Walt Kelly began working in comics in the early 1930s while working as a crime reporter in Bridgeport, when he illustrated a biography of PT Barnum. In 1935 and 1936 he provided art for comic books for what would become DC. Also in 1936 he began working with Disney Studios as a storyboard artist for various shorts and Donald Duck cartoons. In 1939 he transferred to the animation department, where he worked on several Disney classics, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. In 1941 he refused to take sides during the animators strike, instead taking a leave of absence for the duration of the strike. He did not go back to animation following the resolution, instead working with comic book adaptations of a number of Disney properties for Dell. During his time with Dell he also co-wrote several of the issues he illustrated. He also produced a number of items for children, including books, records and various adaptations of existing properties. In 1943 Kelly created an early version the character for whom he would eventually become most famous, Pogo. Following the Second World War, which he was exempted from serving in due to poor health, he took up political cartooning, and in 1948 Pogo made his first appearance in newspaper in the New York Star, of which Kelly was art director. The paper folded soon after, but Kelly was able to arrange for the character to be syndicated, and by May of 1949 he had been relaunched. Pogo grew incredibly popular, noted for his politically satirical nature. In 1952 he illustrated The Glob, a children's book by writer John O'Reilly.
Walter Crawford Kelley, Jr. was born in 1913 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, though raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He moved to Southern California in the mid-1930s, and remained there for the rest of his life. He was married three times, divorced once, widowed once, and outlived by his last wife. In 1951 he was awarded a Reuben Award, in 1972 the Silver T-Square Extraordinary Service Award, in 1989 the Comic-Con International Inkpot Award. He has also been inducted into the National Cartoon Museum's Hall of Fame, and the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame. Kelly died of complications from diabetes on October 18, 1973 at the age of 60.