Pogo in the Age of McCarthy



I remember when I was finally old enough to get the humor of Doonesbury and how shocking it seemed, but in retrospect turning Reagan into Max Headroom doesn’t seem nearly as gutsy as taking on McCarthy in 1953. Although it was still risky. One thing Kelly in the '50’s had in common with Trudeau in the '80’s is they didn’t have a lot of other places to go. That makes it even more impressive that Kelly was willing to bite one of the newspaper hands that fed him.


I think I started reading Pogo on a daily basis some time around 1968 or so. I still miss it.


I only recently got around to reading Bone (which was aimed at a younger target demographic but still a fun and wonderfully illustrated yarn). It struck me almost immediately that “This is Lord of the Rings by way of Pogo!” I’m sure I’m not the first to notice the parallels but I wonder how much it was an intentional homage on Jeff Smith’s part vs unconscious influence.


“Pogo” also featured two cowbirds who claimed to be doves and took over other birds’ nest to keep things even handed.

As a child in the 60s I recall my dad guffawing over “Pogo” in the newspaper every morning, but I never warmed up to it myself. I tried many times to get into it but it was rather too chatty for a comic.

I always felt “Bloom County” was the real heir to Pogo…


When I was a kid in the 60s we had a Pogo book in the bathroom. Shoo In Time is Jes Fine. About a weevil running for office. His only line of dialog was “Jes Fine” Not sure who he was supposed to represent but I read the book a lot.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this…

I remember reading Pogo in the newspaper and watching the animated special on TV in the '60s, and buying the reprints of the older strips in paperback in the '70s. It was a top-rate strip.

I have always loved Pogo. Alas, my books are in boxes, but if I strain hard enough, I can pull them down and read them.

Maybe I should just get this collection instead.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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