Posts Tagged ‘E.C. Segar’

A Poem for Popeye


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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Readers of E.C. Segar will know the characters Alice the Goon and George W. Geezil, who shared the stage of Thimble Theatre with stars like Popeye and Olive Oyl. In his collection Dove Legend (Porcupine’s Quill, 2001), the great Canadian poet Richard Outram wrote an unexpected love poem devoted to the pair. Here is Outram’s “Diapason in Thimble Theatre” (with commentary after the poem).


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To Be (or Not to Be) Continued


Thursday, July 22, 2010

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Well, one of my initial impetuses for the way [Wilson] was told was that I was reading the collected Peanuts editions […] And to read them in sequence, it felt like a new way to tell a story, in a way. I mean, that wasn’t Charles Schulz’s goal was for you to read them all at once, that you’re supposed to read them every day. But to read them in sequence, it really felt like it was replicating the way that you remember the passage of time in memory. It – you know, you remember just these sort of high moments, emotional highs and lows or certain resonating moments of a given year.

—Dan Clowes, interviewed for NPR’s Talk of the Nation

I wonder if Clowes is right that Charles Schulz did not intend for his strips to be read all at once. When Schulz first began Peanuts, of course, the idea that the entire strip would eventually be collected in its entirety would have been beyond imagining, but at a certain point in his career, it must have become obvious that the vast bulk of his strips would, in fact, be collected into books. That must have influenced the way he created them on some level, right? Even if he was primarily concerned with the strips as standalone, daily reads (and he presumably was), it could not have escaped his notice that they would eventually be read together, and that after their initial publication, that would be more or less the only way they would be read. One of my co-bloggers (or our readers) might know more definitively what Schulz thought of all this, if he ever said anything about it publicly. (more…)

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Crumb’s Visual Sources: Research Note 2


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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Robert Crumb is a great synthesizer, a great adopter of other people’s stylistic conventions which he cunningly redeploys for his own ends. Any in-depth analysis of Crumb has to come to terms with the way his art is not only great in itself but also serves as a veritable museum of 20th century cartooning. Most comics criticism tends to have a literary bias, so this visual aspect of Crumb has gone under-discussed. But I don’t think we can understand Crumb’s art without reference to his many allusions to earlier cartoonists (not to mention painters and illustrators).

Here are a few notes that might help future research:

1. Wolverton. Crumb has often talked about his debt to Basil Wolverton, going back to the sacred cover of Mad comics #11. Interestingly, Wolverton and Crumb both adapted the Bible. I’d like to know how familiar Crumb was with Wolverton’s religious art (now available in the great Fantagraphics book The Wolverton Bible).

Above is a scene from Wolverton’s rendition of the Noah story.

And here is a panel from Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Notice that in both Wolverton and Crumb, the choppy waves have an oddly static look, as if they were sand dunes rather than water.

2. Billy DeBeck. I’ve never heard Crumb talk about Billy DeBeck but Crumb’s big-nosed style, especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s, had a strong touch of DeBeck’s bounciness.

Above are two excerpts from Billy DeBeck’s work, one showing the character Bunky (the very eloquent baby) and the other Lowzie, the bonnet-wearing hillbilly.

And here is Crumb’s Big Baby (from Big Ass #1, 1969).

3. E.C. Segar. The creator of Popeye is much loved by Crumb.

Here is a panel from a Segar Thimble Theatre page (July 19, 1931). Pay close attention to the crowd, a jumble of noses.

And here is Crumb’s cover for Weirdo #14, where he pays homage to Segar’s crowd of fools.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

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This one’s for Dustin Harbin.


This Shouldn’t Be!


Thursday, May 31, 2007

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I hope this doesn’t mean that Fantagraphics is having trouble selling their absolutely amazing E.C. Segar Popeye collection (because I really need them to finish publishing the entire strip), but the book is currently selling for an unbelievably low $5.99 on Amazon right now. If you haven’t read this book, you are missing out on something truly wonderful.

(via The Forager Blog)

UPDATE: As Aaron White points out in the comments, Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics says that everything is fine, and that this sale “does NOT mean that we’re remaindering copies, or that the book is doing badly — in fact, POPEYE VOLUME 1 was our third best-seller for 2006, behind that year’s two PEANUTS books.” Jacob Covey confirms.

UPDATE II: And apparently, the big promotion is already over, and it’s back up to around $20. Still a bargain, though, really.

UPDATE III: I’m sure these sales won’t last much longer either, but two other near-essential volumes are 80% off right now: Carol Tyler’s Late Bloomer, and Gene Deitch’s Terr’ble Thompson.

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He Yis What He Yis


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

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This first volume of E.C. Segar‘s complete Popeye comics is going to be very tough to beat for comic book of the year—and this has been an amazing year for great comic books.

I don’t know if Popeye is the best comic strip of all time—or even what that would mean, exactly—but it is without question my favorite. It’s been said before, but if you only know Popeye from the enjoyable but repetitive Fleischer cartoons, you really don’t know the character at all. (The late, lamented Robert Altman‘s flawed film version got closer to the original Segar flavor, with a large cast of eccentric characters and understated humor, but it ultimately misses the mark as well.)

The original strips are funny and fantastic (in both senses of the word). They’re the rare adventure strips that are driven as much by character as by plot. With its bizarre creatures (the Goons, the Jeeps), indelible characterizations (Wimpy, Olive Oyl), and impeccable timing (each day’s strip building beautifully on the one before), Thimble Theatre worked as only a serialized comic strip could. It’s like early Wash Tubbs mixed with Mutt and Jeff, but with monsters and witches and hamburgers—and three times as funny! I can’t imagine higher praise than that.

Read the book. And save room on your shelves for the next five volumes. They keep getting better. Which means “comic book of the year” is pretty much foreordained for a while, at least until 2011.

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