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Fantagraphics sets fall debut for the Complete Pogo (‘for real this time’)

Pogo, by Walt Kelly: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Vol. 1

One of the few certainties of comics blogging is that any reaction to news of a major archival collection from Fantagraphics Books — say, the Mickey Mouse strips of Floyd Gottfredson or, just this week, the complete Donald Duck stories of Carl Barks — will include a chorus of “I’m still waiting on Pogo.” That’s a reference, of course, to the planned 12-volume collection of The Complete Pogo Daily & Sunday Comics Strips by Walt Kelly, announced in February 2007. Although the series was set to debut in October of that year, to date no volumes have been released.

But the publisher promises that’s about to change. “[A] new year is upon and it’s time to ‘fess up about all the late Fantagraphics titles you were expecting to have by now, and don’t, because we suck,” Co-Publisher Kim Thompson writes on the company’s blog. “Specific apologia and weaseling have been added to some titles, others we just pass under mortified silence. 2011 will be better!”

He follows that admission with updates on some 22 titles, including the first volume of The Complete Pogo, which is now set for release this fall. “Yes, seriously, for real this time,” Thompson writes. He also previews the cover for that first collection, which you can see above.

Robot Reviews: The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories

The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories
Edited by Craig Yoe
IDW, 176 pages, $34.99

When I was a kid, the word “treasury” promised delights beyond measure, and Christmas was the time when treasuries—of comics, fairy tales, Christmas stories, and other delights—showed up under the tree.

Craig Yoe’s The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories is a throwback to those days when a big, fat, colorful book was the centerpiece of the Christmas swag. It is very much a baby-boomer book, chock full of colorful stories from the 1940s and 1950s, but most of the material has aged pretty well and there are some solid classics in there. Of course there are some clinkers, too, but that’s the way of anthologies.

Most notable among the good stuff are several stories by Walt Kelly. His Santa tales are a far cry from Pogo, with a massive, good-natured Santa surrounded by cherubic elves, while his winsome animal stories are more familiar but all sweetness and no bite. The most imaginative of his stories is “The Great Three-Flavored Blizzard,” a classic fairy-tale type story in which weather problems threaten Christmas (no snow, no sleigh) until an elf and the Easter Bunny solve the problem by using ice cream for snow.

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