Saturday, June 09, 2007

Number 143

Walt Kelly's The Brownies and the Ooglies!

I've spent the past 50 years with and admiring Walt Kelly's work. This is the sort of heresy that will call out Kelly's Pogo fans to scream profanities, toss a noose over a tree limb and wave torches under my window: as much as I love Pogo, I most love his comics written and drawn for kids.

Pogo went from being a kids' comic book feature to adult topical satire in newspapers. It is more grounded in its time. It was in his comics for kids that he didn't need to refer to current events, to aim his humor at hip adults. All kids care about is that it's fun to read. He gave them that. Not only kids in a chronological sense, but those of us who are still kids in an emotionally arrested sense.

"The Ooglies," from The Brownies, Dell Four-Color #244, September 1949, appears to have been turned out quickly, but that gives it a special quality of spontaneity. My memory of reading about how Kelly worked on his comic book stories is that he took sheets of drawing paper and started to draw. He made it up as he went along. It takes a great artist to be able to do that and have it come out in some sort of cogent fashion. And, as we Kelly fans--even the torch-wavers--knew, Kelly was a really great artist.

If you want to see the past Kelly postings, go to the labels below and click on Walt Kelly.

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