Pogo, by Neddie Jingo


I just came across a terrific tribute to Pogo, Walt Kelly's classic comic strip. The author, one Neddie Jingo, says that it's a shame if the only thing you know about Pogo is, "We have met the enemy and he is us":

As a technician, Kelly's contribution to the cartoonist's craft is probably even greater than George Herriman's; Kelly's influence is just howlingly obvious in the way Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes characters moved, and how his strips were laid out -- hell, even in his use of vegetation as a framing device. Pioneering, too, was his characters' proscenium-breaking; when Albert Alligator, lighting his see-gar, reaches out and strikes his match on the panel border, you're seeing a form so confident in its maturity that it can afford to be playful. ...

It's in the realm of language that Kelly truly shone. His daily strip was a wonderful mangrove of puns and portmanteaux, all delivered in a disarming parody of Southern speech (Kelly was himself from Bridgeport, Connecticut -- not exactly a hotbed of Southern literary tradition), and his poetry and song lyrics were so rich with utterly effortless linguistic play that it's impossible not to nominate him as America's answer to Lewis Carroll.

The tribute features several Pogo strips and other artwork. You'll find the place-name-heavy lyrics to the song "Go, Go, Pogo" -- along with a link to an MP3 of the song, sung by Walt Kelly hisself.

Hat tip to whomever reached this site with a search for this bit of Pogo poetry:

How pierceful grows the hazy yon! How myrtle petaled thou! For spring hath sprung the cyclotron, How high browse thou, brown cow?

You'll find more Pogo poetry at languagehat.com. And if you're looking for the jingle for Wummies ("They're gristle to your mill!"), look no further.

You'll find my own tribute to the Possum here.

In other whimsical news, I am pleased to announce that BatesLine is the number one Google result for "Gruntfuttock."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 5, 2005 9:31 PM.

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