Saturday, June 20, 2009

primer - page 10

 There you have it, a fine in-com-pre-hen-sile tale. 

Kelly was struggling with feelings about the Vietnam War about this time, as well as the Cold War and its toll on the human condition. Religion and politics were always fair game for him. Kelly had traveled the globe far and wide during this time to discover for himself (and write about) the elaborate mess we, as humans, have gotten ourselves into.

But I-STILL-DON'T-GET-IT, just what he was reaching for with this fable. I mean I get the general drift that war is wrong, religion is misguided and animals are at peace with each other on an island when there's a pot of coffee on. 

Wizards and dinosaurs are difficult to accept as iconic symbols of morality. 

John-John  gets a boat named after him (John John the first— Does that refer to the president? One of our correspondents has mentioned that there is a theory that Kelly wrote the Pandemonian arc as a depressed response to Kennedy's assassination (?)).  

And what's with the one cavewoman wearing high top tennies on page 9?

Maybe Kelly's just goofin' with us?

PLEASE, share your thoughts about this tale.


  1. I still think he was really enjoying doing these. Just looking at the many little things going on. charlie

  2. Yes, he was having a great time, as WE are looking at his artwork. His details and little actions were never better than at this time. His artwork is always a joy to look at, and he's at the top of his game here. But he was a man of deep thoughts, what did all this mean?

  3. John-John was the common childhood nickname of JFK JUNIOR. In case you didn't know.By the way Ihave benn enjoying re reading these strips immensely And am gladto take this oppurtunity to tell you so. Jenny die seerauber

  4. Thanks Jenny.

    I know John-John was JFK junior, in which case why not just say John-John, without the Roman Numeral? I know that successor boats are sometimes numbered, but why this one? Making me wonder if it wasn't Kelly's nickname for JFK senior, as in John-John the First.

    Just speculating.

  5. wow, as always beautifully told, but that was one strange little tale! I get the anti-war statement (nice last panel with the lion laying down with the lamb... rabbit in this case!), but I feel there was a whole bunch more Kelly was trying to say. There was a jab at religion there, but other than that I'm unsure of Kelly's entire intention. Was it clearer to readers at the time, or was it just as confusing? Makes me curious about Kelly himself... are there any biographies of him out there?

  6. No straight forward biographies that I'm aware of, but lots of his life has been documented in the pages of The Okefenokee Star, which were in turn compiled into trade paperbacks edited by Bill Crouch Jr, and Selby Kelly. Those are good books to have, with lots of art and photos and rarities.

    There was also a book from long ago (I think titled Five Boyhoods) where Kelly wrote a dozen pages about his boyhood days, but mentioned nothing about his later life.

    An in-depth bio of Kelly, written similarly to the recent Charles Schulz bio is certainly overdue. But would it sell? I dunno, but I"D certainly buy it.

  7. There is a lot of allegory crammed into the 10 pages of the primer, but for me it's all ancillary to the dinosaur's song:

    Look for that star
    The shore we are.

    and the quotation at the end. Be who you are rather than following blindly if you find out that is not who you are. It was certainly true for Kelly.