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The year I was born and the year after: 1951-52 are the years covered in this magnificently excellent volume. I missed it the first time around, not only due to extreme infancy, but the fact that POGO was not carried in the newspapers our family bought. I learned about Pogo years later in the series of paperbacks from Simon & Schuster, but I still wasn’t getting the whole story, wonderful as those books are, because they are edited excerpts of the strip along with some new material. Only now can I know what it would have been like to see this fantastic strip as it came out.
The only complaint I have about reading POGO is that it’s quite tiring! There’s so much to look at, ponder and enjoy, the experience is so dense, I can only absorb about eight pages at a sitting, which amounts to four weeks of dailies or eight Sundays (which are separate here, as they do not run the same continuity). Above is an example taken at random. First, read and enjoy the slapstick humor and the great characters: a self-important stork nesting in the top hat of a voracious alligator. Look at all the expressions, the delightful fluid line work, the storytelling, the language and the superb lettering. And Walt Kelly (with some assistants) did this over and over, producing such excellence to be read every day for many years. It’s redickle-dockle, as the characters would say.
There are many other great strips out there. “Peanuts” is certainly faster to read and equally excellent, but if you enjoy great art and writing you can’t go wrong with these collections.