Monday, May 25, 2009

Sense Found in Nonsense

Prehysterical Pogo in Pandemonia was a book curiously lacking in enthusiasm or celebration of some of Kelly's finest moments. Other than the cover, there were no special spot drawings (like so many of his other books had), it was abridged and abbreviated from its first run, and Kelly's Foreword did not allude to the contents of the book, except to use the word "Martian" twice. There were no explanations, no insights for the storyline. And apparently it didn't sell well. It is one of the rarer tomes in Kelly's canon of works.

Below is the foreword of the book:

I can only imagine how wonderful it would be for a publisher to come out with a large album of the entire arc, complete with full page, full color three tier Sundays on the recto and six crisp dailies on the verso, with full insight essays, and a clay-coat beautifully designed cover and binding to boot.

* SIGH *

As you can see above, sometimes Kelly's essay-cum-forewords could be somewhat obscure. They might be hard to discern meaning or practical knowledge, but they brimmed with wit and reeked of worldly experience.

You knew that the man was no ivory tower cartoonist, but an activist—in the very best sense of the word. A man willing to side with the underdog—nay, to forcibly side with the human bean that has no hope. He seemed to believe strongly in hope, in a cynical sort of way.

Kelly didn't cry over spilt ink, he would quickly dip his brushes into it and dive into a new drawing, creating something new that otherwise might never have existed, due to procrastination or just plain idle hands. Yet he didn't avoid the devil's workshop. Rather he confronted the old bastard and took him to task for his mephistophelian misdeeds. Kelly faced sulfurous dragons of Hades, ready to wield his brush and pen and sometimes typewriter to remind the world that sense could be found in nonsense. Kelly's messages weren't obscure — we were.

I've taken this drawing out of context, but drawn 23 years prior to the incident, this drawing looks to be symbolic of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where a single Chinese person stood alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Cangan Blvd. 

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