This book begins by describing how the high point of Walt Kelly’s career—the period in the early 1950s when he and his strip challenged the conservative rhetoric of the age—are well documented by comics scholars and mid-century historians. This is in contrast to how Kelly got to this point in his creative life. This book digs into the earlier phases of Kelly’s career and shows that Pogo was not simply an unremarkable comic strip thought up by committee, or thrown together on a whim by a young, aspiring cartoonist. Pogo was instead the end product of nearly two decades of labor by an auteur who wouldn’t achieve serious success until his mid-40s. It was a work of popular culture that emerged from a complex hybridization of comic mediums and the syncretic confluences between African-American and Anglo-American cultures.
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