Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips: "Through the Wild Blue Wonder"

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Anticipation for this book has been building ever since Fantagraphics announced the launch of a completed Pogo four years ago. If readers don't know the work of Walt Kelly (1913-1973), they should. His cartoons about Pogo Possum and his funny anthropomorphic associates aren't just high points in comic strip history; his owls, alligators, mud turtles, and hound dogs are participants in one of America's longest running (1948-1975) and most brilliant political and social satires. With surprisingly audacity and often masterful subtlety, Kelly attacked McCarthyism, Nixon White House abuses and other targets. The first volume of a projected twelve covers the first two years of Pogo and manages to capture both the liveliness of his art and the rapier force of his message.

Publishers Weekly
This exceptional first volume of the collected adventures of Pogo Possum should remind readers of the substantial legacy left behind by Kelly. It features Kelly’s daily strips (1949–1950), Sunday funnies (1950), and even his earlier New York Star dailies (1948–1949). The volume is beautifully put together, including excellent insights into Kelly and his work, and features a foreword by Jimmy Breslin and a concluding section, “Swamp Talk,” featuring annotations by comics historian R.C. Harvey. One only needs to get a short way into the adventures of Pogo and his pals in Okefenokee Swamp to recognize the impact Pogo has had on so many cartoonists, with Gary Trudeau, Jeff Smith, and Bill Watterson among the most obvious. With Pogo Possum and supporting characters Albert Alligator, Howland Owl, and Churchy LaFemme, Kelly was able to blend hilarious humor, exceptional storytelling, keen political satire, and brilliant wordplay into a strip that could be appreciated both by children and adults. The more one reads this volume, the clearer picture one has of Kelly as comics’ answer to Lewis Carroll, with Alice having changed into a possum and left Wonderland behind for a swamp. (Nov.)
Chicago Sun-Times
“If Walt Kelly had written ‘regular’ books, he might be recognized today as one of the finest satirists of the 20th Century. As a wizard of wordplay he might well be mentioned, if not in the same breath with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, then in the very next.”
Boing Boing
It's hard to think of another newspaper cartoonist who equalled [Kelly's] talents…. The design is impeccable and the quality of the line art reproduction is superb.— Mark Frauenfelder
The Huffington Post
The book is lovingly made and the strips presented with care and pleasure. But is it any good? Oh yes. It's funny and charming, bursting with witty wordplay and vivid characters you love immediately.— Michael Giltz
Maclean's
[Pogo Vol. 1] is the first book that gives a full sense of what it was like to read Kelly's pioneering strip from the beginning…. And it helps that because of the book format, …Kelly’s 'love of high-flown language' is more legible than it often was in newspapers.— Jaime Weinman
The Globe and Mail
“The congenial Pogo Possum and his swampland friends... spring to life in this collection of daily and Sunday comics, filled with Kelly’s characteristic wordplay. One hopes this will introduce a new generation to this comic, satiric masterwork.”
San Francisco Chronicle
It's a hefty volume, and will leave even the most dyspeptic Pogo fan wide-eyed with wonder and gratitude.— Jon Carroll
PopMatters
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
The Comics Reporter
Kelly's art isn't just a collection of animation quality lines; it's like the lines embody the ideal of great animation art; just stunning.— Tom Spurgeon
Manga Bookshelf
This strip is funny, well-drawn, and features a huge mass of likeable characters doing entertaining things. Put it together with Fantagraphics’ excellent presentation, and you have a definite must-buy.— Sean Gaffney
Now Read This!
Timeless and magical, Pogo is a giant of world literature, not simply comics, and this magnificent edition should be the pride of every home’s bookshelf.— Win Wiacek
Ian Chipman - Booklist
“...[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.”
Mark Frauenfelder - Boing Boing
“It's hard to think of another newspaper cartoonist who equalled [Kelly's] talents…. The design is impeccable and the quality of the line art reproduction is superb.”
Michael Giltz - The Huffington Post
“The book is lovingly made and the strips presented with care and pleasure. But is it any good? Oh yes. It's funny and charming, bursting with witty wordplay and vivid characters you love immediately.”
Paul Constant - The Stranger
“…[A]bsolutely beautiful, a big comic book with real heft and majesty.... This isn't a book you read so much as sink into: Kelly's brilliant ear for dialect and voice lulls you along, and then you're lost in his beautiful artwork.... If I had to make one complaint about this Pogo collection, it'd be that it ends too soon.”
Jaime Weinman - Maclean's
“[Pogo Vol. 1] is the first book that gives a full sense of what it was like to read Kelly's pioneering strip from the beginning…. And it helps that because of the book format, …Kelly’s 'love of high-flown language' is more legible than it often was in newspapers.”
Noel Murray - The A.V. Club
“The biggest revelation of reading the first two years of Pogo is how polished and funny the strip was right from the start, and also how nearly every Pogo panel is a delight unto itself. ...[T]here’s a classic Pogo moment on just about every page of this book.”
Glen Weldon - NPR - Monkey See
“Walt Kelly's seminal, satirical, exquisitely rendered, hugely influential (and, not for nothing, actually funny) comic strip is getting a deluxe treatment by Fantagraphics. Crisply reproduced at a generous size that makes it easier than ever to marvel over Kelly's marvelous linework, this book is everything fans and comics historians were hoping for.”
Jon Carroll - San Francisco Chronicle
“It's a hefty volume, and will leave even the most dyspeptic Pogo fan wide-eyed with wonder and gratitude.”
Michael Barrett - PopMatters
“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”
Mike Gold - ComicMix
“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.”
Tom Spurgeon - The Comics Reporter
“Kelly's art isn't just a collection of animation quality lines; it's like the lines embody the ideal of great animation art; just stunning.”
Jerry Beck - Cartoon Brew
“Kelly’s drawings are just magnificent, and his sophisticated writing style was far ahead of its time. Its time has come – and Fantagraphics has gone out of its way to ensure the best possible copies of these rare strips were found, restored and preserved perfectly here for all time... A great gift for anyone – especially you.”
Sean Gaffney - Manga Bookshelf
“This strip is funny, well-drawn, and features a huge mass of likeable characters doing entertaining things. Put it together with Fantagraphics’ excellent presentation, and you have a definite must-buy.”
Win Wiacek - Now Read This!
“Timeless and magical, Pogo is a giant of world literature, not simply comics, and this magnificent edition should be the pride of every home’s bookshelf.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560978695
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 12/5/2011
  • Series: Walt Kelly's Pogo Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 271,166
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 11.32 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Walt Kelly is the creator of the legendary Pogo comic strip. He was born in 1913 and passed away in 1973.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    I was raised on Pogo and in a forty year career in the military,

    I was raised on Pogo and in a forty year career in the military, academia, and the church, Pogo quotes still salt my speech. ["Life is a cooperative venture, son. We's all in it ogedder, an' don't nobody get out of it alive!"] I do have one major concern about this latest venture in Pogo reprinting, however, and it is a strong one. I have seen several attempts to "Reprint All Pogo Strips Ever Drawn". They all seem to evaporate after about 1954-1955 and never go beyond those introductory years. I hope these publisher can complete the task they've set for themselves but, sorry, I'm not optimistic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    I have thought the Pogo series wonderful since they first came o

    I have thought the Pogo series wonderful since they first came out. I am now 83 and enjoy them more than ever. Just waiting for the next volume of the complete compilation.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    Smiles all the time.

    What a delight to come face to face with 'lil Pogo and his buddies again after all these years. Maybe even better than the first time around, since one gets to see the whole story, right from the beginning. Pure joy.

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