Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Classic

(Poll's almost closed!  Vote today if you haven't!)

Maybe you've have heard of this, or seen it long ago and wondered where you could find it again.  Maybe you've never heard about it.  It is a classic, probably from the late 50s or early 60s.  Walt Kelly was a genius of a cartoonist.  I remember when I was young, I used to skip over Pogo.  The typeface was just too much work for a young reader to work through.  When I got a bit older, I decided that since I read every other strip in the paper, I should read Pogo too.  After a few weeks, I was kicking myself for skipping it all those years.

Like Lil Abner, Pogo could be very political, using clever satire and analogies.  But it was also fun at a just-look-at-the-pictures-and-enjoy-the-punchline level.  His artwork was wonderful, so be sure to click and enlarge.

Walt's children tried to revive Pogo, but decided that the strips had shrunk too much to do justice to the art their father made famous.


  1. You'll note that the date on that Pogo is Earth Day 1971. It's not the original usage of the phrase in Pogo; that does, indeed, date to the early '60s. I'll try to research it.

  2. Well, that didn't take long. Here's the scoop from Wikipedia:

    Probably the most famous Pogo quotation is "We have met the enemy and he is us." Perhaps more than any other words written by Kelly, it perfectly sums up his attitude towards the foibles of mankind and the nature of the human condition.

    The quote was a parody of a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General William Henry Harrison after the Battle of Lake Erie, stating, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." It first appeared in a lengthier form in A Word to the Fore, the foreword of the book The Pogo Papers, first published in 1953. Since the strips reprinted in Papers included the first appearances of Mole and Simple J. Malarkey, beginning Kelly's attacks on McCarthyism, Kelly used the foreword to defend his actions:
    “ Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

    There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.


    —Walt Kelly, June 1953

    The finalized version of the quotation appeared in a 1970 anti-pollution poster for Earth Day (reproduced in the infobox), and was repeated a year later in the daily strip reprinted here. The slogan also served as the title for the last Pogo collection released before Kelly's death in 1973, and of an environmentally-themed animated short on which Kelly had started work, but which ill health prevented him from finishing.

  3. Good cartoon....

    And, slightly off topic, I have to confess to not voting accurately in your poll. That's the trouble with polls - ask a slightly different question and you get a very differnt answer. In my case I don't mix wardrobes at all, but a surprisingly large number of female things have crept into my day-to-day wardrobe. 8-)

  4. "Peanuts" was my favorite from the the time I started reading the funnies, about 1958 to the mid to late 1960s (when it kind of jumped the shark for me). Then, I discovered "Pogo" and I became a big fan of the antics in the swamp. "Dick Tracy" was always a close second mainly because of its strange characters and occasional crossdressing.


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