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I presume the other fella’s name was, like, Blutus.

§ February 15th, 2023 § Filed under cerebus, popeye, retailing § 11 Comments

So last week, will richards remarked

“I seems ta remembersk a parody featuring Squinteye the Sailor (again, more appropriate than Popeye?), but can’t recall which comic that was in.”

I replied in the comments, but thought I’d point it out On Main, as the kids say. To the best of my knowledge, Squinteye stems from the 1985 release Cerebus Jam #1. This was a comic in which the regular Cerebus team, Dave Sim and Gerhard, team up with another creator to produce a short story. Said creators include Murphy Anderson, Will Eisner, and noted Popeye fan Terry Austin, who co-produced this tale of a Young Cerebus encountering a grizzled sailor down at the docks.

Eventually Squinteye bumps into an old adversary:

…who is dispatched in the typical fashion:

…leaving something of an impact on our junior main character:

According to the story notes in this issue, Sim provided very rough sketches of “Squinteye” and Bluto on the pages, which Austin very meticulously finished, including details like the dead Jeep on the (magically-changing) shoulder.

Like most Cerebus art in the main book, it’s quite stunningly detailed, and Austin fits right in with his legendary illustrative talent. It’s well worth tracking down a copy of this comic…all the stories found within are a lot of fun.

• • •

Snark Shark takes a bite at me with

“twitter: ‘somebody’s breaking street date’

“How much trouble can they get in for that?”

Mr. Shark is referring to a couple of posts I made on the somehow-still-functional-mostly Twitter about a customer who came in Tuesday and indicated a DC book released that day had already been purchased by him days earlier. Given that specific books’ release date was the 14th, if he bought it earlier, then some other retailer sold it too early. (Assuming the customer isn’t mistaken of course.)

Putting street dates on books allows retailers to ship them to stores early, to allow for more time to process and count the received goods, as well as report shortages and damages more a more timely replacement. For example, I received DC Comics due for release on the 21st this past Tuesday, the 14th. My shipments from Penguin Random House (containing my Marvel and IDW and, soon, Dark Horse orders) generally arrive the Friday before the following Wednesday’s release date, though Monday is relatively common too. Diamond shipments with goods for sale Wednesday arrive on that week’s Tuesday, but the occasional delay or UPS error can mean I’m scrambling to process the order Wednesday morning before opening for the day.

For the most part, assuming no shipping delays, this is a lot easier on me than in Ye Olden Tymes, when everything showed up on Wednesday for that day’s release, and hopefully the shipment arrived early enough in the morning that everyone rushed through getting the order counted and shelved and maybe pulled for the comic savers before opening. Unless UPS decided to start at the other end of its route and we ended up getting our boxes at, like, 4 in the afternoon, which did happen. (Eventually we just had the boxes held at the UPS center, and I would pick them up on my way to work that morning.)

Now for early shipments to work, that requires retailers to stick to the street dates, and Diamond used to send out “secret shoppers” to keep tabs on stores and make sure they weren’t breaking street dates by putting material out too early. From all accounts I’ve heard, these distributor spies were obvious as all hell, but to the best of my knowledge I’ve never dealt with any, either at my previous place of employment or at my shop. So, either I’ve never been tagged as a secret shopper target, or my secret shoppers knew what they were doing and actually remained secret. Not that it mattered, since I never broke street dates.

To get to Snark Shark’s question, finally, as to what would be the penalty for selling stuff too early — first they’d stop shipping stuff to you early temporarily, and then I’d have to assume if you’re a repeat offender they’d stop the early shipping permanently. That would mean whatever poor bastard got caught breaking street dates would be back to the Bad Old Process of trying to get stuff taken care of the very morning of its release, which can be done but it’s a pain in the ass.

So anyway, don’t do this, fellow retailers. And again, not that I’m sure this happened in the first place in this instance, as I’m half-convinced this particular customer was mistaken about getting that comic early.

• • •

Again, sorry for the dearth in entries the last few days. There’s a period in March where I have a bunch of medical stuff all in a row, so it might happen again. Be forewarned, be forearmed!

I could only get “Ojo Saltón” in Google Translate by splitting the name.

§ February 6th, 2023 § Filed under popeye § 10 Comments

So Reader John sent along a weird item from his own Vast Comics Archive, feeling that I’d be a good home, or at least a home, for this 1974 release. Identified as “Popeye L-2″ on the indicia, this is an educational item for both Spanish and English readers:

This is the front cover:

And here’s the back:

The Grand Comics Database entry calls this a “flip-book,” which it isn’t, really. The front and back covers are both oriented in the same direction, and the pages don’t suddenly turn upside-down halfway through necessitating turning the whole book over to start reading from the other side. The book just reads straight through, with this intro on the inside front cover:

Then you get this story (reprinted from Charlton’s Popeye #96 from 1969, first in Spanish:

…then in English:

…along with other short strips (in both languages) and vocabulary tests and such.

I’ve got to say…I’ve never seen a copy of this. The GCD entry says there are other comics like this from King Features…issue #L-1 is Beetle Bailey, for example.

Anyway, this is a neat item, so big thanks to John for sending it my way!

SPECIAL BONUS: yet another straight-on look at Popeye’s anatomically improbable face:

The pipe doesn’t go in your nariz, Popeye!

The Popeye Clone Saga.

§ December 9th, 2022 § Filed under popeye § 8 Comments

So I had a couple of questions in response to Wednesday’s post about the Popeye action figures:

Daniel T sez

“How do you feel about the Sunday Popeye by Randy Milholland or the ‘manga’ Popeye?”

I have to admit I hadn’t been following the new Sunday strips by Milholland very closely, for no really good reason other than “I forgot.” I have seen a handful of those strips, however (and here’s the most recent one as of this writing) and I think they’re perfectly fine. I’m glad New Popeye Drawings are still being generated on the funny pages (paper or virtual) and keeping our favorite Sailor Man alive and well. I really do need to keep on these strips. And the new Nancy too.

Now, “Manga Popeye” — I gotta say, that didn’t ring much of a bell for me. First thing I thought of was Momeye from Antarctic Press:

And I gotta tell ya, the first time I saw this comic, it took a few seconds for my brain to register what it was I was seeing. I’m still not sure it does.

Anyway, news of the actual thing slipped past me somehow, but now I’ve learned a cartoonist doing a fanfic Popeye Vs. Goku comic got tapped by King Features to do an actual, authorized manga-esque version of the classic character. The official page for the strip is here, and it appears the plot revolves around discovering the deal with Popeye’s missing eye. I’m sure whatever’s uncovered will be as canon as the story of the eye-loss related here, but…hey, it looks pretty good. Seems to mix the two styles nicely. A complete digital edition of the comic can be ordered for $5, but I’m hoping there’ll be a print edition someday.

“And will you be getting Popeye Variations?”

I think I saw that on Kickstarter, right? It’s a book featuring many artists’ interpretations of Popeye, as well as selected strips and some of the IDW covers, and it sounds great. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it through one of my distributors for the shop because I’d love to see it.

• • •

Real Live Comic Book Artist Les McClain popped by to relate

“I designed two waves of non-poseable PVC figures for this line with a whole bunch of obscure characters but I don’t know if they’re ever going into production.

“The Flash Gordon/Phantom PVCs I designed are coming out, so maybe?”

Oh, you designed those? I saw them on the manufacturer’s site and they look great! I hope to see more!

• • •

joecab pulled up to the curb to say

“Is the package set by Stephen DeStefano? Because it sure looks it and it’s gorgeous.”

I did some Googling and I can’t find DeStefano’s name specifically connected to these items, but apparently he’s The Guy when it comes to providing illos for licensed Popeye product, and has been for a couple of decades. It does look a bit like his work, doesn’t it? These are wonderful packaging designs, which I hate because it means I can’t discard the wrapping after I open ’em up to pull the figures out. Oh, well.

• • •

Snark Shark bites off more than he can chew with

“I always thought [Brutus and Bluto] were the same guy!”

They are in fact two different guys, with Brutus created to replace Bluto after the Popeye cartoons switched animation studios. The reason why the replacement was made (and also why it was unnecessary in the first place) you can read about on Mark Evanier’s site, which is how I learned the story.

“‘the nephews Pupeye, Peepeye, Poopeye and Pipeye’

“There’s gotta be some SERIOUS inbreeding going on in that family tree!”

I’m going to assume genetic experimentation in an attempt to create a vast legion of super-sailors.

• • •

Thanks for your comments, pals (as well as for all the kind replies on my anniversary post), and I’ll see you next week…possibly with less Popeye talk.

I’d even accept a two-pack of O. G. Wotasnozzle and Sappo.

§ December 7th, 2022 § Filed under merchandise, popeye § 9 Comments

So of late I’ve been trying to get my comic collection at home reorganized and put away properly, part of which is clearing out some material and bringing it to the store for sale. As such, I’m trying to keep the intake of new stuff down to a dull roar, both comics and other related goodies. But there comes a time in every person’s life when one must acquire a full set of high-end fully articulated and accessorized Popeye figures.

Just released from Boss Fight Studio, this figures are “1/12th scale” (or between 4 and 6 inches tall, depending) and come in these nicely designed packages and are accompanied by a selection of accessories (extra hands, hats, that sort of thing).

Castor Oyl, pictured above, needed some extra special accessories to attract the “Castor who?” crowd and thus gets Eugene the Jeep and the Whiffle Hen.

Olive comes with Swee’Pea, as well as an extra head with an angry face:

…which sadly does not quite live up to the swell expression drawn on the packaging.

The most massive figure of the bunch, and rightly so, is Bluto:

…who comes with a few extra hands and his little cap.

The package opens up at the side, where a flap is held in place by a couple of inserted tabs (one covered with a clear sticker to keep it shut). I had trouble opening it up, putting a few tears into the slots in which the tabs go, but I don’t know if that’s a design flaw or just my clumsy, clumsy mitts. If only I had swappable hands like Bluto.

Anyway, this is what it looks like inside:

And here’s Bluto in all his ornery glory:

He doesn’t need an extra swappable head…THIS ONE IS PLENTY:

There was an additional item in this series I passed on, which was a “Popeye Vs. Bluto” set featuring basically the same designs as above but with “battle damage” (bruised knuckles, black eyes) that I passed on.

These are some beautiful figures that I absolutely didn’t need but picked up anyway. The second series should be here in a few months (with the Sea Hag, Wimpy, Poopdeck Pappy, and Popeye in his white sailor suit) and after seeing these, I can’t wait.

If there’s a third series, I’m hoping for Alice the Goon, and wouldn’t it be great to get a Brutus to go with Bluto? Or a Ham Gravy to go with Castor? Or even King Blozo!

I mean, after that we’d really be entering real Deep Cut territory, getting into Olive’s parents and Rough House and the like. More likely we’d see more design variations on the main characters (such as one based on Bluto’s appearance in Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor).

But what I really want is a 4-pack of the nephews Pupeye, Peepeye, Poopeye and Pipeye:

Just don’t do a “Popeye Whistling Through His Missing Eye variant, I’m begging you:

Please for the love of God do not show up in my comments to explain the different spellings.

§ September 23rd, 2022 § Filed under collecting, popeye § 10 Comments

So a new post in the ongoing multiverse talk series just wasn’t coming together, and as such today I’ll instead post this Popeye comic I just acquired for the personal funnybook collection:

This is issue #166 from 1982, pretty late in its run (which would end in 1984). And since I’ve already been asked, no, it has nothing to do with the 1936 cartoon Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, in that the the Sindbad in the animated feature is spelled with two Ds.

My eventual goal is to get my ungainly mitts on every issue of this publisher-spanning Popeye run, though I think I’ll be satisfied with having all the early Dell numbers in their IDW reprints.

Also of note is that there is no #93, lost in the transition between Gold Key/Whitman/Western/whatever and Charlton in the late 1960s. Plus, ssues #160 and #161 were not published during the later Western run at the title. And just to make things difficult, two issues (158 and 159) were only sold in those 3-packs, so I’m probably looking at paying more of a premium for those (but not as much as what I’d be paying for the similarly-distributed Uncle $crooge #179 — sheesh).

You see what I’m up against. Ah well, I hope at least I can find that #158…I need to learn more about THE MOODUC:


§ September 24th, 2021 § Filed under low content mode, popeye § 3 Comments

…but it’s been a long day and I’m Too Pooped to Post™. So let me leave you with this image of the forthcoming Castor Oyl action figure:

…which I almost passed on ordering along with the Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl figures I was getting for myself from the latest Previews, until I saw that Castor had “Eugene the Jeep and Bernice the Whiffle Hen” included in his package:

Look, I know I’m weak. Also, did you know the Whiffle Hen predates Popeye his own self in the funny pages? IT’S TWOO, IT’S TWOO

Okay, definitely time for beddy-bye. See you pals on Monday.

Not from Grant Morrison’s The Filth.

§ February 25th, 2019 § Filed under popeye § 5 Comments

This is a hell of a thing to find as a back-up story in Popeye #108 (June 1971), especially it being the anniversary issue an’ all:

I feel like the funny animal potential for whales hasn’t been fully exploited. I mean, sure, there’s this, and I’m probably not remembering comic strip characters and such. But I think we can agree “whales” are far behind “dogs,” “cats” and probably “anteaters” in the Humorous Representation of Animals catalog.

And just to confirm, yes, I’m pretty sure those are supposed to be whales. Just look at this:


Yes, I know Tumbleweeds is done.

§ August 10th, 2018 § Filed under all star batman, comic strips, popeye § 9 Comments

So Dave Carter of Earth sez in response to my last post, he sez

“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.”

…And yeah, that was something I was wondering about myself the other day. Well, in sort of a roundabout way, I suppose. I was wondering if we would ever see, arising from the newspaper funny pages, a strip that would achieve the near-universal recognition and/or influence of, like, Garfield, or Peanuts, or Dilbert, or even Popeye.

I mean, sure, it’s not like the strips can’t be found, and even if people don’t have newspaper subscriptions, which nowadays is more and more likely, the comics can always be found online at the various syndication websites. But there that requires readers to go and seek the strips out, versus the strips coming into your home every day with the latest copy of the Oxnard Press-Courier (or your local equivalent). Near effortless daily access for readers of all ages compared to a readership comprised of at least slightly tech-savvy folks (or at least with tech-savvy relatives to show ’em how to get the new Marvin)…there’s going to be some attrition.

And not to mention selection…the latter group won’t be getting the full page or two of every strip in the paper, where they’ll at least be aware of Tumbleweeds, probably spending the couple of seconds to read it even if they don’t like it. Instead they’d likely pick and choose which strips they want to follow…no inadvertently scanning over strips they didn’t want to read, no basic knowledge of the strips they don’t see.

I’m making a lot of assumptions here. My thesis here essentially boils down to “comic strips aren’t the universal experience they used to be,” which I don’t think can be too heavily argued against, even if the reasons for this are up for debate. Is there going to be another licensing juggernaut like Garfield that spawns out of the traditional newspaper strip format? Or even from web-only strips? Surely there will be some marketing success with other strips, but only if they make it into other media, and not nearly on the scale of a slothful orange cat or a neighborhood filled with neurotic children.

Anyway, we were talking about Popeye. Popeye, of course, was immensely popular nearly from the get-go, with his introduction in the comic strip in 1929, and the famous cartoons, and, inexplicably, the chicken restaurant (RIP that tie-in license, by the way). But now, in 2018, like Dave said above, it seems like the number of opportunties for kids to learn about Popeye are drastically reduced.

The comic strip runs reruns of old Bud Sagendorf dailies, while still producing new Sunday strips by Hy Eisman. I don’t know how many subscribing papers Popeye has, but it can’t be too many, possibly only a fraction of the number it held in its heyday. You know, like almost every other strip.

The cartoons, which seemed ubiquitous on TV in my youth, have been relegated to the specialty channels. Not sure how often they’re shown, or what the viewership is, but certainly the numbers are lower there too.

And I don’t know how many kids are stumbling across the Official YouTube Popeye Channel…maybe some, I’m sure. Oh, and don’t forget the popular attraction in Malta built around the still-standing sets for the 1980 Popeye movie that starred Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.

I admit some bias…I don’t see Popeye on TV or in the paper or just by happenstance over the course of my day (well, yes, except at the store), so I’m assuming nobody does. When I see anything Popeye-related, it’s when I seek it out…like renting the archival DVDs of the original cartoons from Netflix, or watching, like I did very recently, that 1980 live action adaptation (short review: beautifully designed, wondefully cast, stupefyingly presented), or buying a specific issue off the eBay.

As it turns out, when I received that very Popeye comic in the mail at the shop, my niece (who used to be the 10-year-old niece I’d occasionally mention on this site and who is now my 21-year-old niece, in case you needed another shove towards the grave) happened to stop by to say hello. I said “hey, look what I got in the mail!” and she replied “hey, Popeye!” so she definitely knew who the character was. A while later, thinking about what Dave said, I asked her about how she knew about Popeye. Her reply was that, when she was younger, her dad’s parents would sometimes let her read her dad’s comics from when he was a kid, which included the adventures of our favorite gazookus which hates all palookas. And she would see Popeye cartoons on the very same cable network I’d linked above while pooh-poohing its viewership.

So, you know, it’s Popeye. He’s too tough to be forgotten, and he’ll find a way to connect with kids somehow. Maybe the audiences aren’t are huge and widespread as they once were, and it’s not as easy to just happen across any of his material, but he and Olive and Wimpy and Bluto (and Brutus) are all still hanging in there, waiting for that next child eventually to discover what E.C. Segar created for all of us so long ago.

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

About as on-the-nose of an image as I could find for this Fourth of July.

§ July 4th, 2018 § Filed under popeye § 1 Comment

From the very aptly-named “Patriotic Popeye” from 1957…and I hope you all have a good holiday, where applicable

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