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Our Gang Vol. 1 [Paperback]

Walt Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 6 2006 Walt Kelly's Our Gang (Book 1)
Of the handful of true geniuses of the comic books, few could match the versatility of Walt Kelly. Trained as an animator by Walt Disney Studios, Kelly left during a labour dispute in 1941 and immediately began a new career in the burgeoning field of comic books. Along with fellow Disney alumnus Carl Banks, he is considered one of the two classic "funny animal" artists from the golden age of comics.

Our Gang, Kelly's longest-running continuous series, harks back to a time before television, when children played outdoors, limited only by their imaginations and ingenuity.

Here is the first in a series of books reprinting Kelly's Our Gang stories in their original four-colour splendour.


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From Publishers Weekly

Who knew there was a comic book based on Our Gang (aka The Little Rascals), the long-running series of short films featuring those lovable urban scamps, Mickey, Buckwheat and Spanky? And by Kelly, the man responsible for Pogo, no less. This is a sweet, idiosyncratic collection of comics dating from 1942–1943. Kelly, then a young animator and fledgling comic book artist, was given the job of bringing these icons to life on the comic book page; while it took him a few issues to find his groove, he eventually rendered the gang in his own eloquent visual style. As in all of his work, Kelly's characters are gently nuanced, his lively brush strokes giving them an unvarnished realism that jibes perfectly with their cartoonish surroundings. Kelly makes the characters his own—these comics never feel like adaptations. In these issues, the gang embark on their usual adventures, including making a circus, foiling a crime caper or two and even visiting a movie set. These comics are suitable for nostalgic adults and adventurous kids alike, though Buckwheat's unfortunate but contemporary racist rendering might require some explanation. But all in all, it's an exuberant and transportive collection. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Although the Our Gang film series was on its last legs in 1942, Dell Comics launched a comic-book version of it that is more than a footnote to the films because it was written and drawn by Walt Kelly, seven years before he brought Pogo to the newspapers. Ironically, while the films were by then slick and mannered, having lost their low-budget modesty after MGM took over producing them, in Kelly's comics they regained much of their earlier, unaffected charm, thanks to his winsome story lines, homey characterizations, and engaging cartooning. The simple, unassuming tales evince little of the wit that would distinguish Pogo, yet they exert nostalgic appeal as they depict the little-kid cast publishing a neighborhood newspaper, putting on a backyard circus, tussling with the rival Gashouse Gang, and, in these World War II-era creations, holding air-raid drills, planting a victory garden, and collecting scrap for the war effort. Movie maven Leonard Maltin and Kelly biographer Steve Thompson contribute informative introductions, and Bone creator Jeff Smith supplies the Kellyesque cover. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Since Kelly is one of the early inductees into the National Cartoon Museum's Hall of Fame, it's been frustrating for fans that such a major portion (almost 800 pages) of his early career has not been reprinted. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Gang/Little rascals' delightful romps May 13 2013
By S Svendsen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Our Gang was a series of short comedy films produced in the Hal Roach studios by Pathé and MGM from the mid 20s to the mid 40s, later syndicated for television (then titled The Little Rascals) in the mid 50s. In 1994 a feature film was released by Universal Studios. In the first cartoon version, in 1942, Walt Kelly used the film characters/actors from the 40s as his look-alike role models.

The members of the gang were inventive and mischievous poor kids growing up in everyday America. They created their own fun in an environment where they were—unlike today—given free reign to do hilarious pranks, enjoy risky adventures and practice do-good ventures. The five members of the gang were of mixed gender and race, which was progressive for the first half of the 20th century. Buckwheat (Bucky), the black boy, was accepted and on equal terms with the others. Racial stereotyping was at a minimum and amounted mostly to two areas: the appearance and the vocabulary. Kelly drew him with normal facial features but gave him the distinctive fat lip treatment. Bucky used words like ‘dis here,’ ‘ol,’ ‘halp,’ ‘looky,’ ‘winder,’(window) ‘we gets,’ and dropped the ‘g’ in ‘ing.’ But, significantly, he comes across as having intelligence fully on par with the white kids.

This was the time racial integration was gaining traction and the Bucky character and Our Gang dynamics served in some way to gather its momentum. This first book in a series of four reprints the first eight of Kelly’s Our Gang stories from 1942 and 43 of ten to fourteen pages each in color. There are nine pages of historical background and introduction. The stories are delightfully told and rendered, to be enjoyed by all ages.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hello kids!!! March 16 2007
By Johnny Heering - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In 1942, Our Gang got it's own comic book. Of course, Our Gang is better know nowadays as The Little Rascals. By 1942, the Our Gang comedies were on their last legs; the shorts stopped being produced in 1944, although the comic book continued until 1949. This book reprints the Our Gang stories from the first eight issues of the comic book. The comics are are by the great Walt Kelly, with the exception of issue #7. Kelly is best known as the creator of the legendary Pogo comic strip. The comics in this book aren't as great as Pogo, but they are still very good. Good book, but it would be nice if it was a little longer.
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