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WALT KELLY'S FABLES AND FUNNIES

Walt Kelly's Fables and Funnies coverWalt Kelly’s Fables and Funnies
Compiled by David W. Tosh
Introduction by John E. Petty
280 7x10.5-inch pages, color
2016 Dark Horse
hardcover
$49.99

This happy se;ectopm of Western/Dell work from 1942-1949 gives us better Walt Kelly than Pogo. Yes, such a thing is possible, and this book will prove it to you. Tosh has collected Kelly from many of the titles to which he contributed after leaving Disney in 1941 and before the newspaper version of Pogo started in 1948 — Fairy Tale Parade, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Santa Claus Funnies, March of Comics, Our Gang, various Four Color Comics, and, of course, Animal Comics. Except in the latter, no Pogo here; no alligators either.

Under the heading “Animal Mother Goose,” Kelly illustrated nursery rhymes using animals. One of the Our Gang stories herein is pretty grown-up violent stuff, people wielding rifles and the like. In the samples I’ve posted near here, we have only a hint of the most delightful and whimsical Kelly in this volume. He did vast quantities of superior pictorial comedy for kids (and their parents—adults were always the target audience). The pages brim with his antic visual invention: the pictures are the funnies. And it is all, surprisingly, much better drawn than the early Pogo.

KellyFables1

KellyFables2

Reprinting Pogo is fashionable and lucrative these days. Fantagraphics is bringing out luxurious volumes of the newspaper strip (to which I am a paid contributor) and Hermes Press is publishing all of the Dell Pogo from Animal Comics and Pogo Comics. With this Tosh collection at hand, we realize that there’s lots more of this kind of Kelly out there, a veritable trove for Kelly fans, just waiting to be collected and compiled. And in the current stampede to reprint all of Pogo, surely someone is going to take the hint Tosh supplies here and publish more of this delightful oeuvre. And maybe some truly dedicated soul will finally assemble and publish Kelly’s editorial cartoons from the New York Star. We can hope.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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