Simple J. Malarkey

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Simple J. Malarkey is a caricature of Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) who was gaining power by the day (in 1953) with his accusation tactics. Kelly was one of the first to take such a stand, and took the future of his comic strip in his hands in the process. Malarkey seized power from DeaconMushratand by his vote alone changed the name of the Audible Bird Watchers Society to the Bonfire Boys. The Bonfire Boys is very much like the Ku Klux Klan, comparing the wipe out Communists attitude McCarthy took with the self-righteous policies of the K.K.K. Malarkey relays his plot to Molester Mole: “Tar and feather everybody… make ’emall birds”, identifying McCarthy as an accusatorywith no actual evidence. Deacon decides to hang Malarkey by means of a trap-but succeeds in almost hanging himself. However, Deacon throws Malarkey into the tar he is brewing to tar and feather every swamp critter. Mole arrives and mistakes Malarkey as Deacon. A chase ensues, with Malarkey chasing Mole with an ax and Mole chasing after Malarkey with a shotgun. Both creatures survive. Malarkey turned up twice more, once with a badger reminiscent of Richard Nixon. A Providence newspaper was so angered by this that it threatened to drop the strip should their faces be shown again. Kelly got around this by drawing sacks reminiscent of K.K.K hoods over their faces. Providence got the point and put Pogo on the editorial page. The F.B.I kept a close look at Pogo. In his final, 1955 appearance, Malarkey thinks the swamp needs him, but finds that it doesn’t. In these strips, Malarkey, like McCarthy, exits a shell of his former, feared self.