September 4th, 2015

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Comic Strips: Walt Kelly’s Pogo

Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose

FONTANELLI ON KELLY

Walt KellyWalt KellyOne of the great heavy-hitters in the entire history of cartooning, 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 Snow White, Fantasia, Dumbo and The Reluctant Dragon. As good as Kelly’s animation was, (had he stayed on, we’d all doubtless be reading about Disney’s TEN "Old Men") his greatest achievements still lay ahead.

After leaving Disney, Kelly worked for Dell Comics. Here is a story he did for a 1946 Raggedy Ann & Andy comic book (the cover is from a 1948 issue)…

Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose
Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose

During his stints at Dell and the New York Star, Kelly introduced his most memorable creation to the world- in the unassuming form of a philosophical, swamp-dwelling possum named Pogo. The true heir of Herriman’s Krazy Kat and Uncle Remus, Pogo was an American comic strip masterpiece. A flawless blend of slapstick, parody, allegory, political commentary, intellectual whimsy, social satire and Irish poetry- Pogo can be read on several levels at once, and it set a new standard of excellence in newspaper humor strips that has never been equaled.

Kelly has been compared to everyone from James Joyce to Lewis Carroll to T.S. Sullivant. He was named "Cartoonist of the Year" in 1952, and was elected president of the National Cartoonists Society two years later. He was the first strip cartoonist to be invited to contribute originals to the Library of Congress, and published some three dozen books during his lifetime- classics, all.

Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose

It’s impossible for Gen X-ers weaned on modern tripe like Dilbert and Drabble to imagine the incredible graphic brilliance within the panels of Pogo. I remember literally getting lost in a Kelly Sunday page as a child, staring at the inspirational artwork for hours on end.

More than any other influence, I owe my choice of profession to the master, Walt Kelly. Here’s some cool stuff from my collection. Enjoy!

Mike Fontanelli
Los Angeles, 2007

MIKE’S ORIGINAL KELLY SUNDAY PAGES

Make sure you click on these… They’re amazing!

Walt Kelly Pogo

Walt Kelly Pogo

Walt Kelly Pogo

ARCHIVAL POGO

Thanks, Mike for allowing us to digitize your original Pogo Sunday pages. For those of you out there who still don’t understand how our archive works, what you see here on this blog is just a small representation of what our archive contains. For instance, we scanned Mike’s Pogo inks at 1200 dots per inch- much larger than you see here on the blog. Each one of the Sunday pages comes out at a filesize of 1.7 gigs. For a sample of how detailed our scans are, click on the image below and compare it to the last panel of the last Sunday page…

Walt Kelly Pogo

You can see the grain in the paper! We scan every image in our collection at this resolution.


Fantagraphics has just embarked on publishing a complete set of Kelly’s “Pogo” dailies and Sunday pages. The first volume is out now and every cartoonist should have a copy in their library. Check it out!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Newspaper ComicsNewspaper Comics
This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Newspaper Comics.

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Posted by admin @ 1:37 pm

September 3rd, 2015

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Pinups: Eldon Dedini’s Satyrs and Nymphs

Eldon Dedini

You can’t beat Christmas in the country.

Eldon Dedini started out as a staff cartoonist at Esquire in 1942, before coming to Hollywood to work in animation. He was a storyboard artist at Universal for a few years in the mid-1940s, and joined Disney as a story artist on "Mickey & the Beanstalk", "Ichabod and Mr Toad" and several Donald Duck shorts. He continued to do cartoons for Esquire during this period, and moved to the New Yorker in 1950. He began contributing cartoons to Playboy in 1960, joining Phil Interlandi, Jack Cole, Doug Sneyd and Erich Sokol. Dedini passed away at his home in Carmel, CA in December of 2007.

Animation Resources supporter, Ken Kearney lives close to the Monterey area, where Dedini lived and worked for many years. In 2005, he produced an interview video, which he generously donated to archive database. Here is a clip from Ken’s video where Dedini tells how he got started as a cartoonist and his experiences as a story man with Disney on Fun & Fancy Free and Donald Duck cartoons like Dumbell of the Yukon.

Eldon Dedini Interview

Eldon Dedini Interview (Ken Kearney/2005)
(Quicktime 7 / 14.2 megs)

View the whole interview in five parts at YouTube

DEDINI IN PLAYBOY

Here is a feature on Dedini’s famous "Satyr & Nymph" comics from Playboy, followed by some higher resolution images of individual cartoons…

Eldon Dedini
Eldon Dedini
Eldon Dedini
Eldon Dedini

Eldon Dedini

We forgot the picnic basket!

Eldon Dedini

I’d like you to meet my father, but I don’t dare.
You know how even old satyrs are!

Eldon Dedini

It’s not that I didn’t believe in Santa Claus-
It’s just that you’ve shattered my image somehow…

Eldon Dedini Playboy Cartoon

Eldon Dedini Playboy Cartoon

Eldon Dedini Playboy Cartoon

Eldon Dedini Playboy Cartoon

Eldon Dedini

Shouldn’t we be putting nuts away for the winter or something?

Eldon Dedini

I hope nothing has happened to those two satyrs
who always surprise us at our bath.

Eldon Dedini

It’s become traditional. During the holidays
the country cousin visits the city cousin.

Eldon Dedini

Look at it this way- your medium is your message!

More great Dedini!

Eldon Dedini
You know, I think I’m actually learning
quite a lot at my Mother’s Knee, Mom.

Eldon Dedini
Well, I’ve always looked at it as sort of
stockpiling the American Dream!

Eldon Dedini
Well, I guess it just goes to prove that
not all God’s children got rhythm.

Eldon Dedini
Be sure to notice her dress. It’s a topless.

Eldon Dedini
Hi!

Eldon Dedini
Carl is always so interested in people

Eldon Dedini
Terrific, eh? Each year we rent the old lady and come
out here and have a real underground Christmas.

Eldon Dedini
Wow! This is the most consciousness-expanding
plum pudding I’ve ever eaten!

Eldon Dedini
Don’t you find that some New Years
are harder to bring in than others?

Eldon Dedini
Young man, you should be asleep!

If you’re a fan of Dedini, you will want to get Fantagraphic’s great book, An Orgy Of Eldon Dedini. It comes with a DVD documentary called "Dedini: A Life In Cartoons" Check it out!

I’m not sure if Ken is offering these for sale, but if you would like to inquire about ordering a DVD of Ken Kearney’s Dedini interview, email, kenkearneystudios@hotmail.com.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Magazine CartoonsMagazine Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Magazine Cartoons.

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Posted by admin @ 2:03 pm

September 2nd, 2015

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Story: The Greatest Cartoon Writer Of All Time

Warren Foster

The other day, a discussion on cartoon writing erupted in response to recent posts on the subject in John Kricfalusi’s blog. One of John’s main points is that the golden age cartoons that we all regard as the greatest cartoons ever created were written by cartoonists as storyboards, not written in words as scripts. In support of his argument, he presented video clips of Walt Disney and Walter Lantz discussing the qualifications of the people who wrote their cartoons. (See also, Page 5 of the 1938 Disney Training Manual).

typewritertypewriterThe scriptwriters in the comments dismissed John K’s points as old fashioned and irrelevant to the current scene, while expressing respect of a general sort for the classic cartoons of the past. They claimed that it was just a matter of John’s personal tastes, not a reflection on the effectiveness of the process itself. They never seemed to address the fact that prior to 1960 stories for cartoons weren’t created and developed with words in script form- they were drawn. In listening to these arguments by current cartoon scriptwriters, I began to wonder how much they really knew about the process used to make the classic cartoons they expressed respect for. I posed a simple question…

Who was your favorite golden age cartoon writer?

It’s a fair question- one that I’ve heard animators discuss and argue about on many occasions. Surely current cartoon writers would have golden age writer heros, just like animators study golden age animators like Milt Kahl or Grim Natwick

Disney Story Dept

Disney story man, Joe Rinaldi

But none of the scriptwriters participating in the discussion could name a single golden age cartoon writer. The only names they could mention were other current scriptwriters, or novelists, journalists and live action screenwriters who worked in totally different media. They had no idea who pioneered their profession and the process these people used to create cartoons for nearly half a century. To be fair, this sort of ignorance of the history of our craft isn’t just limited to writers. I’ve heard the same sort of admissions of ignorance from producers and directors, as well as artists and animators.

Here is an example of a story by my favorite golden age story man… Warren Foster.

Warren FosterWarren Foster Warren Foster is responsible for writing many of the greatest cartoons ever made… He started as a gag man on Fleischer’s Popeye series in New York, and moved West in 1938 to join Bob Clampett at Warner Bros. He wrote a string of classic cartoons… "Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs", "Birdy And The Beast", "Falling Hare", "Baby Bottleneck", "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", and perhaps Bugs Bunny’s most shaded performance, "Tortoise Wins By A Hare".

After Clampett’s departure from the studio, he wrote for McKimson ("Gorilla My Dreams", "Easter Yeggs", "The Foghorn Legorn") and Freleng ("Ballot Box Bunny", "Bugs And Thugs", "Birds Anonymous"). Freleng said that Foster was the best story man he ever worked with. In the TV era, Foster wrote episodes of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

Here is a storyboard by Foster from his days at Hanna-Barbera. This is a model of clarity and simplicity, designed to meet the stringent economics imposed on TV animation at the time. This is a board from the pilot episode of The Yogi Bear Show.

Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster
Warren Foster

WHAT ABOUT ADVENTURE SHOWS
AND COMIC STRIPS?

In his article, "Detour Guide For An Armchair Marco Polo", master comic strip storyteller, Milton Caniff writes…

There has been a tendency recently for artists to automatically assume they cannot write their own stories because they see so many double by-lines. I contend that any man who can invent pictures can invent situations and dialogue. In fact, it should be easier for the artist to pilot his own action because he is not likely to write himself into one of those undrawable dilemmas in manuscripts about which illustrators have complained for years. –Milton Caniff

Sound familiar?

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Animated CartoonsAnimated Cartoons

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Animation.

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