Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some Indefinable Minor Detail

Jim, I just know you want to take issue with the dove's coloration, but I think Kelly likes color and is just having fun?


  1. How right you are, Thom! But, NO, I actually DON'T think Kelly was just having fun with color, mostly because I don't think any cartoonist would impede his meaning purposely...

    It all makes me wonder exactly how & by who the POGO coloring was's SO sloppy..or LAZY...or, I dunno lame or uninspired...

    I noticed in the last (or one before that?) a bunch of characters with their eyes colored in the same color as their bodies, in that "calendar" one, yellow-bellied Albert carries a yellow umbrella with a yellow the prior one, green Albert tears green wrapping paper off the gift...

    The full color pieces Kelly did don't usually display such bad color sense (though the colors in SONGS OF THE POGO are pretty awful)...

    I dunno, maybe HE did it, and didn't care very much... the choices that FIGHT the art's intent suggest to me that he handed it off to an assistant, but I'm still alarmed that he'd "pass" it (and if he didn't even look, I'm more surprised). It could also be he sent better guidelines to the syndicate, and THEY did a crappy job. That could explain filled in eye-whites, I'm not sure it'd explain red & green doves.

    I've been a professional artist long enough to know that sometimes (often) work is work, deadlines are deadlines, you do your best under the circumstances & move on to the next thing, but when it's SO obvious that he was going WAY above & beyond in the art quality of these Sundays, I can't fathom how he could be so blase about the way they'd look in print.

    It's like some great pastry chef baking an incredible elegant wedding cake, and then squirting Hershey's Syrup all over it.

  2. I was just baiting you, cuz I seriously take your point(s). How DO you explain SONGS OF THE POGO with its crappy coloring? That was a major hardback that should have been a showcase for Kelly.

    I've scanned dozens and dozens of these Sundays by now, and I'm impressed by how UNimpressive the color schemes are in general. As I've written before, yellow abounds as a background, ever so boringly so. Those few time red or purple or green were backgrounds the result was SO much more appealing. But it was always the same color for the water or the grass, etc. with no imaginative color palettes. I would think that might have been the syndicate's jurisdiction, but , as you say, why wouldn't Kelly complain?

    During the original Pandemonia I would sometimes 'shop around', ordering newspapers from around the country looking for variations of quality. Color was usually consistent, but once-in-awhile, a panel here or there would be different, showing that individual newspaper press composers may have taken a hand in it. How or why?

    Toward the end of Kelly's run on Pogo, when he was really ill and different hands began to be involved, the coloration went crazy, with Churchy becoming two-toned with a yellow beak, and other bizarre color decisions became distracting and destructive. Where did that come from and why? Somewhere out there people are still living that know the answers to all this. Too bad none of them check in here.

    I hope the Fantagraphics reprint series will make some wise choices.