"Floyd the flea is lost at sea!"
Time for another dee-light, a treat from Walt Kelly. Presenting "How Come That Showboat?" f'rom Pogo Possum #1, 1949.
We showed the first story from this issue in Pappy's #674.
Also, above's a pitcher'a ol' Walt, his own natural born self!
While we're highlighting Walt Kelly and Pogo today, it's a good opportunity to slip in a recommendation for yet another great comics compilation from Craig Yoe, just released: The Golden Collection of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics, a treasure chest of rare comic book art, much by some of the underappreciated geniuses of the industry.
That's not to say all the artists are underappreciated. There's a Carl Barks story (Barney Bear and Benny the Burro), and a Walt Kelly tale from Fairy Tale Parade. Basil Wolverton shows up and even, yes! Jack Kirby with a couple of rare funny animal strips. But Yoe has reached down into that treasure chest for the nuggets of gold hiding under the rest of the booty (I promise, I will give up this pirate metaphor right now). John Stanley and Harvey Kurtzman are shown, represented by strips that are anything but typical of their later work. Basil Wolverton is shown with a strip very representative of what we love about Basil. Artists whose names aren't quite as well known by comics fans are Ha-Ha and Giggle artists Dan Gordon, Ken Hultgren and Jack Bradbury, New Yorker and children's book artist/author Syd Hoff with a 1950 comic book story compiled from his "Tuffy" strips. Other talents include Jim Tyer, Vince Fago, Otto Messmer, Howard Post, Jules Feiffer, Andre LeBlanc; more artists than I can list here. Yoe's eye for great cartooning is impeccable, and since virtually all of these cartoonists are now gone, their work must be made available to a new generation of comic fans.
As far as I can tell, Craig Yoe is working on a four-foot shelf of beautiful, sturdy and permanent books of comic art, mainly comprised of stories and artists we don't see all the time. Nothing like these stories he reprints is being done right now. The artists of that time came from a background of animation, the Depression, World War II, and the hardscrabble life of working anonymously, yet still putting in their best work. In what was considered a disposable medium, none of the artists expected people who weren't then even born to be looking at the work decades later with nostalgia and awe.
The Golden Collection of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics, edited by Craig Yoe. IDW, Publisher, 2010. 8 3/4" x 11 1/4", 304 pages. Laminated board covers. $34.95. Available from Amazon.com, and Bud Plant.