Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The South in comic strips at Rogers Museum

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Pogo in the swamp primeval.
  • Pogo in the forest primeval.

Depictions of our clan by Thomas Nast, Al Capp ('Lil Abner), Walt Kelly (POGO), Doug Marlette (Kudzu), Jim Scancarelli (Gasoline Alley) and Marcus Hamilton (Dennis the Menace) are on exhibit at the Rogers Historical Museum in "Comic Stripped: A Revealing Look at Southern Stereotypes in Cartoons."

We haven't been up to see it, so we'll rely on Creative Loafing's review to give you some idea of what's in the show, developed by Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C.

Of POGO, the finest of these strips, Creative Loafing includes this perhaps forgotten fact:

In 1953, [artist Walt] Kelly got some heat with the appearance of his character Simple J. McCarthy, a spoof of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the fearsome blowhard senator tracking phantom Commies with his Un-American Activities Committee. Kelly later lampooned Nixon and his minions, including FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The Director of the FBI suspected coded messages might be included in the Southernisms and nonsense poetry printed in the Pogo strip. Attempts at deciphering the crypts proved fruitless.

The exhibition runs through March 24.

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