Long, long delayed by difficulties finding the source materials, volume one of Fantagraphics’ long awaited reprinting of Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly is finally at the printers, Mark Evanier announces:

My friend, the lovely Carolyn Kelly, lovingly supervised the loving restoration of her lovely father’s lovely strip and she also did the lovely design of this lovely book and its lovely dust jacket and the lovely imprints under that lovely dust jacket. Sure sounds like a labor of love to me. Not that the contents need any help but the strips are supplemented by a foreword from writer (and friend o’ Walt’s) Jimmy Breslin and essays/annotations by Steve Thompson, R.C. Harvey and myself. If I were you, I’d read all that text stuff after I read the strips themselves about eleven times.

Each volume contains two years of Walt Kelly’s magnum opus. Since the first year started in mid-year, there’s room in the book to also include the pre-syndication Pogo strips he did for The New York Star, a short-lived newspaper for which he worked. This gives you the chance to observe from Day One and watch as it develops steadfastly from a darn good newspaper strip to something a lot better than just “darn good.” Working on this collection, that was my constant thought: “Gee, it just gets better and better, doesn’t it?”

Although it looked whimsical enough, Pogo wasn’t afraid to jab hard on the political foibles of the day, and created such memorable characters as Albert the Alligator, Churchy La Femme, and Mam’selle Hepzibah. If you notice more than a bit of Kelly’s drawing style in Jeff Smith, well it’s no accident. Pogo’s return in a new collection is happy news indeed.


  1. Wonderful to see this. Now if Fantagraphics would only reprint the Pogo comic books as well. Eclipse did some ages ago, and the reproduction was beyond horrible.

  2. You beat me to it, Patrick. There were a couple of reprint volumes of Christmas Classics, Santa Claus Adventures and Springtime Tales that I cherish, despite the mediocre printing.

  3. I’m glad to see this series of Pogo Books start! Some of those early Pogo Comic book stories can be found in The Smithsonian book of Comic Book Stories vol. 1 , which also deserves to be reprinted.

  4. When I was a child, before I ever read “Calvin & Hobbes”, I had a stuffed tiger named “Tammany” because I saw a character with the same name in “Pogo. Then I learned about the reference…

  5. Pogo (the first, red volume from 1951) was the first graphic novel I ever read, back in 1979. (Yes, GRAPHIC NOVEL. Kelly rearranged the panels into comic book pages and chapters. It’s also one of the first comic books to hit the New York Times bestseller list.)

    So, Jeff Smith, the original designer, is no longer involved?

    I also heard that the Kelly estate was not directly involved. Is this true?

    Personally, I would prefer to see the Sunday strips (which had a separate storyline from the dailies), reprinted as separate, full-size editions. Perhaps not as chronological volumes, but produced as done-in-one stories, much like the Tintin and Asterix volumes.

    How will FB handle the bunny strips, which were produced for cowardly newspapers who did not wish to offend the tender sensibilities of their readership? And what of the original material Kelly produced for Simon & Schuster?

    Oh, and FB, since you’re recoloring the Carl Barks stories (badly, it appears), how about a collection of Kelly’s Disney work? One volume would suffice, less than 200 pages. (It’s mostly covers.) Add some biographical material, perhaps his animation work for Disney.

    And while you Pogophiles wait, why not read about the Pogo Riots at Harvard University?


  6. I’ll hold off my reservations until I actually see said book on the stands in bookstores. When that day actually comes, I’ll post two Pogo-related comics that greatly influenced Calvin & Hobbes.

  7. I can’t wait to buy this!

    That said, regarding the cover shown above, I don’t like the fact that Walt Kelly’s name is camouflaged by the leaves of the tree, and I probably would have chosen a different cover illo.

    Not that it matters — I’d buy this book is the cover was a burlap sack stamped with black block letters.