Pogo Vol. 2 (Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips) Hardcover – 8 Nov 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Among the highlights this time around: The introduction of P. T. Bridgeport; Wiley Catt and Sarcophagus Macabre's plot to dine on Churchy LaFemme; Bun Rabbit's attempt to celebrate every holiday; Pogo runs for President, sort of (launching the "I Go Pogo" movement); and various critters disguise themselves as characters from "Little Orphan Annie" (or, as is suggested by Beauregard, "Li'l Arf an' Nonny"). For those of us who have had to make do with the S&S reprints of yore, the Fantagraphics series is a particular delight, as it reproduces many strips left out of the paperbacks. This is the whole thing, in order. Nothing could be more satisfying.
Annotations draw the reader's attention to details not apparent to the casual fan. For example, Kelly's fight with the Post-Hall Syndicate about exactly who owned the copyright led him to sign the strip for a while with pseudonyms such as "Motley Crewcutt" and "Parsley Shawl." Once the dispute was settled (in Kelly's favor), the authentic name reappeared, as the proud "Copr. 1952 Walt Kelly." The notes also inform readers about such details as what "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" means, or who Edgar A. Guest was. Why, starting in mid-1951, was the upper left corner of each day's first panel devoid of speech or important visual material? The notes explain.
For those with a lifelong devotion to "Pogo," Volume Two is a must-have book. Those new to Kelly's genius will also find inspiration in the comic strip, now gone almost 40 years, that to this day is a hallmark of literacy, wit, and visual excellence. Quibbles? OK, the brief introduction by Stan Freberg (himself a major wit of the '50s and '60s) is a pleasant remembrance but not much more. And the notes, valuable though they are, could be more extensive. But these minute drawbacks don't even come close to reducing the five-star rating. This is as good as "Pogo" gets, and it is wonderful.
Give them as gifts, leave them in taxis, donate them to schools, pass them out on the streets, change your kid's name to Grundoon, befriend a cigar-smoking alligator, leave your estate to the Walt Kelly Is A God And Deserves Himself A Nice Church Foundation, no trifle is too small, no global Pogo Day celebration too big.
Those aren't five little Amazon stars. Those are five massive, searing orbs of space fire, billions of fathoms wide. So pay attention.
History keeps trying to remind us what happens when we try to get along without her. Making sure every budding American has read Pogo will make her job a bit easier. Why? You're on a computer, aren't you? G**gle it! A deft and nuanced satirical take on American culture and politics from the days when a computer was some math dork with a slide rule, Pogo was the Doonesbury of its day, and these books are actually a magnificent history lesson.
There's no tits, not much cussing, and the whole world seemed to have a sort of Mayberry rhythm to it (again, look it up), so it isn't trying to compete with androgynous angsty robot vampires turning into pickup trucks and blowing up New Jersey. It is a chance to reconnect with the middle America that actually did exist, in a way, back then, by reading what they read back when reading was about all there was to do if you didn't have the 15 cents for a double bill plus cartoon and newsreel movie ticket.
This may look like a bunch of cartoons about talking animals in a swamp, but so does the Washington Post, and people take that seriously, don't they? Political buffoonery, chicanery, and ne'er-do-wellity has been rampant since long before our glorious republic was even conceived, and it was in full swing during Walt's very long tenure at the pen. A worthwhile read for anybody with a serious interest in the history of common political discourse in the US, and cleverly disguised as amusement, to boot. Edumacate those lummoxes without they even knowing...
This volume is just as beautifully bound as the first; keep up the good work, Fantagraphics!