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Pogo Possum

Pogo Possum is a creation of Walt Kelly, who with a host of other memorable characters (e.g. Albert Alligator, Porky Porcupine) inhabited a fanciful Okefenokee Swamp.  Pogo first appeared in comic books in 1941. Walt Kelly was working at the time on a variety of Dell Comics’ licensed features, including Our Gang and Donald Duck. When Dell decided to try a comic containing original characters, Animal Comics, Kelly became a contributor with its first issue.  Kelly’s story, “Albert Takes the Cake,” first introduced Pogo Possum.  

According to <http://www.igopogo.com/we_have_met.htm>, Walt Kelly first used the quote “We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us” on a poster for Earth Day in 1970. In 1971, he did a two panel version with Pogo and Porky in a trash filled swamp, with Pogo responding to Porky with “YEP, SON, WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US.”  In 1972, it was the title of a book, Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.  

An additional famous quote from Kelly was Porky Porcupine -- in commenting on the possibilities/probabilities of extraterrestrials -- said, “Thar’s only two possibilities:  Thar is life out there in the universe which is smarter than we are, or we’re the most intelligent life in the universe.  Either way, it’s a mighty sobering thought.”  

<http://www.toonopedia.com/pogo.htm> provides an excellent history of Pogo’s comic evolution, from a supporting character of Albert the Alligator to a starring role in comic books, the latter which lasted a good five years.  But this was only the beginning.  Pogo had begun in 1948 to appear in newspaper strips, and quickly Kelly’s political views began to be noticed in what had formerly been strictly a children’s feature. (In comic books, however, Pogo remained free of politics as long as the series lasted.)  Pogo became in fact a sometimes cleverly disguised and sometimes blatant political prop.  The syndicated Pogo began in 1949, with the humor becoming ever more topical, until Kelly’s death in 1973, at which point the strip ended.  

1950 saw the beginning of a long series of trade paperback books, some with original material, some with reprints of the syndicated strip, and some with longer stories (graphic novels).  There was also Kelly’s poetry and acid-tongued political commentary, as well as simple flights of fancy. All are highly prized by collectors, and are seldom reprinted.  

Pogo Bibliography includes a total of 45 books, ranging from Pogo (1) and I Go Pogo (2) to Pogo for President (26) and Prehysterical Pogo (In Pandemonia) (29) to We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us (34) and The Pogo Candidature (39).  


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