Fantagraphics continues their beautiful collections of Walt Kelly's Pogo. This volume contains all the daily strips for 1953-1954, includes all 104 Sunday strips in color and introduces Simple J. Malarkey.
Walt Kelly takes on Senator Joseph McCarthy in the form of wildcat “Simple J. Malarkey” (a controversial move at the time) and more in this collection of years 1953-1954 of the seminal mid-century newspaper strip.
It’s in this volume (featuring another two years’ worth of Pogo strips) that we meet one of Walt Kelly’s boldest political caricatures. Folks across America had little trouble equating the insidious wildcat Simple J. Malarkey with the ascendant anti-Communist senator, Joseph McCarthy. The subject was sensitive enough that by the following year a Providence, Rhode Island newspaper threatened to drop the strip if Malarkey’s face were to appear in it again. Kelly’s response? He had Malarkey appear again but put a bag over the character’s head for his next appearance. Ergo, his face did not appear. (Typical of Kelly’s layers of verbal wit, the character Malarkey was hiding from was a “Rhode Island Red” hen, referencing both the source of his need to conceal Malarkey and the underlying political controversy.) The entirety of these sequences can be found in this book. But the Malarkey storyline is only a tiny portion of those rich, eventful two years, which include such classic sequences as con-man Seminole Sam’s attempts to corner the market on water (which Porkypine’s Uncle Baldwin tries to one-up by cornering the market on dirt); a return engagement of Pup Dog and Houn’dog’s blank-eyed Little Orphan Annie parody “Li’l Arf and Nonny”; Churchy La Femme going in drag to deliver a love poem he wrote, Cyrano style, on Deacon Mush-rat’s behalf to Sis Boombah (the aforementioned hen); P.T. Bridgeport’s return to the swamp in search of new talent; and of course two rousing choruses of “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie.” In addition to presenting all of 1953 and 1954’s daily strips complete and in order for the first time anywhere (many of them once again scanned from original syndicate proofs, for their crispest and most detailed appearance ever), Pogo Volume 3: “Evidence to the Contrary” also contains all 104 Sunday strips from these two years, presented in lush full color for the first time since their original appearance in Sunday sections 60 years ago — plus the usual in-depth “Swamp Talk” historical annotations by R.C. Harvey, spectacular samples of Kelly’s work scanned from original art, and a whole lot more!
About the Author
Walt Kelly is the creator of the legendary Pogo comic strip. He was born in 1913 and passed away in 1973.
…Evidence To The Contrary gives us Kelly at his most self-assured, an artist whose facility with both caricature and dialect convinces us that an alligator named Albert really does enjoy nothing more than a good cigar; that an owl named Howland wears a gravity-defying wizard’s cap; and that the guilelessness of a likable possum named Pogo can be a surprisingly effective weapon against the fulminations of mere politicians.
— Ben Marks
[Pogo is] so dense with things to look at, enjoy and understand — clever dialogue, jokes, satire, physical humor, amazing cartooning, lush inking, incredible lettering and more... It’s all so perfectly done, seemingly effortless and simple, but actually the product of a rare talent. ...I can’t recommend [this series] highly enough.
— Todd Klein
...Kelly continues to be in top form in both storytelling and illustration, that same quality Fantagraphics upholds and highlights over 60 years later. Half in black and white, half in wonderful Sunday Funnies colors, the third volume continues to make Kelly’s Pogo a favorite of every generation of readers.
— Cameron Hatheway
Pogo is so richly developed in atmosphere, language and funny, funny animals that no matter how old you are, within in two panels you fall right into the world of Okefenokee Swamp. …The art looks as if it came from the greatest of children’s literature. The words ring with the wit of Jonathan Swift while at the same they sing with the musicality of Irish poetry. … Stories flow across days and weeks as if they were written by Scheherazade, Aesop, and H. L. Mencken at a laugh-filled lunch hosted by Meet the Press. … This volume is a true work of love and is perfect for all ages. — Mark Squirek