Our Gang by Walt Kelly
Of the handful of comics' bona fide geniuses, few could match the versatility of Walt Kelly (1913-1973). Trained as an animator at Walt Disney Studios (he worked on cartoon shorts and Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Dumbo), Kelly left during a labor dispute in 1941. He immediately began a new career in the burgeoning field of comic books, contributing heavily to various Disney titles and single-handedly producing its classic fantasy books, Fairy Tale Parade, Mother Goose, and Santa Claus Funnies. Along with fellow Disney alumnus Carl Barks, Kelly is now considered one of the two classic "funny animal" artists from the golden age of comics. Surprisingly, Kelly's longest-running continuing series was based on actual people the "real-life" characters of MGM's durable short-film series, Our Gang (a.k.a. "The Little Rascals"). Spirited and engaging, Kelly's Our Gang harks back to the days before television, when kids spent most of their time playing outdoors, limited only by each other's imagination and ingenuity. Kelly created dozens of Our Gang stories by the end of its 59-issue run in 1949, the year he quit comic books to switch careers a final time as syndicated artist/writer on the immortal newspaper strip, Pogo. This series of books reprints Walt Kelly's Our Gang stories. Covers by Jeff Smith (Bone).