Friday, March 2, 2018

Pogo Comics 1949-1950 by Walt Kelly

Pogo by Walt Kelly ran as a daily and Sunday comic strip in newspapers from 1949 until 1975 (Kelly passed away in 1973 and it was carried on by other hands for two more years). A beautifully drawn and politically charged singular piece of work that was hugely popular in its day. It spawned numerous reprint books as well as a few books containing new material, which at the time was unusual outside of Charles Schulz's Peanuts collections. What was also unusual was the fact that Pogo, Albert and many of the core cast of characters that populated the strip first appeared in the lowly medium of comic books.* 

Pogo and Albert first appeared in Animal Comics #1 published in 1942 and ran in that title until 1947 when that title ended with its 30th issue. In 1948 Kelly began working for the New York Star and created a daily Pogo strip for the paper. In 1949 the Star folded and Pogo was picked up for National distribution by the Post-Hall Syndicate and soon became a sensation. Also in 1949, Kelly began a Pogo comic book to be published as well. This wasn't unusual at the time as many popular comic strips had comic book counterparts as well but they usually reprinted the strips themselves or had new material written and drawn by other artists and writers. Not Pogo. The Pogo comic had all new comics written and drawn by Kelly himself (with the help of assistants I'm sure). So not only was he writing and drawing a daily and Sunday comic strip 7 days a week, he was also producing all new material for comic books on a quarterly basis. The title lasted until 1954 and ended with issue 16. Kelly never did return to the lowly comic ghetto. But his strip was riding high at the time as one of the most popular strips in the nation, and would for many years after.

Below are the first two issues of Pogo from 1949 and 1950. Enjoy!

*In the early days, (and until recently really) of the medium comic strips were the respectable form of entertainment that adults and kids could both enjoy while comic books were looked down upon as junk churned out by lesser talents for children. That wasn't really true as adults read comic books as well, but that was the public perception. 

Pogo #1 1949

Pogo #2 1950

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