My stories have been published in Barbara and Christopher Roden's ALL HALLOWS; in John Pelan's ALONE ON THE DARKSIDE; in WEIRD FICTION REVIEW #4. These and others can be found in my second ebook, IN A SEASON OF DEAD WEATHER. My latest collection, ICE & AUTUMN GLASS, is now available from Leaky Boot Press. I also have a Youtube channel -- check the sidebar below for a link.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Rage Behind the Mask
Walt Kelly was born today, in 1913.
Because my father was a university professor, I had access to the university library while still in highschool.
In the summer of 1979 -- while I was being astonished by the novels of
Mervyn Peake -- I chanced upon a book by Walt Kelly, Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years With Pogo (1959). I had read the comic strip as a child,
but I had never understood it; compared to the simplistic drawings and
dialogue of the strips around it, Pogo had seemed like the relic of an
ancient, eccentric world.
I glanced through the book, thought, "What the hell," and took it out.
By the time I had reached the halfway point, I was totally devoted to
Kelly's art, his writing, and his world. I became a hunting fanatic: not
only did I search through used bookstores for other volumes in the
series, but I dreamed of Kelly books that had never existed.
What fascinated me about Kelly (beyond his power as a draughtsman and
writer), was the tension in his work between a child-like whimsy and a
seething rage at the idiocy of crowds, the mendacity of lunatics in
power. Pogo was the mask of an angry man who had found a way to channel
his anger for public consumption -- but the rage was there, like barbed
wire in a birthday cake.