Friday, October 7, 2011

One of NPR's Best Books of 2009, the TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics is curated by Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame) and his wife Francoise Mouly (art editor of The New Yorker). The only superhero you'll meet here is a red-caparisoned Captain Marvel, who has a predilection for the phrase "holy moley!" and is involved in a spoof of surrealism.
Of Little Lulu they write, "John Stanley's competent and inquisitive little girl was more than just a tomboy: She was a lady-like proto-feminist, at least the equal of the boys who repeatedly try to keep her our of their 'No Girls Allowed' club."

Pogo gets kudos as well: "Walt Kelly's rollicking and idiosyncratic 'Pogo' was born in Dell's 'Animal Comics' in 1942, and at the end of the decade matured into one of America's most highly regarded syndicated newspaper strips." Even Dr Seuss makes an appearance: here are the first and last pages of Gerald McBoing Boing.
 There's lots more to discover, like Kelly's Uncle Wiggly, the raffish J. Rufus Lion, fun with Uncle Scrooge, and the "chiselin'" tricks of a cigar-chomping, dialect-spouting crow. As they used to say in many an ad pitch, "fun for all ages!"

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