But he was there for me on a very special occasion. When I was 14, Walt Kelly was going to be giving a talk at a college about 60 miles south of where we lived. Both my parents understood my desire to meet Kelly and they drove and attended with me. I was nervous as hell, waiting to talk with the man, but my dad encouraged me and even introduced me so it wouldn't be quite as awkward as otherwise. Then my dad bowed out and I had a nice chat with Kelly. When I told him of my desire to be a cartoonist, and showed him a couple of drawings, he invited me to stick around and talk some more after the crowd thinned out, which I did.
Sitting in comfortable armchairs, we had a wonderful talk about comics, especially his old comic book days, pre-Pogo. I told him how I admired his fairy tale comics, and we talked about styles and the evolution of styles. He gave me some advice and did a quick sketch of Pogo and signed it for me. He even told me of Pogo's upcoming trip to Mars and what to expect stylistically. It's all very vivid for me to this day.
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but the Christmas of '65, I bought this collection of Pogo (the first trade paperback of Pogo I had ever seen) as a Christmas present for my brother, knowing full well that he would probably give back to me to keep. Which he did. And I still have it and have never seen elsewhere. So OK, I'm embarrassed, but I don't regret it.
This photo and blurb about Kelly was part of a magazine ad for Sheaffer Snorkel Fountain Pens and alludes to the complete Pogo 5-foot shelf, which was an exaggeration, but not by much. And yes I had all those shown below and more. I almost got rid of them years ago when I was trying to lighten the load. Thank goodness common sense prevailed.