Friday, February 10, 2012

Best Comics of 2011: no. 2: Pogo

two to go, both tonight!
First up, a book decades overdue.
I'm using this as one of my comic history textbooks this semester. We'll know in a couple weeks how it goes over, but I can't imagine it not being beloved by anyone!
Like Habibi, this is a beautifully made book whose content warrants the care used.
The blemishes are on the scanner bed, not on that lovely blind stamp cover!
And beyond the delight of the book as object, its content needs no explanation to those of us "in the know". To the rest, Pogo began as a comic book and moved into the strips. Walt Kelly offered social and political satire along with commentary on the human condition through the animal  denizens of Okefenokee Swamp.

The book is historically significant too. The strips above are the first of the classic Christmas carol strips, from Pogo's original run in the New York Star (the strip ended its initial run when the paper folded).
The commentary framing the strips is equally remarkable. Mark Evanier's essay on Welly's coloring for Sundays and his process in working with the separators at the printer gives deeper understanding to the lush end product, properly reproduced in this volume, arguably for the first time since their original appearances.
Fantagraphics has been doing a great job with their Peanuts reprint series, and this looks to be an equally successful run. I give them laurels for doing such a phenomenal job with such delightful material.
Up immediately: No. 1

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