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Originally published Friday, February 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Volumes and volumes of "Pogo"

The folks at Fantagraphics Books, the Seattle-based publisher of comics, graphic novels, memoirs and other stuff I don't even have a name...

The folks at Fantagraphics Books, the Seattle-based publisher of comics, graphic novels, memoirs and other stuff I don't even have a name for, have come up with another grand plan: They've acquired the rights to publish a comprehensive series of volumes of Walt Kelly's classic "Pogo" comic strip.

Who and what was "Pogo?" Pogo was a sweet, soulful and politically incendiary comic strip that featured Pogo, a philosophical possum, and a brace of other swamp critters, including Albert Alligator and the turtle Churchy LaFemme.

It ran in newspapers from the 1940s until Kelly's death in 1973. I spent many lazy Sunday mornings trying to decipher its deeper meanings, as did the U.S. government, who investigated Kelly for his skewering of the likes of Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, George Wallace and Richard Nixon (one newspaper reporter floated the theory to government agents that Kelly's "swamp talk" was a secret Russian code).

Pogo is the source of one of my favorite all-time quotes: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

The first of the 12-volume "Pogo" series will appear this October. Fantagraphics is also in the process of publishing the complete works of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip.

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor

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