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Walt Kelly’s Pogo, Levy’s Law, Bluto, Jack Davis (Comic Chronicles)

We were happy to see that Larry Doyle is a silent, dour kind of a guy–“kind of a crank” in his own words–because this sort of person sees the world for what it is. So maybe he can make us laugh at it. Doyle had better be a very witty man, because he is about to resurrect the comic strip “Pogo,” probably the drollest strip ever written.

He wouldn’t! you gasp. Where are the heirs, you wonder, to halt this assault on the memory of Walt Kelly? Kelly was the whimsical genius who created “Pogo” in 1948 and continued it until his death in 1973. Well, it is the heirs’ idea.



© OGPI

In 1988 the Walt Kelly Estate decided to revive the Pogo comic strip. Larry Doyle as writer and
Neal Sternecky as artist were hired to take on the slings and arrows that were sure to follow.

In 1988 The Chicago Reader talked to them about the daunting task.

The resurrected Walt Kelly’s Pogo began January 9, 1989.
Doyle stayed with it until February 24, 1991; Sternecky ’til March 22, 1992.

 

Jewish comic strip characters are relatively rare. So when Ann Levy, Levy’s Law‘s lead character, is and in a very funny comic strip at that, it’s a big deal. Sadly, Levy’s Law, which ran in newspapers from 1979 to 1985 is rarely referenced now. This article seeks to remedy that, as well as to briefly discuss a few other Jewish characters on the funnies pages.


© NEA

Levy’s Law is the creation of James Schumeister. This was Schumeister’s second syndicated comic strip, the first being The Great Atomic Aftermath & Fresh Fruit Festival, which ran for a little over six months in 1976.

Schumeister recalls how serving on jury duty gave him the idea for the strip, which received additional inspiration from the fact that a conference for women’s police officers just happened to be occurring in the same building.

Mark Carlson-Ghost details the history of the Levy’s Law by James Schumeister.

 

In 2022 Bluto celebrates his 90th birthday, having first appeared in E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre comic strip in 1932. His debut story was called The Eighth Sea, and he was originally a bloodthirsty beast who wanted to kill Popeye the Sailor. He also did not harbor any love for Popeye’s girlfriend, Olive Oyl. The initial fist fight between Popeye and Bluto went on for weeks in Segar’s daily comic strip. The one-eyed sailor defeated him by using his “twisker” sock. Humiliated, Bluto left the Thimble Theatre comic strip under Segar’s tenure.


© King Features Syndicate

Paramount Pictures, who financed the theatrical Popeye cartoon series, were under the mistaken impression they created Bluto for animation. King Features Syndicate, who distributed the comic strip, did not challenge this. Consequently, on additional merchandise he became known as The Mean Man.

Bluto? Brutus? Sonny Boy? Popeye historian Fred M. Grandinetti sorts it out for us.

 

   
© EC Comics

Jack Davis was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December, 2 1924. He began drawing at an early age and was published in Tip Top Comics in 1936 when he just twelve years old…

Upon his arrival in New York City, Davis initially got work by inking The Saint newspaper strip for the Herald Tribune Syndicate, as well as producing his own short lived strip Beauregard for the McClure Syndicate.


© TV Guide (?)

Cinema Scholars spotlights cartoonist and caricaturist Jack Davis.

Community Comments

#1 Steve Johnson
October/6/2022
@ 10:32 pm

Jack Davis did the wacky “Bee Line” logo used on buses in
Westchester County, New York, when I lived there in the late nineties. I recognized his work instantly, though I think it was not signed. A few images of that logo are on the net, though perhaps no longer on the buses.One is at
https://www.visitwestchesterny.com/listing/bee-line-bus-system/373/

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