FROM THE BOG
Our author Alan Moore makes a vague reference to the characters of Pogo in the text article of his 2002 comic book THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (VOL.2) #3. To wit, "Great Cypress Swamp also runs into Okeefenokee Swamp, upon the Georgia/Florida border, where yet more talking animals have been reported...."
1:1 "Vivi-quinquereme" is Latin meaning a living ship with 5 banks of oars. (Thanks to Paul Evans for pointing this out.)
1:2 The fan Paul Evans says: "junior umbrella-birds" suggests the wings of bats. Here it clearly refers to the three smaller crew members, and in Pogo there were apparently a trio of bats called Bewitched, Bothered and Bemildred."
1:4 The Hystricide is based on the Pogo character Porkypine. (Hystricidae is the old scientific name for the family of rodents to which the porcupine belongs.) Bartle is based on Albert the Alligator. ("Bartle" is an anagram for "Albert".)
Aplodontia is a reference to the Pogo character Miz Beaver. (Aplodontidae is the old scientific name for the family of rodents to which the beaver belongs.)
1:6 Pog is based on the possum Pogo, from the comic strip of the same name.
Website visitor Daniel Preece wrote to me and explained that 10-4-1948 (read "8491.4.01" backwards) was the date of Pogo's newspaper debut. At first I thought that the date was referring to 10-4, the date of Walt Kelly's death (October 4, 1973) or to 4-1-1984, (April 1, 1984) which was April Fool's Day in the year this issue was written.
3:4 The turtle-ship "Find the Lady" is based on the Pogo character Churchy LaFemme. "Cherchez la femme" means "find the lady" in French.
5:3 The characters of Pogo regularly used raft boats upon which were written the names of Walt Kelly's friends. Oddly, in this story there are no names on the floating "skips", although previous issues of ST (such as #25) had many hidden references to friends of the ST creative team.
8:4 Dr. Strigiforme is based on the Pogo character Howland Owl. Strigiforme is the scientific name for owl.
<4> What is "Richie's Farm" a reference to?
"The tadling" in the "portapuddle" jar is a reference to a November 1948 Pogo strip in which Albert accidentally swallows a tadpole that was in a glass of water. The "umbrella-holders" may be a reference to the Mamselle Hepzibah character who has been seen holding an umbrella?
COMMENT: Pogo was a comic strip written and drawn by Walt Kelly (1913-1973) featuring a cast of animals living in Florida's Okefenokee swamp. The aliens in this issue of ST are references to Pogo.
Pogo became a regular comic strip in The New York Star newspaper in 1948, and moved to The New York Post when The Star closed less than a year later.
The strip was extremely popular for its humor, social commentary and political satire. A famous poster (shown above) proclaiming "We have met the enemy and he is US" depicted Pogo surveying a polluted swamp. (This is a take-off on General William Henry Harrison's quote at the battle of Lake Erie: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours.")
Kelly also worked on stories and animation for Walt Disney's films Pinnochio, Dumbo, and Fantasia. In 1935 he worked briefly for the company which would later become DC Comics.
www.igopogo.com is a nice site for Pogo fans.
COMMENT: Pogo Possum was once nominated for President by his friends, yet had the common sense to avoid the honor.
Albert the Alligator is a simple-minded yet well-meaning friend of Pogo. He was one of the title characters in the comic (Bumbazine and Albert) in which Pogo first appeared. Churchy LaFemme is a poetic turtle who has been seen wearing feminine clothing. Howland Owl considers himself a genius and often wears a pointed wizard's hat. Porkypine is the character who asks thought-provoking questions.
COMMENT: Mr. David Abbot sent me a humorous poem based on Poe's "The Raven" and Jane Austen, expressing his opinion of the Bush administration.
COMMENT: This issue was nominated "Best Single Issue" for the 1985 Jack Kirby Awards, as was issue #34. SWAMP THING Annual #2 was the winner.
COMMENT: This issue is reprinted in black and white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #13, 1997.
COMMENT: In 1990, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 28-34 and SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2 in a book titled "Swamp Thing: Love and Death".