Monday, June 15, 2009

Alive, Happy an'. . .org. . .Well-Fed


  1. Man! if Kelly ever drew anything more joyful-seeming than that saber- toothed tiger, I dunno what it's just so gorgeous----you can almost feel the thickness of its fur...

    This series, with all the amazing inking and textures, and attention to detail really points out one of the things I found kind of weird about POGO as it progressed----from the mid-late '50s, and through the '60s, Kelly's new character designs are always "realistic" in the sense that the new animals' features are fully styled/deliniated/detailed after the animal's actual APPEARANCE, while the "core" POGO cast remain much simpler & stylised...

    Albert, Pogo, Porky all have those snubby snouts, without any real noses (or in Albert's case nostrils)...Kelly 'lost' Pogo's nose & Albert's nostrils early on--Churchy has no nostrils, and Howland has a weirdly UPturned beak--quite un owl-like...meanwhile we get these very detailed dinosaurs, the brick-throwing cat, the Hoover bulldog, Agnew hyena, etc.--all designed more 'realistically'...

    I get WHY--the core characters are sort of 'grandfathered in', and typically the main characters in a property evolve slowly (if at all).

    You see it all over--made-out-of-bowling-balls primitive Mickey Mouse facing off with the brown-with-flesh inner ears & face + whiskers, buckteeth, and fully-clothed Mortimer Mouse in "MICKEY'S RIVAL"...super-simple Kermit the Frog in "EMMETT OTTER'S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS", where Judge Frog is a hyper detailed frog puppet with pupils, irises, eyelids, and pebbled skin....bow-legged,ball-headed Donald Duck sharing the screen with more anthropomorphised fowl like Ludwig Von Drake or Launchpad McQuack...

    I'm sure there many other examples--but I used to wonder if any of that ever dawned on Kelly when he drew say, Albert interacting with the dinos of Pandemonia...

    Jim Engel (I'm not REALLY anonymous---I just can't seem to 'post comment' using my name)

  2. The coloring IS pretty good on these Pandemonia Sundays, but I still wish it were BETTER...

    I was just re-admiring this page & noticed that the tiger's mouth is open in a laugh (yawn?) in that last panel, but his tongue isn't colored--kinda obscuring his great expression.

    "Anonymous" Engel

  3. Good observations Jim (even if you are anonymous). You've noticed, I'm sure, the way Kelly's elephant styles shift around. And Kelly's books from this time have a variety of styles (yet always unmistakably Kelly). It's obvious he was having a lot of fun with his talent.

    And you're so right about that last panel. A nice warm tongue color would have been a perfect touch. They had color guides to follow, but the color guys at the papers were pretty careless around this era. Strips like Pogo and Prince Valiant and Steve Canyon were treated shoddily.

    Kelly's work is like a storybook, but rarely reproduced as such.

  4. I mean, geez, look at Albert's yellow schnoz.

  5. It may be the color of tongue was THAT paper not all papers or just the book. I overlook these little items. It is such a great story from a great man charlie

  6. As to the style variations, could any of this have anything to do with Kelly's assistants? As I understand it, he is known to have started utilizing them more in the late sixties and here we are in '66.

  7. I know what you're saying, but I have a magazine article about Kelly from 1966 that makes a point of saying that Kelly does all the drawing at this time, using only Henry Shikuma to mainly ink the lettering.

    For the book, however, I wouldn't doubt the use of other hands, creating transitional graphics, but much of that procedure remains a mystery.