Although he was born in Philadelphia in 1913, cartoonist Walt Kelly wrote frequently in his essays about his affection for Bridgeport, Connecticut, where his family made a new home in 1915. Like the state's other urban areas in the early twentieth century, the Park City's population increased during Kelly's childhood because of industrialization that brought new jobs and attracted immigrants from Europe and families from the U.S. South. Kelly's nostalgia for the city manifests itself in Pogo in the form of P. T. Bridgeport, a circus bear based on P. T. Barnum and on Kelly's friend and mentor Charles F. Greene. In 1931 and 1932, Kelly and Greene collaborated on a series called "P. T. Barnum's Life in Pictures and Prose" for the Bridgeport Post. The following essay reads the bear's presence as narrator in the opening story of the 1972 Pogo collection We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us as both a nostalgic tribute to Kelly's friend and as an elegy for the artist's childhood. Drawing on Hillary L. Chute's recent article on the links between comics and poetry, this essay also draws on studies of nostalgia and poetic elegies to provide another critical lens through which to view the autobiographical elements in Kelly's work.


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