Archive for the ‘walt kelly’ Category

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Comic Strips: Walt Kelly’s Pogo

Walt Kelly Animals Mother Goose


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


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

Walt Kelly Pogo

Walt Kelly Pogo

Walt Kelly 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
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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Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Biography: Walt Kelly

This posting is a stub. You can contribute to this entry by providing information through the comments link at the bottom of this post. Please organize your information following the main category headers below….


Birth: August 25, 1913 Philadelphia, PA?Death: October 18, 1973, Woodland Hills, CA (Diabetes complications)


Animator, Editorial Cartoonist, Comic Book Cartoonist, Comic Strip?Cartoonist?Creator of POGO for Dell Comics, later the Post-Hall Syndicate?President, National Cartoonists Society 1954-1956

Bio Summary

Parents: Walter Crawford Kelly and Genevieve [MacAnnula] Kelly?Married: Helen DeLacey (divorced)?Stephanie Waggony (widowed)?Margaret Selby Daley?Children: Peter, Carolyn, Stephen

Early Life/Family

Family moved to Bridgeport, CT during Kelly’s second year. Kelly’s?father?was a painter of theatrical scenery. Kelly began his career at age 13?as a?cartoonist and reporter for the local newspaper, the Bridgeport Pos


Warren G. Harding High School?During World War II, Kelly was at the Foreign Language Unit and?illustrated?manuals for the Army.

Career Outline

Walt Disney Studios – 1935 to 1941 (Kelly left the studio rather than?strike)?Western Publishing/Dell Comics ­ 1942 to 1953?New York Star ­ 1948 to 1949?Began POGO for the Post-Hall Syndicate in May, 1949. George Ward and?Henry?Shikuma were among Kelly’s assistants on the strip. After Kelly¹s?death, it?was continued by Selby and Stephen Kelly until 1975.

Comments On Style

Walt Disney Studios – 1935 to 1941 (Kelly left the studio rather than?strike)?Western Publishing/Dell Comics ­ 1942 to 1953?New York Star ­ 1948 to 1949?Began POGO for the Post-Hall Syndicate in May, 1949. George Ward and?Henry?Shikuma were among Kelly’s assistants on the strip. After Kelly¹s?death, it?was continued by Selby and Stephen Kelly until 1975.


T.S. Sullivant, George Herriman, Lewis Carroll, Joel Chandler Harris


Gruff on the exterior – although reportedly personable, highly?energetic and extroverted. Kelly was also extremely proud?of his journalism pedigree, and considered himself a newspaper man as well as?a cartoonist.


Supposedly an L.A. production of SHOW BOAT nearly obsessed him, and led?directly to the Southern setting of POGO.

Milton Caniff’s favorite anecdote about Walt Kelly:?”The one I remember involved Walt and Al Capp?of LI’L ABNER. This was at the RCA?Theater and was a meeting of the Newspaper Comics?Council. At each of their meetings, after the?business session was over, they usually had something?that related to cartooning – visuals, or a panel.?This time it was just Al and Walt, two boys from?Bridgeport, Connecticut, nose to nose and no recording?was made, I’m sad to say…?Walt would say to Al, “Of course, Al, this is really?how you should draw Daisy Mae. I’m only showing you?for your own good.” Then Walt would do a sketch.?Capp, of course, got ticked off by this, as you could?imagine! So he retaliated by doing his version of?Pogo. Unfortunately, the drawings are long gone; no?recording was made. What a shame! Nobody anticipated?there’d be this dueling back and forth between the two?of them. Otherwise we would have set it up to be?recorded…”


Kelly was the first strip cartoonist to be invited to contribute?originals?to the Library of Congress.?Pogo’s famous phrase – “We have met the enemy, and he is us” – is a?take-off?on Commodore Perry’s “We have met the enemy, and he is ours.”?
Random fact: Kelly discontinued the POGO POSSUM comic book after 16?issues?and fell out with Dell in 1953 over publication of the POGO PARADE?anthology. He was angry over the reprinting of his early work, which?embarrassed him. His bogus “1943” drawing of Pogo from TEN?EVER-LOVIN’?BLUE-EYED YEARS was an (unnecessary) attempt to falsify the record and?cover?his tracks.

Politically, Kelly would be more accurately described as a “progressive”?rather than a leftist or a liberal – he was a great supporter of?Eisenhower?over Adlai Stevenson, for example. Conversely, he seemed to tilt to?Truman?over Dewey, and was (famously) an early critic of Senator Joe McCarthy.?He?seemed to skewer both Johnson and Nixon in later years, as well as J.?Edgar?Hoover, George Wallace and Spiro Agnew. Kelly was considered a?sufficient?enough threat that his phone was tapped, and the US Government?corresponded?with a newspaper reporter who claimed that the eccentric jargon Kelly?created was a secret Russian code!?Needless to add, Kelly was an unquestioned supporter of desegregation?and?free speech, and his name was recently discovered on a petition in?support?of Lenny Bruce.??Kelly’s singing voice, a boozy Irish baritone – can be heard on the?SONGS?OF THE POGO album, for which he also supplied the lyrics. Kelly was a?prolific poet, especially in the “Anguish Languish” form (of which?”Deck Us?All With Boston Charlie” is considered one of the prime examples).




NCS Reuben Award (Cartoonist Of The Year) – 1951?NCS Silver T-Square Award (Extraordinary Service) – 1972

Related Links

Bibliographic References

(All Simon & Schuster unless otherwise noted)?POGO (1951)?I GO POGO (1953)?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, POGO ELECTION EXTRA (1960)?BEAU POGO (1960)?GONE POGO (1961)?POGO A LA SUNDAE (1961)?INSTANT POGO (1962)?THE JACK ACID SOCIETY BLACK BOOK (1962)?FIVE BOYHOODS ed. by Martin Levin (1962) Doubleday?POGO PUCE STAMP CATALOG (1963)?DECK US ALL WITH BOSTON CHARLIE (1963)?POGO FOR PRESIDENT (1964) Fawcett Crest Books?THE RETURN OF POGO (1965)?THE POGO POOP BOOK (1966)?PREHYSTERICAL POGO (IN PANDEMONIA) (1967)?EQUAL TIME FOR POGO (1968)?SONGS OF THE POGO (1968)?POGO: PRISONER OF LOVE (1969)?IMPOLLUTABLE POGO (1970)?POGO: WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US (1972)?POGO REVISITED (1974) Previous titles reprinted in one volume?POGO RE-RUNS: SOME REFLECTIONS ON ELECTIONS (1974) Previous titles?reprinted?in one volume?POGO ROMANCES RECAPTURED (1975) Previous titles reprinted in one volume?IMPOLLUTABLE POGO (1976)?POGO’S BATS AND THE BELLES FREE (1976)?POGO’S BODY POLITIC (1976)?A POGO PANORAMA (1977) Previous titles reprinted in one volume?POGO¹S DOUBLE SUNDAE (1978) Previous titles reprinted in one volume?POGO’S WILL BE THAT WAS (1979) Previous titles reprinted in one volume?THE BEST OF POGO (1982)?POGO EVEN BETTER (1984)?OUTRAGEOUSLY POGO (1985)?PLUPERFECT POGO (1987)?THE WALT KELLY COLLECTOR’S GUIDE (1988) Spring Hollow Books?PHI BETA POGO (1989)?POGO AND ALBERT: THE COMPLETE POGO COMICS (1990) 4 Volumes ­ Eclipse?Books?POGO FILES FOR POGOPHILES (1992) Spring Hollow Books?POGO BY WALT KELLY (1992-2000) 11 Volumes ­ Fantagraphics?AMERICA’S GREAT COMIC STRIP ARTISTS by Richard Marschall (1997)?Abbeville?THE POGOPEDIA by Nik Lauer, et al. (2001) Spring Hollow Books?WALT KELLY’S OUR GANG (2006) 4 Volumes – Fantagraphics?POGO: THE COMPLETE DAILY & SUNDAY COMIC STRIPS (2009)


Contributors To This Listing

Mike Fontanell
i?Joe Suggs

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below…

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