At the time of Dell Publishing's launch of 'Animal Comics' humorous animal stories were becoming popular, but it was the first comic book to specialize in that genre using comic book creations. The first issue was published in 1941, and the title ended with issue #30 in December 1947.
Animal Comics is best known for the first appearance of the historic 'Pogo', drawn by Walt Kelly, which appeared in issue #1. The original story titled 'Albert Takes the Cake' introduces Pogo the possum and Albert the alligator. Also in the story is a young African-American boy named Bumbazine, who would soon be dropped, as Kelly found humor easier with just animals. Walt Kelly also produced other non-Pogo pages for Animal Comics and others who contributed to the title were Dan Noonan and John Stanley, who is now best known for his work on Little Lulu.
In 1948 Walt Kelly was hired as a political cartoonist for the New York Star newspaper and decided to use his Pogo characters in the daily strip. This debuted on October 4, 1948. The paper folded very soon afterwards, but the strip survived and was syndicated by Post-Hall Syndicate, going national.
The strip was designed to be read on many levels, so it could be enjoyed by young and old alike. The slapstick was designed for the younger audience and the puns and satire for the older generation. Pogo was the first comic book series to make a permanent transition to newspapers. It lasted 27 years and continued even after Walt Kelly's death until the last issue in July 20,1975. Amongst others George Ward and Henry Shikuma worked on the strip as Walt Kelly's assistants.
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