I would absolutely wear Charlton-branded clothing if such a thing existed.

§ August 8th, 2018 § Filed under charlton, popeye § 4 Comments

So anyway, I came across a picture of this cover somewhere online and decided right then and there I had to have it:

Now, I may have mentioned at some point that I’m a fan of the Charlton Comics era of Popeye comics, from the late ’60s into the ’70s, and I tend to keep ’em for myself on the rare occasion one happens my way in a collection. However, this issue, I just couldn’t wait for the tides to drop one on my shores…I sailed out into the internets and netted my very own copy.

What I was hoping for was what was seemingly implied on the cover…”the story of Popeye” as in “the life story” with at least several pages devoted to his adventures when he looked like this:

Alas, ’twas not the case, which means this comic I talked about a while back still stands as the only definitive fictional biography of the one-eyed (or is he) sailor man.

What we actually get in this here funnybook is a little more literal delivery on the cover blurb, in which the actual origins of Popeye in the comic strips is explained:

…and briefly mentions the supporting characters;

…but it sort of glosses over the fact that Popeye had appeared in a strip that had already been running about ten years by the time he showed up. And that Olive wasn’t just “there at the beginning” of Popeye’s introduction, but preceding his appearance entirely. Darn your lackadaisical scholarship, nearly-50-year-old Charlton comic!

The Bluto/Brutus name mix-up is referenced:

…though the name “Bluto” isn’t actually mentioned, but I’m sure a kid interested enough in Popeye to read comics about him probably knew it from the original cartoons.

After another page covering more characters and relationships (such as Wimpy, and the Jeep), we get this great full-page splash of artist George Wildman drawing himself surrounded by the various denizens of this series of Popeye:

…wearing of course the official Charlton Comics work shirt issued to all employees of the company at the time. Writer Joe Gill even gets a namecheck for himself in there, which is a nice reminder that this comic wasn’t the one-man show I’d assumed. And that’s pretty much it for “The Story of Popeye,” as the next three pages are a short…um, well, Popeye story where Brutus abducts Olive and Popeye goes to the rescue and there’s fisticuffs and mayhem and it’s pretty much just a small, simple quintessential example of what Pipeye, Peepeye, Poopeye and Pupeye’s uncle is all about.

Again, that last splash is a wonderful drawing…I’ve written before about how the Charlton Popeye will, despite its apparent simplicity, occasionally surprise you with its artistry. I was hoping there would be some eventual comprehensive reprinting of this run, like the recently concluded IDW series featuring the Bud Sagendorf comics, but I guess there just isn’t enough money in it. That’s a shame, because the world could always use more recovery of classic cartooning, and not just have it relegated to the forgotten back issue bins and dusty attics of history where only oddballs like me can appreciate it.

from Popeye #108 (June 1971) by Joe Gill and George Wildman

4 Responses to “I would absolutely wear Charlton-branded clothing if such a thing existed.”

  • I should be more jaded about this sort of thing but I’m genuinely disappointed that we didn’t get stories about Baby Popeye and Li’l Popeye (Or the Adventures of Popeye When He Was a Boy) in that comic book as implied by the cover.

  • John says:

    I picked up ~70 Charltons, including this one, at a recent show and was just rebagging and filing them this week. Based on the premise of the cover, I was also hoping for more of a ‘This is Your Life Popeye’ kind of story, rather than the short that we received. Though clearly expecting Alter Ego levels of information from a 1970’s kids comic was raising the bar a bit too high on my part.

    Like you Mike, I was also ‘created’ about the same time as this comic. The worst part of your entry though was noting that this comic is (as are we) approaching fifty years old, and noticing that the time span between the dates on the cover (1929-1971) is lesser than the dates from then until today (1971-2018). Mylar clothing, anyone?

    Oddly, that 42nd anniversary issue thing, apparently started with this comic, never really caught on.

    Nevertheless, I was able to pick up some pretty cool comics (assorted issues of Yogi, Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, Speed Buggy and the like) in pretty nice shape, even if this particular issue didn’t quite live up to my wishes.

  • Dave Carter says:

    I wonder if kids these days get exposed to Popeye like we did when we were young? I mainly learned the basics of Popeye mythology (Popeye, Olive, Swee’Pea, Bluto/Brutus, Wimpy, spinach, etc.) though the cartoon, which ran on a local UHF station. But I’m not aware of any way a kid these days would encounter Popeye unless it is purposely placed in front of them by an adult-type.

  • BobH says:

    Odd that they get Segar’s middle name wrong on that first page (“Grisler” instead of “Crisler”), considering he’s usually credited as E.C. Segar.