And so we come to the end of our stroll down memory lane with the very first Kekionga story.
Mr. Spit: more ugsome than a million bugs. And Josef takes the first of many star turns at the finales of stories. It’s sort of a specialty of his, getting the last word, even with a mouthful of alien bug. In Bud’s orchard the trees are small, but the apples are possibly slightly too large.
The back cover. (I’ve cropped out the indicia since they are full of inaccurate information.) Unlike many of these back cover illustrations, this one is neither the last panel of the story nor an extra illustration that serves as a comment. Think of it as an epilogue: Josef is exhausted by his first day of work and is perfectly willing to let his new boss give him a lift to his new place.
But what do I think when I see this drawing? I think, aw, look at those tiny ears! Josef’s basic structure has remained unchanged, and like many cartoon animals (think Bandit from the old Jonny Quest series) his size has never been precisely fixed and varies with the needs of the specific story. Or the composition of the drawing. Or my mood at the time.
But from their modest beginnings here, Josef’s ears grew quickly until they reached their current magnificent state. In the panel below, from The Day of the Brontosaurus, is Josef as he looks today.