1987: Walt Kelly’s Two Seasons

Walt Kelly’s Christmas Classics (1987) #1, Walt Kelly’s Springtime Tales (1988) #1 by Walt Kelly.

I loves me some Walt Kelly, but reprinting him in 32 page instalments doesn’t seem like the most efficient way to do it. He was a pretty prolific comic book creator (I think) before he started his Pogo newspaper strip, and most of these comics weren’t really put that much work into: His artwork can have a dashed-off feeling, and they’re usually really quick reads. So a 32 page floppy isn’t a very satisfactory chunk of Kelly.

Huh. The indicia says that this is Seduction of the Innocent #8… so I guess Eclipse slapped that Legacy numbering on all their pre-code comics reprints? I thought they reserved that label for the crime/weirdness stuff…

The first story is (by far) the best thing in these two comics. It’s reprinted from a Dell Four Colour Christmas special, and it’s well-drawn, imaginative and really, really sweet and season appropriate.

Maggie Thompson provides some context to the stories, which we really need for the second story in this issue: Peter Wheat.

These were comics given away for free with loaves of bread (!) and is apparently a long saga of Peter Wheat’s people’s war against some hornet people. It’s a bit confusing what the motivation for… well, anything… that happens in the story is, and the Kelly didn’t put a lot into the artwork, either. I mean, for him. It’s still lovely to look at, but I think even an eight-year-old (which is probably what this is aimed at) would be scratching their head if presented by just this story.

“Peter Wheat Push Is Harder”? “The Body Builder”? Oh, “Push Is” is a… pun?… on “pushes”?

*scratches head*

The second issue is ostensibly a collection of springtime tales, but we get another dose of Peter Wheat which is taken from a completely different part of the epic, apparently. Hermes Press printed two 270 pages volumes of this stuff last year, so I’m going to guess that that’s going to be more satisfying to read than the random samples on display here.

When Kelly draws for non-bread purposes, his drawings get at least twice as detailed and four times as charming.

We round off with some pretty sweet standalone goblin/fairy stuff that has some spring and bounce to it.

I would have guessed that everything in these issues had been given a proper reprinting by now, and comics.org seems to say that that’s the case. IDW has reprinted both the Christmas stuff and the goblin story above over the last few years.

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