whams").
  • Bun Rab: an enthusiastic rabbit with a drum and drum-major hat who often accompanies P. T. Bridgeport and likes to broadcast news in the manner of a town crier. He lives in a grandfather clock, and frequently appears as a fireman in the swamp Fire Brigade, where he serves as official hose carrier.
  • Rackety Coon Chile: one of the swamp "sprats" - a group of youngsters who seem to be the only rational creatures present, other than Pogo and Porky. A talkative, precocious raccoon, he mainly pesters his "uncle" Pogo, along with his pal Alabaster.
  • Alabaster Alligator: not much is known about Alabaster except that he is considerably brighter than his uncle Albert.
  • Grundoon: a diapered baby groundhog (or "woodchunk" in swamp-speak). An infant, Grundoon speaks only gibberish, represented by strings of random consonants like "Bzfgt", "ktpv", "mnpx", "gpss", "twzkd", or "znp." Eventually, Grundoon learns to say two things: "Bye" and "Bye bye." He also has a baby sister, whose full name is "Li'l Honey Bunny Ducky Downy Sweetie Chicken Pie Li'l Everlovin' Jelly Bean".
  • Pup Dog: a "li'l dog chile" who frequently wanders off and gets lost. Being, as Pogo puts it, "'jus' a li'l ol' shirt-tail baby-size dog what don't talk good yet," he says only "Wurf!" and "Wurf wurf!" although for a time he repeats the non sequitur phrase "Poltergeists make up the principal type of spontaneous material manifestation."

Frequent visitors

  • Tammananny Tiger: a political operator, named in allusion to Tammany Hall, which was represented as a tiger in editorial cartoons by Thomas Nast. He typically appeared in election years to offer strategic advice to the reluctant candidate, Pogo. He first appeared as a companion to P. T. Bridgeport, and is one of only a handful of animals not native to North America to frequent the swamp.
  • Molester Mole (a.k.a. Mole MacCarony): a nearsighted and xenophobic grifter. Obsessed with contagion both literal and figurative, he was a prime mover in numerous campaigns against "subversion," and in his first appearances had a paranoid habit of spraying everything and everyone with a disinfectant that may have been liberally laced with tar. Modeled somewhat after Senator Pat McCarran of the McCarran-Walter Act.
  • Seminole Sam: a mercenary, carpetbagging fox and traveling huckster of the snake oil salesman variety. He often attempts to swindle Albert and others, for example by selling bottles of the miracle fluid H2O. Sam wasn't really an out-and-out villain - more of an amoral opportunist, even though he occasionally allies with darker characters such as Mole. Sam's Seminole moniker probably refers, not to any native blood ties, but more likely to his presumed history of selling guns to Indians.
  • Sarcophagus MacAbre: a buzzard and the local mortician; always wearing a tall undertaker's stove-pipe hat with a black veil hung from its side. Early strips showed him speaking in square, black bordered speech balloons with ornate script lettering, in the style of Victorian funeral announcements. MacAbre began as a stock villain, but in later years gradually softened into a comic foil.
  • The Cowbirds: two beatnik freeloaders who speak in communist cant, and grift any food and valuables that cross their path. They associate with a pirate pig who resembles Nikita Khrushchev. Later they loudly renounce their former beliefs, without changing their behavior much. Their seldom-mentioned names are Compeer and Confrere.
  • Wiley Catt: a wild-eyed, menacing, hillbilly bobcat who smokes a corncob pipe, carries a shotgun and frequently hangs out with Sarcophagus MacAbre, Mole and Seminole Sam. The swamp critters were rightly wary of him, and generally gave him a wide path. During the "Red scare" era of the 1950s, he temporarily morphed into his "cousin" Simple J. Malarkey, a parody and caricature of Republican senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy (see Satire and politics).
  • Miss Sis Boombah: a matronly cheerleading Rhode Island Red hen, who is a gym coach and fitness enthusiast - as well as a close friend of Miz Beaver - usually attired in tennis shoes and a pullover. Boombah arrives at the swamp to conduct a survey for "Dr. Whimsy" on "the sectional habits of U.S. mailmen", a neat parody of The Kinsey Reports. She also ran a Feminist organization (with Miz Beaver) called "F.O.O.F" (Female Order Of Freedom), to un-subjugate the swamp womenfolk.
  • Ol' Mouse: an unnamed, long-winded, worldly mouse with a bowler hat, cane and cigar who frequently pals around with a snake, Pup dog, a flea, or Albert. He has a long and storied career as a rogue, in which he takes some pride. Something of a dandy, he sometimes takes the name "F. Olding Munny" - but only when Albert is posing as swami "El Fakir" (a take-off on Daddy Warbucks and his Indian manservant Punjab from Little Orphan Annie).
  • Snavely: a chatty, inebriated snake (he was prone to biting himself, then dipping into a bottle of "snake bite remedy"). Snavely usually wears a battered top hat, and pals around with Ol' Mouse or a group of angleworms that he is training to be cobras or rattlesnakes. In classic cartoon tradition, his intoxicated state was portrayed by a prominent red nose surrounded by tiny, fizzing bubbles.
  • Uncle Baldwin: Porky's doppelgänger and compulsive "kissing cousin"; he wears a trenchcoat to hide his telltale bald backside. Uncle Baldwin usually tries to grab and kiss any female in the panel with him. Most of the females (and more than a few of the male characters) flee from the scene when Uncle Baldwin arrives.
  • Flea: a flea of indeterminate gender. She (?) falls in love with Beauregard, calls him "doll" and "sugar", and frequently gives him love nips on the nose or knee, much to his indignant irritation. (Flea: "Two can live as cheap as one, sugar." Beauregard: "Not on me, they can't!") In The Pogopedia (2001), this character is identified as "ol' Flea".
  • Fremount the Boy Bug: the swamp's dark horse candidate, whose limited vocabulary (all he can say is "Jes' fine") makes him suitable presidential timber, according to P. T. Bridgeport.
  • Bug Daddy and Son: Daddy's indignant tag-line ("Destroy a son's faith in his father, will you?") invariably follows his being corrected by another character for an (inevitable) misunderstanding or erroneous explanation on his part. His boy's name is ever-changing: Hogblemish, Nortleberg, Flimplock, Osbert, Jerome, Merphant, Babnoggle, Custard, Lorenzo, etc... (The Pogopedia identifies these characters as "Bug Daddy" and "Bug Child".)
  • Congersman Frog: an elected official, usually accompanied by his lookalike male secretary, with whose pay he lights his "seegars." He practices disavowing his candidature for the presidency - not very convincingly. His seldom-used first name is Jumphrey, and his secretary/sidekick is occasionally referred to by name: Fenster Moop.
  • Horrors Greeley: a freckled, westward-traveling cow (hence the reference to Horace Greeley) who was sweet on Albert. (To Horrors, "west" being Milwaukee.)
  • Uncle Antler: a disagreeable bullmoose, whom Albert insultingly addresses as "Hatrack".
  • Butch: a brick-throwing housecat. Like Tammananny, Butch was a direct homage to another cartoonist - George Herriman, whose Krazy Kat comic strip was greatly admired by Kelly. Butch felt compelled to hurl bricks at Beauregard, in honor of the traditional animus between dogs and cats. He always deliberately missed, however - and after his initial appearance as an antagonistic rival, proved to be something of a pussycat.
  • Basil MacTabolism: a door-to-door political pollster polecat and self-described "taker of the public pulse."
  • Roogey Batoon: a part-time snake oil salesman pelican who claims to have made the careers of the "Louisiana Perches", (an underwater songstress trio named Flim, Flam and Flo). His name was a play on Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Picayune: a talkative frog that is a "free han' pree-dicter of all kinds weather an' other social events - sun, hail, moonshine or ty-phoonery." (An identical frog known as Moonlight Sonata also appeared on occasion; it's unclear if these were intended to be the same character.)

Dialogue and "swamp-speak"

The strip was notable for its distinctive and whimsical use of language. Kelly, a native Northeasterner, had a sharply perceptive ear for language, and used it to great humorous effect. The predominant vernacular in Pogo, sometimes referred to as "swamp-speak," is essentially a rural Southern U.S. dialect laced with malapropisms, fractured grammar, "creative" spelling and mangled polysyllables such as "incredibobble" and "hysteriwockle," plus invented words such as the exasperated exclamations "Bazz Fazz!", "Rowrbazzle!" and "Moomph!"[5] The resulting dialect is difficult to characterize, but the following fragment of dialogue (excerpted from a 1949 strip reproduced in the collection Pogo, published by Post-Hall Syndicate in 1951) should convey the general flavor:

Setup: Pogo has been engaged in his favorite pastime, fishing in the swamp from a flat-bottomed boat, and has hooked a small catfish. "Ha!" he exclaims, "A small fry!" At this point Hoss-Head the "champeen" catfish, bigger than Pogo himself, rears out of the swamp and the following dialogue ensues:

Hoss-Head: [with fins on hips and an angry scowl] "Chonk back that catfish chile, Pogo, afore I whops you!"
Pogo: "Yassuree, Champeen Hoss-Head! Yassuh yassuh yassuh yassuh yassuh... [tosses baby fish back in water]
Pogo: [walks away, muttering discontentedly] "Things gettin' so humane 'round this swamp, us folks will have to take up eatin' MUD TURKLES!"
Churchy: [a turtle, eavesdropping from behind a tree with Howland Owl] "Horroars! A cannibobble!" [passes out]
Howland: [holding the unconscious Churchy] "You say you gone eat mud turkles! Ol' Churchy is done overcame!"
Pogo: "It was a finger of speech--I apologize! Why, I LOVES yo', Churchy LaFemme!"
Churchy: [suddenly recovered from his swoon] "With pot licker an' black-eye peas, you loves me, sir-- HA! Us is through, Pogo!"

Nonsense verse and song parodies

Kelly was an accomplished poet, and frequently added pages of original comic verse to his Pogo reprint books, complete with charming cartoon illustrations. The odd song parody or nonsense poem would also appear in the newspaper strip on occasion. In 1956, Kelly published Songs of the Pogo, an illustrated collection of his original songs, with lyrics by Kelly and music by Kelly and Norman Monath. The tunes were also issued on a vinyl LP, with Kelly himself contributing to the vocals (see below, Pogo in other media).

Traditional Christmas carols were a regular feature of Kelly's holiday strips as well - particularly Deck the Halls. They were enthusiastically performed by the swamp's rotating "Okefenokee Glee and Perloo Union" choir (perloo is a pilaf-based Cajun stew, similar to jambalaya), although in their childish innocence, the chorus typically mangled the lyrics. (Churchy once sang a version of Good King Wenceslas that went: "Good King Sauerkraut look out / On his feets uneven / Beware the snoo lay 'round about / All kerchoo achievin'...")

Below are all seven (and a half) known variants of Kelly's best-known fractured yuletide carol, "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie":

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!
Don't we know archaic barrel
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!
Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker 'n' too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloupe, 'lope with you!
Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarm bung-a-loo!
Dunk us all in bowls of barley,
Hinky dinky dink an' polly voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!
Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, woof, woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, goof, goof!
Tickle salty boss anchovie,
Wash a wash a wall Anna Kangaroo!
Ducky allus bows to Polly,
Prolly Wally would but har'ly do!
Dock us all a bowsprit, Solly --
Golly, Solly's cold and so's ol' Lou!

Satire and politics

Kelly used Pogo to comment on the human condition, and from time to time, this drifted into politics. Pogo was a reluctant "candidate" for President (although he never campaigned) in 1952, 1956 and 1960. Kelly, who claimed to be against "the extreme Right, the extreme Left, and the extreme Middle", used these fake campaigns as excuses to hit the stump himself for voter registration campaigns, with the slogan "Pogo says: If you can't vote my way, vote anyway, but VOTE!"

Simple J. Malarkey

Perhaps the most famous example of the strip's satirical edge came into being on May 1, 1953, when Kelly introduced a friend of Mole's: a wildcat named "Simple J. Malarkey", an obvious caricature of Senator Joseph McCarthy. This showed significant courage on Kelly's part, considering the influence the politician wielded at the time and the possibility of scaring away subscribing newspapers.[6]

When The Providence Bulletin issued an ultimatum in 1954, threatening to drop the strip if Malarkey's face appeared in the strip again, Kelly had Malarkey throw a bag over his head as Miss "Sis" Boombah (a Rhode Island Red hen) approached, saying "no one from Providence should see me!" Kelly thought Malarkey's new look was especially appropriate because the bag over his head resembled a Klansman's hood.[7] (Kelly would later attack the Klan directly, in a comic nightmare parable called "The Kluck Klams", included in The Pogo Poop Book, 1966).

Malarkey appeared in the strip only once after that sequence ended, on October 15, 1955. Again his face was covered, this time by his speech bubbles as he stood on a soapbox shouting to general disinterest. Kelly had planned to defy the threats made by the Bulletin and show Malarkey's face, but decided it would be more fun to see how many people recognized the character (and the man he lampooned) by speech patterns alone. When Kelly got letters of complaint about kicking McCarthy when he was down, he responded, "They identified him, I didn't."[8]

The Jack Acid Society

In the early 1960s, Kelly took on the then-powerful ultra-conservative John Birch Society with a series of strips dedicated to Mole and Deacon's efforts to weed out Anti-Americanism (as they saw it) in the swamp, which led them to form "The Jack Acid Society." ("Named after Mr. Acid?" "Well, it wasn't named before him.") The reference is to John Birch, who was killed 13 years before the creation (in 1958) of the organization that bears his name. The Jack Acids (the name is an obvious pun on "jackasses") modeled themselves on the only real Americans: Indians. Everyone the Jack Acids suspected of not being a true American was put on their blacklist, until eventually everyone but Mole himself was blacklisted. One of the longest-running storylines in the strip's history, the strips were collected by themselves (with some original verse and text pieces) in The Jack Acid Society Black Book, the only Pogo collection not to include the main character's name in the title[9] and one of only two books (the other being Pogo: Prisoner Of Love) to comprise a single storyline.

Later politics

As the 1960s loomed, even foreign "gummint" figures found themselves caricatured in the pages of Pogo, including communist leaders Fidel Castro, who appeared as an agitator goat named "Fido", and Nikita Kruschev, who emerged as both a Russian bear and a pig. An obtuse feline reporter from "Newslife" magazine named "Typo", who resembled both Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, arrived on the scene in 1966. By the time the 1968 presidential campaign rolled around, it seemed the entire swamp was populated by P.T. Bridgeport's "wind-up candidates", including representations of George Romney, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George Wallace, and Robert F. Kennedy as wind-up toys. One of the cleverest may have been his portrayal of Eugene McCarthy as a white knight tied backwards on his horse, spouting poetry. Retiring President Lyndon B. Johnson was portrayed as a befuddled long-horned steer; earlier, he had been portrayed as a centaur named "The Loan Arranger" in the offbeat Pandemonia sequences. When the material from this period was collected in Equal Time For Pogo, the publisher wanted to edit out the strips featuring the late Robert Kennedy's doppelgänger, but Kelly insisted on keeping them in, to pay honor to the slain candidate.

In the early 1970s, Kelly used a collection of characters called the Bulldogs to mock the secrecy and paranoia of the Nixon administration. The Bulldogs included caricatures of J. Edgar Hoover, Spiro Agnew (memorably portrayed as an unnamed hyena, festooned in ornate military regalia), and John Mitchell, portrayed as an eaglet.[10] Always referred to but never seen was "The Chief", who we are led to believe was Nixon himself. (Nixon eventually made his appearance - as a reclusive, teapot-shaped spider named "Sam".)

J. Edgar Hoover apparently read more into the strip than was there. According to documents obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, Hoover had suspected Kelly of sending some form of coded messages via the nonsense poetry and Southern accents he peppered the strip with. He reportedly went so far as having government cryptographers attempt to "decipher" the strip.

When the strip was revived in 1989, Doyle and Sternecky attempted to recreate this tradition with a GOP Elephant that looked like Ronald Reagan, and a jackalope resembling George H. W. Bush. Saddam Hussein was portrayed as a snake, and then Vice-President Dan Quayle was depicted as an egg, which eventually hatched into a roadrunner-type chick that made the sound "Veep!" "Veep!"

Backlash, censorship and "bunny strips"

Kelly's use of satire and politics often drew fire from those he was criticizing and their supporters. Due to complaints, a number of papers censored or dropped the strip altogether, while others moved it to the editorial page.

When he started a controversial storyline, Kelly would usually create alternate daily strips that papers could opt to run instead of the political ones for a given week. They are sometimes labeled "Special," or with a letter after the date, to denote that they were alternate offerings. Kelly referred to these strips as "bunny strips," because more often than not he would populate the alternate strips with the least offensive material he could imagine - fluffy little bunnies telling stupid jokes. (Nevertheless, many of the bunny strips are subtle reworkings of the theme of the replaced strip.) As if to drive home Kelly's point, some papers published both versions. Kelly would tell fans that if all they saw in Pogo were fluffy little bunnies, then their newspaper didn't believe they were capable of thinking for themselves, or didn't want them to think for themselves. The bunny strips were usually not reproduced when Pogo strips were collected into book form. However, a few alternate strips were reprinted in Equal Time For Pogo, and the 1982 collection The Best of Pogo.

"We have met the enemy..."

Pogo daily strip from Earth Day, 1971.

Probably the most famous Pogo quotation is "We have met the enemy and he is us." Perhaps more than any other words written by Kelly, it perfectly sums up his attitude towards the foibles of mankind and the nature of the human condition.

The quote was a parody of a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, stating "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." It first appeared in a lengthier form in A Word To The Fore, the foreword of the book The Pogo Papers, first published in 1953. Since the strips reprinted in Papers included the first appearances of Mole and Simple J. Malarkey, beginning Kelly's attacks on McCarthyism, Kelly used the foreword to defend his actions:

Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.

Forward!

—Walt Kelly, June 1953

The finalized version of the quotation appeared in a 1970 anti-pollution poster for Earth Day, and was repeated a year later in the strip reprinted here. The slogan also served as the title for the last Pogo collection released before Kelly's death in 1973, and of an environmentally-themed animated short on which Kelly had started work, but which ill health prevented him from finishing.

In the 1972 film The War Between Men and Women, Dr. Joyce Brothers misattributes the line to Charlie Brown of Peanuts.

In 1998, OGPI ("Okefenokee, Glee, and Perloo, Incorporated," the corporation formed by the Kelly family to administer all things Pogo) dedicated a plaque in Waycross, Georgia, commemorating the quote.

Perhaps the second best-known Walt Kelly quotation is another one of Pogo's philosophical observations: "Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent." Kelly's widow Selby re-used the line as a tribute, in a poignant daily strip which ran on Christmas day, 1973 - two months after Kelly's death.

Personal references

Walt Kelly frequently had his characters poling around the swamp in a flat-bottomed skiff. Invariably, it would have a name on the side reflecting some personal reference of Kelly's: the name of a friend or political figure, the name of a newspaper, or almost anything else. The name changed from one day to the next, and even from panel to panel within the same day's strip, but was always a tribute to some obscure real-life person whom Kelly wished to salute in print.

Awards and recognition

Long before I could grasp the satirical significance of his stuff, I was enchanted by Kelly's magnificent artwork... We'll never see anything like Pogo again in the funnies, I'm afraid.

Jeff MacNelly, from Pogo Even Better, 1984

A good many of us used hoopla and hype to sell our wares, but Kelly didn't need that. It seemed he simply emerged, was there, and was recognized for what he was, a true natural genius of comic art... HELL, he could draw a tree that would send God and Joyce Kilmer back to the drawing board.

Mort Walker, from Outrageously Pogo, 1985

The creator and series have received a great deal of recognition over the years. Walt Kelly has been compared to everyone from James Joyce and Lewis Carroll, to Aesop and Uncle Remus. He was elected president of the National Cartoonists Society in 1954, serving until 1956, and was also the first strip cartoonist to be invited to contribute originals to the Library of Congress.

In his essay "The Decline of the Comics" (Canadian Forum, January 1954), literary critic Hugh MacLean classified American comic strips into four types: daily gag, adventure, soap opera and "an almost lost comic ideal: the disinterested comment on life's pattern and meaning”. In the fourth type, according to MacLean, there were only two: Pogo and Li'l Abner.

  • Kelly received the NCS Reuben Award for "Cartoonist of the Year" in 1951.
  • The prestigious Silver T-Square is awarded, by unanimous vote of the NCS Board of Directors, to persons who have demonstrated outstanding dedication or service to the Society or the profession; Kelly received one in 1972.
  • The Comic-Con International Inkpot Award was given to Kelly posthumously in 1989.
  • Kelly is one of only 31 artists elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Cartoon Museum (formerly the International Museum of Cartoon Art).
  • Kelly was also inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • The Fantagraphics Pogo collections were a top vote-getter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Album for 1998.

Influence and legacy

Walt Kelly's work has influenced a number of prominent comic artists:

  • From 1951 to 1954, Famous Studios animator Irv Spector drew the syndicated Coogy strip, which was heavily influenced by Kelly's work, for the New York Herald-Tribune.
  • In the Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, cartoonist Bill Watterson listed Pogo as one of the three greatest influences on his own acclaimed strip, Calvin and Hobbes. (The two other strips were Peanuts and Krazy Kat. Pogo itself had referenced Krazy Kat during its run, including a series of strips devoted to examining that immortal symbol of the earlier strip: the brick.)
  • Pogo has been cited as an influence by Jeff MacNelly (Shoe), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Bill Holbrook (Kevin and Kell), and Mark O'Hare (Citizen Dog), among others.
  • Writer Alan Moore and artist Shawn McManus made the January 1985 issue (#32) of Saga of the Swamp Thing (titled "Pog") a tribute to Pogo with Kellyesque wordplay and artwork. Moore narrates the efforts of a thinly-disguised group of anthropomorphic cartoon animals to find a peaceful home for themselves; their efforts are foiled by the violent struggle for survival they encounter on Earth. "Pog" memorably describes humanity as "the loneliest animal of all."
  • Jeff Smith acknowledged that the artwork and writing style of his Bone comic book series were strongly influenced by Walt Kelly's style. Smith and Peter Kelly contributed artwork of the cast of Bone shaking hands with Pogo and Albert for the 1998 "Pogofest" celebration. Smith is the designer for the new Fantagraphics reprint series.
  • Jim Henson acknowledged Kelly as a major influence on his sense of humor, and based some early Muppet designs on Kelly drawings. One episode of The Muppet Show's first season included a performance of "Don't Sugar Me" from Songs of the Pogo.
  • René Goscinny was an admirer of Pogo, and many of Walt Kelly's visual devices resurfaced in Astérix: for example, the Goths speak in blackletter and a Roman tax-collector speaks in bureaucratic forms. The mixture of fine political satire and rough slapstick is used to the same effect.
  • Robert Crumb was an admirer of Pogo and there are numerous references in the Fritz the Cat cartoons, such as a sign that reads "Jinx loves Pogo" and a character who seems to be Porky Pine.
  • Harvey Kurtzman parodied Pogo as "Gopo Gossum" for the comic book Mad #23, published by EC Comics in 1955. It was the first of many Mad references to Pogo, most of them drawn by Wally Wood. According to The Best of Pogo (1982), "Walt Kelly was well aware of the Mad parodies, and loved them." Kelly directly acknowledged Wally Wood, and even had Albert spell out his name in Pogo Extra: Election Special (1960).
  • Thacher Hurd may have been influenced by Walt Kelly and Pogo when he wrote Mama Don't Allow; the setting is a Southern swamp, the story features several alligators, and Miles Possum even bears something of a resemblance to Pogo.

Pogo in other media

At its peak, Walt Kelly's possum appeared in nearly 500 newspapers in 14 countries. Pogo's exploits were collected into more than four dozen books, which collectively sold close to 30 million copies, (Source: pogopossum.com). Pogo also branched out from the comic pages into other media, although not quite to the degree of many contemporary comic strips. Some attribute the comparative paucity of licensed material to Kelly's pickiness about the quality of merchandise attached to his characters.

Music and recordings

  • Songs of the Pogo (1956): A vinyl LP collecting 18 of Kelly's verses (most of which had previously appeared in Pogo books) set to music by both Kelly and orchestra leader Norman Monath. While professional singers (including Bob McGrath, later famous as "Bob" on the children's television show Sesame Street) provided most of the vocals on the album, Kelly himself contributed lead vocals on "Go Go Pogo" (for which he also composed the music) and "Lines Upon A Tranquil Brow", as well as a spoken portion for "Man's Best Friend". Mike Stewart, who was later known for singing the theme song of Bat Masterson, sang "Whence that Wince", "Evidence" and "Whither the Starling".
  • A "sampler" from Songs of the Pogo was issued on vinyl 45 at the same time. The three-track record included "Go Go Pogo" and "Lines Upon a Tranquil Brow" sung by Walt Kelly and "Don't Sugar Me" sung by Fia Karin with "orchestra and chorus under the direction of Jimmy Carroll." The recording was issued by Simon and Schuster, Inc. with only ASCAP 100A and B as recording numbers.
  • The Firehouse Five Plus 2 Goes South (1956): LP, with liner notes and back album sleeve illustration by Walt Kelly. (Good Time Jazz)
  • Jingle Bell Jazz, (Columbia LP CS 8693, issued October 17, 1962, reissued as Harmony KH-32529 on September 28, 1973 with one substitution; The Harmony issue was reissued as Columbia Jazz Odyssey Stereo LP PC 36803), a collection of a dozen jazz Christmas songs by different performers, includes "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" recorded on May 4, 1961 by Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross with the Ike Isaacs Trio. The recording features a center sections of Jon Hendricks scatting to the melody with the Kelly lyrics sung as introduction and close.
  • NO! with Pogo and CAN'T! with Pogo (both 1969): 45 rpm records for children, narrated and sung by "P.T. Bridgeport" (Kelly) with The Carillon Singers; each came with a color storybook illustrated by Kelly. (Columbia Book & Record Library/Lancelot Press)
  • The Comics Journal Interview CD (2002): Contains 15-20 minute excerpts with five of the most influential cartoonists in the American comics industry: Charles Schulz, Jack Kirby, Walt Kelly (interviewed by Gil Kane in 1969) and R. Crumb. Hear these cartoonists in their own words, discussing the craft that made them famous. (Fantagraphics)
  • Songs of The Pogo was released on CD in 2004 by Reaction Records (Urbana, Illinois), including previously unreleased material.

Animation and puppetry

Three animated cartoons were created based on Pogo.

  • The first, Pogo's Special Birthday Special [11], was produced by animator Chuck Jones in honor of the Comic Strip's twentieth anniversary in 1969. It starred June Foray as the voice of both Pogo and Miz Mam'selle. The general consensus is that the special, which aired first-run on NBC May 18, 1969, failed to capture the charm of the comic strip and is generally dismissed by fans.[1]
  • Walt and Selby Kelly themselves wrote and animated We Have Met the Enemy, And He Is Us in 1970, largely due to Kelly's dissatisfaction with the Birthday Special. The short, with its anti-pollution message, was animated and colored by hand. While the project went unfinished due to Kelly's ill health, the storyboards for the cartoon helped form the first half of the book of the same title.

Neither the Birthday Special nor I Go Pogo is currently available on home video or DVD. Selby Kelly had been selling specially-packaged DVDs of We Have Met The Enemy... prior to her death, but it is currently unknown whether or not further copies will be available.

Comic books and periodicals

All comic book titles are published by Dell Publishing Company, Racine, WI:

  • Albert the Alligator and Pogo Possum, Dell Four Color issues #105 and 148 (1945–1946)
  • Animal Comics, issues #17, 23, 24, and 25 (1947)
  • Pogo Possum, issues #1-16 (1949–1954)
  • Pogo Parade (1953), a compilation of previously published Dell Pogo stories
  • Pogo Primer for Parents (TV Division), (1961) a public service giveaway published by US HEW
  • The Okefenokee Star (1977–1982), a privately-published fanzine devoted to Walt Kelly and Pogo.

Figurines and collectibles

  • 1952 — "I Go Pogo" tin litho lapel pinback. Approx. 1 inch in diameter, with Pogo's face on a yellow background; issued during the 1952 presidential election.
  • 1954 — Walt Kelly's Pogo Mobile (issued by Simon and Schuster) was a 22-piece hanging mobile, die-cut from heavy cardboard in bright colors. Came unassembled, and included Pogo on a cow jumping over a crescent Swiss cheese moon, with Okefenokee characters sitting on the moon or in a filigreed frame.
  • 1959 — Rare porcelain figurine of a sitting Pogo, with a bird in a nest atop his head; made in Ireland by Wade Ceramics Ltd.
  • 1968 — Set of 30 tin litho pinback buttons, extremely rare. Approx. 1.75 inches in diameter, issued during the 1968 presidential elections; almost impossible to find.
  • 1968 — Set of 10 color character decals, very rare; coincided with the set of election pinbacks
  • 1968 — Poynter Products of Ohio issued a set of six plastic figures (now very rare) with glued-on artificial fur: Pogo, Albert, Beauregard, Churchy, Howland and Hepzibah. The figures displeased Kelly, but are highly sought-after by fans.
  • 1969 — Six vinyl giveaway figures of Pogo, Albert, Beauregard, Churchy, Howland and Porkypine, packaged with Procter & Gamble soap products (Spic and Span, Top Job, etc.) as a tie-in with the Pogo animated TV special. Also known as the Oxydol figures, they are fairly common and easy to find. Walt Kelly was not satisfied with the initial sculpting, and - using plasticine clay - resculpted them himself.[13]
  • 1969 — Six plastic cups with full-color character decals of Pogo, Albert, Beauregard, Churchy, Howland and Porkypine, coincided with the Oxydol figures.
  • 1969 — Pogo Halloween costume, manufactured by Ben Cooper.
  • 1980 — View-Master I Go Pogo set - 3 reels & booklet, GAF
  • 2002 — Dark Horse Comics issued two figures of Pogo and Albert as part of their line of Classic Comic Characters - statues #24 and #25, respectively.

Collections and reprints

The 45 books published by Simon & Schuster

All titles are by Walt Kelly:

  • Pogo (1951)
  • I Go Pogo (1952)
  • Uncle Pogo So-So Stories (1953)
  • The Pogo Papers (1953)
  • The Pogo Stepmother Goose (1954)
  • The Incompleat Pogo (1954)
  • The Pogo Peek-A-Book (1955)
  • Potluck Pogo (1955)
  • The Pogo Sunday Book (1956)
  • The Pogo Party (1956)
  • Songs of the Pogo (1956)
  • Pogo's Sunday Punch (1957)
  • Positively Pogo (1957)
  • The Pogo Sunday Parade (1958)
  • G.O. Fizzickle Pogo (1958)
  • Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo (1959)
  • The Pogo Sunday Brunch (1959)
  • Pogo Extra (Election Special) (1960)
  • Beau Pogo (1960)
  • Gone Pogo (1961)
  • Pogo à la Sundae (1961)
  • Instant Pogo (1962)
  • The Jack Acid Society Black Book (1962)
  • Pogo Puce Stamp Catalog (1963)
  • Deck Us All With Boston Charlie (1963)
  • The Return of Pogo (1965)
  • The Pogo Poop Book (1966)
  • Prehysterical Pogo (in Pandemonia) (1967)
  • Equal Time for Pogo (1968)
  • Pogo: Prisoner of Love (1969)
  • Impollutable Pogo (1970)
  • Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us (1972)
  • Pogo Revisited (1974), a compilation of Instant Pogo, The Jack Acid Society Black Book and The Pogo Poop Book
  • Pogo Re-Runs (1974), a compilation of I Go Pogo, The Pogo Party and Pogo Extra (Election Special)
  • Pogo Romances Recaptured (1975), a compilation of Pogo: Prisoner of Love and The Incompleat Pogo
  • Pogo's Bats and the Belles Free (1976)
  • Pogo's Body Politic (1976)
  • A Pogo Panorama (1977), a compilation of The Pogo Stepmother Goose, The Pogo Peek-A-Book and Uncle Pogo So-So Stories
  • Pogo's Double Sundae (1978), a compilation of The Pogo Sunday Parade and The Pogo Sunday Brunch
  • Pogo's Will Be That Was (1979), a compilation of G.O. Fizzickle Pogo and Positively Pogo
  • The Best of Pogo (1982)
  • Pogo Even Better (1984)
  • Outrageously Pogo (1985)
  • Pluperfect Pogo (1987)
  • Phi Beta Pogo (1989)

Books released by other publishers

  • Pogo For President: Selections from I Go Pogo (Crest Books, 1964)
  • The Pogo Candidature (Sheed, Andrews & McMeel, 1976)
  • The Walt Kelly Collector's Guide by Steve Thompson (Spring Hollow Books, 1988)
  • Complete Pogo Comics: Pogo & Albert (Eclipse Comics, 1989-1990) 4 volumes (reprints of pre-strip comic book stories, unfinished)
  • Pogo Files for Pogophiles (Spring Hollow Books, 1992)
  • Pogo (Fantagraphics Books, 1994-2000) 11 volumes (reprints first 5 and a half years of daily strips)
  • The Pogopedia by Nik Lauer, et al. (Spring Hollow Books, 2001)

The Complete Pogo

In February 2007 it was announced that Fantagraphics Books would begin publication of The Complete Pogo, a 12-volume series collecting the complete chronological run of daily and Sunday strips. The first volume in the series was scheduled to appear in October 2007, but difficulties in obtaining early source material have delayed its release until at least 2010. [14][15][16]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Don Markstein's Toonopedia. "Pogo Possum". http://www.toonopedia.com/pogo.htm. 
  2. ^ Kelly, Walt: "Phi Beta Pogo", p. 206, Simon and Schuster, 1989.
  3. ^ The Straight Dope: Complete Lyrics to "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie"
  4. ^ Kelly, Walt: "Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo", p. 284, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
  5. ^ Georgia State 'Possum
  6. ^ Kelly, Walt: Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo, p. 81, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
  7. ^ Kelly, Walt: Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo, p. 141, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
  8. ^ Kelly, Walt: Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo, p. 152, Simon and Schuster, 1959.
  9. ^ The poetry collection Deck Us All With Boston Charlie also lacks "Pogo" in its title, but is not a collection of strips.
  10. ^ "The Comics on the Couch" by Gerald Clarke, Time Dec. 13, 1971
  11. ^ The Pogo Special Birthday Special at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Pogo for President: ‘I Go Pogo’ at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ Kelly, Walt: "Phi Beta Pogo", p. 212, Simon and Schuster, 1989.
  14. ^ "Fantagraphics announces the complete POGO!". Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog. 2007-02-15. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20070927030617/www.fantagraphics.com/blog/archive/2007_02_01_fantagraphics_archive.html#2583732417830212795. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  15. ^ "New volumes of Pogo reprints delayed". Comic Book Bin. 2008-07-31. http://www.comicbookbin.com/news1248.html. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  16. ^ Kim Thompson (2009-03-20). "Will The Complete Pogo happen in 2009?". The Comics Journal Message Board. http://archives.tcj.com/messboard/viewtopic.php?p=94275#94275. Retrieved 2009-12-9. "POGO has production difficulties due to the really horrible state of the first year's worth of Sundays in all available versions. We're taking our time on it because we want to do it right. It will definitely NOT be out in 2009." 

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