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Stefan Kanfer
Going Pogo « Back to Story

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Kelly was a talented man, but his strip was not particularly funny in its last years. Neither was Al Capp's. It's too bad when cartoonists feel they have to enlightened, rather than entertain, their readers.
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The saying, "We have met the enemy and he is us." was not originally an Earth Day slogan. It was part of one of those zany sequences where the swamp was supposedly under attack and the denizens were mounting defenses. One of the things they cobbled together was super-weird, and Pogo ran towards it to see what it was. When he saw that these characters were swamp-people, he ran away saying, "We have met..." Using it for Earth Day was an afterthought.
Richard E. Wendt, Jr. January 30, 2012 at 4:47 PM
Thanks for rehearsing some Pogo lore I not only have forgotten, but never knew!
Simply...many thanks for showing me the reality of the man.
He was unique.
Barry: No amount of maligning Joe McCarthy could possibly do him justice.

Joseph Welch, to McCarthy (during the hearings: "Have you no shame?"
What the world needs now is a re-issue of the whole set of Pogo books.

Who owns the copyright?
"We have met the enemy and he is us," is used a lot in these times of societal self doubt. The line from Walt Kelly Pogo's expression that I like best, and recall, however inaccurately, whenever people talk about "moving forward", has Pogo remarking that "I alluz thunk forward was more over that-away". That kind of self-doubt should be more common.
Barry from Victoria January 05, 2012 at 3:14 PM
Joseph McCarthy may be the most unjustly maligned figure in American history. It's too bad Walt Kelly participated in that unseemly piling on.
Thank you for this heartfelt tribute to a truly great American artist. I think it's inevitable that Pogo will be rediscovered by a wide public, in time. Among comic artists, only Winsor McCay and Bill Watterson come close, and for sheer, profligate genius of verbal humor Kelly has no equal.
Hello : I am looking for Mam'selle Hepzibah ?
The collected works are now in process. I got Volume 1 for Xmas - covers 1948-50. Snap 'em up!
Pogo was my Dad's favorite cartoon. No Sunday could be considered complete without his reading it. I well remember him reading those Pogo words to me when quite small, and as I learned to read I would seek them myself. Great stuff, though most of it went WAY over my head until much later.
I grew up with Pogo. Ineradicable lines like "The Panamanians is loose!" still rattle through my head from time to time. On reading your article, I reached up and fondly took down from the top bookshelf a couple of yellowing paperbacks -- The POGO Peek-A-Book (1955) and the POGO Sunday Book (1956) -- just to refresh my memory. Each sold for $1 in the mid-'50s.

Nobody under 50 has even heard of Pogo or Albert Alligator or Churchy La Femme -- or Walt Kelly. Or Daisey Mae or Steve Canyon or Barney Google or George Price or Charles Adams or H. Allen Smith or James Thurber, for that matter. (Very few under 50 are much given to reading anyway.) Thomas Wolfe reminds us that you can't go home again; truly is it said that the past is a foreign country.

Now in my early '70s, I muse on the uncounted comedies and tragedies played out by those who preceded us in life -- the sturm and drang of marital spats, the ecstasy of first loves, the satisfaction of buying the perfect pair of shoes, the comfiness of kicking back and unfastening one's belt after a Lucullan repast, the sheer drudgery of getting up and going to work early on a wintry morning, the rush of first success, and, finally, that crepuscular moment when all light is extinguished. All repeated billions and billions of times -- and all expunged from living memory, along with the protagonists -- as though none of it ever happened. The path of glory leads but to the grave; gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

The Library of Congress will preserve the memories of those few deemed worthy of remembrance -- at least until the Library of Congress meets the same fate as the Library of Alexandria.

Terrific! Now I know where I'll be this weekend - scouting out the local libraries for Pogo!
Pogo is my hero! I have a framed "Deck the Halls" comic strip hanging on my wall and I sing the song frequently to celebrate any happy occasion.
What a wonderful article.
Just a grand article - loved every word and laughed myself silly. Thank you very much, Mr. Kanfer.
Great article. Walt Kelly was an authentic American genius. When I need a quotation, I turn to three sources, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Pogo Possum. I quote Pogo more often than the other two.
What a nice article. I remember Stefan Kanfer from the past. It would also be nice (neat) if your esteemed journal could concentrate on more cartoons and less words.
Thanks and best wishes for an exceptional 2012