Fantagraphics’ Second Volume of Pogo is Bona Fide Balderdash

Ok youngsters. Stop what you are doing and listen while Old Man Stumpy tells you a little tale. See, way back in the early 1990′s there was this little comic book called Bone. No one thought much of it at first. It was black and white. There was no spandex or mullets or shoulder-pads and pouches in it. It did not have variant covers or chromium embossing. And, did I mention it was black and white? But then people caught on it to the fact that it was really good and suddenly this little comic was selling better than many of the titles put out by Marvel and DC.

So why am I talking about Bone when the title of this post is clearly about Pogo? Well, Jeff Smith, the creator of Bone, has gone on record multiple times to say that Pogo was a major inspiration for Bone. And, I must say, reading through Pogo stories, there is a genuine feel that Bone is a direct descendent of Walk Kelly’s seminal characters.

Now Fantagraphics is realeasing a collection of early Pogo comics, including some which have never been reprinted before!

Even though Pogo had been in syndication for less than two years as this volume begins, Walt Kelly’s long professional experience (including seven years creating Pogo stories for comic books) had him at the peak of his powers, and this book features page after page of gorgeously drawn, hilarious vaudevillian dialogue and action among the swamp denizens, as well as Kelly’s increasingly sharp-tongued political satire — especially on display during the 1952 election season.

Kelly was famous for his prolific creation of recurring characters, and by the end of this second volume, the count will already have topped over one hundred. New arrivals include Tammanany the Tiger, the voluble P.T. Bridgeport, the sinister Sarcophagus MacAbre (with his funereal speech balloons), Uncle Antler the bull moose… and Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred, the adorable trio of bats.

The two years of daily strips in this volume (all the strips from 1951 and 1952) have been collected before but in now long out of print books; and even there they were not as meticulously restored and reproduced as in this new series. Bona Fide Balderdash also reprints, literally for the first time ever in full color, the two full years of Sunday pages, also carefully restored and color-corrected, shot from the finest copies available.

This second volume is once again edited and designed by the cartoonist’s daughter, Carolyn Kelly, who is also handling much of the restoration work. It includes a new introduction by the legendary author, recording artist, and satirist Stan Freberg, who was not only a friend of Kelly’s but the voice of Albert the Alligator in the I Go Pogo: Pogo for President movie. There are also be more extensive annotations by comic strip historian and expert R.C. Harvey, as well as additional historical information from writer Mark Evanier.

Download a 34 page preview here. Get a fantastic deal (45% off!!) on Pogo: Bona Fide Balderdash (Vol. 2) here Get a screaming deal on the first volume of Pogo here. Or get an amazing deal on both volumes in an awesome slip-case box set!

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