I Go Pogo

Walt Kelly’s Pogo Comic Strip

It is hard to believe that Pogo has not been a regular comic strip since July 1975. Since early childhood, I have been a big fan of newspaper comics; and Walt Kelly’s Pogo was one of my favorites. How is it that a cast of characters dwelling in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp could be so universal, even in our twisted times?

There was Pogo Possum himself, whom cartoonist Kelly described as “the reasonable, patient, softhearted, naive, friendly person we all think we are.” He is surrounded by such swamp buddies as the slow-witted Albert Alligator, generic expert Howland Owl, dim mud-turtle Churchill “Churchy” LaFemme, self-important canine Beauregard Bugleboy, misanthropic Porky Pine, and a host of others.

If I felt I could afford it, I would collect all the Pogo comic strip books and read them regularly. There aren’t too many current cartoon strips about which I could say that. It would be an activity best described as blowin’ smoke rings into the teeth of fate.

Following the Funnies

I have always loved reading the comics page in whatever newspaper my family or I ever got. Oh, I would scan the news first, and even the editorial page, but it was always the funnies that got my closest attention. You see, the news stories were to my mind, more subject to distortion than the funnies. The funnies are a clear indication what people are really thinking, but the news stories are typically designed to keep readers tense and upset.

On December 3, the Los Angeles Times got into my bad books by canceling one of my favorite strips, “9 Chickweed Lane” by Brooke McEldowney. It was replaced a couple weeks later by “Lu Ann,” which is considerably more tepid in every way.

And what excited the ire of some woke nincompoop leading to the decision? It was the following pane from the December 1 offering:

Huh? Pen Sallywright shoots down a Jap zero, commenting, “He was in the wrong hemisphere. He had it coming if you get my drift.” Now this is all part of a fantasy involving an RAF officer named Charge Chucker, and a mysterious, sexy Polish (and possibly space alien) spy who wears a ray gun holstered to her thigh. You can tell it’s a fantasy because Pen Sallywright shoots down a Zero with a hand weapon, and because she’s like from outer space.

I really do hate people who are too effing woke for their own good. I still read “9 Chickweed Lane” on a website which can be accessed here.

There used to be some awfully boring comics years back when “Gasoline Alley,“ “Mary Worth,” and “Rex Morgan MD” were running. But there were some great strips as well, such as “Pogo” and “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” Ah well, times change.

How (Not) to Celebrate New Years

A traditional way of celebrating New Years Eve in France is by setting cars alight. According to the BBC, as of some 12 hours ago, a total of 874 cars have been set on fire. I’m sure that’s kind of like a firecracker, but multiplied out, that’s got to be about 10 million dollars in damages.

Far better is a series of two cartoons from Brooke McEldowney in his “9 Chickweed Lane” series. The first cartoon ran on December 31 and was a bit confusing:

It all came clear with today’s cartoon:

I loved this set of images. We make a jump from one reality to another. Actually, it’s the same reality: Just a different template overlaying it. BTW, the look on the little girl’s face is priceless.

So let’s take that leap without incinerating any automobiles, if you please.

Fun with Calvin and Hobbes

I Miss Calvin and Hobbes

Let’s face it: I never really grew up. I sill love the comics. My day is not complete until I have read the comics in the Los Angeles Times, which I have delivered at home daily and Sundays. I still miss many of the cartoon strips that no longer appear, going all the way back to Walt Kelly’s Pogo. I also loved Gary Larson’s The Far Side, Johnny Hart’s B.C. and The Wizard of Id, and Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts. Fortunately, some great comic strips come back: I am thinking of Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County, which now appears with new cartoons on Facebook.

Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes lasted from 1985 to 1995, but you can see all of them at Gocomics.Com. I am slowly re-reading the entire work of this great cartoonist and philosopher.

When the Sunday paper arrives, I still read the comics starting from the bottom of the last page and ending up with the top of the first page. Some habits never die.