Posts Tagged ‘comic strips’

All that He Is

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Although I'm something of a fan of E[lzie] C[risler] Segar, what I like most when it comes to Popeye are the animated cartoons made by the Fleischer Studios, before they relocated to Florida. (Some years ago, the Woman of Interest got me a copy of Popeye the Sailor: 1933 – 1938, which was exactly the perfect collection for me.)

Anyway, I thought that I'd present my single favorite bit from those cartoons: [animation of Popeye jumping from a stool and beginning to pump his fists] For a better sense of what is happening here, watch Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937), or at least the minute and 48 seconds starting at 6:12.

Popeye and Olive and Wimpy are the restaurant of an oasis village, when there is a warning that Abu Hassan and his band of forty thieves are out on a raid. The villagers go into hiding (as does Olive). Indeed, the thieves approach this very village. Popeye hears a great commotion outside, leaps from his stool, and begins pumping his fists.

Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves is, over all, not actually my favorite Popeye cartoon — which, off the top of my head, might instead be Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), though I'm not sure — but this one bit is perfect. Popeye isn't sure what he's about to confront, but he's prepared to fight it! Popeye is emotionally prepared to fight anything,[1] and he expects to do so with his fists!

Popeye is, in important respects, a simple man. He has many apparently unexamined certitudes, leaps to conclusions, and often does things that are very inappropriate. And he knows that he's simple; that's part of what he's saying with I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam! Popeye doesn't typically think his way out of a problem; it doesn't even seem to occur to him to try. If thinking were suggested to him, then he'd probably confess that he couldn't. He uses his fisks 'cause that's what he's gots. And, ultimately, they've always seemed to be enough.

But, in the moral sphere, he is consistently doing his very best. Not just what others might see as enough, but his best. I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam! isn't used to rationalize shirking. Popeye is prepared to fight whatever comes through that door because, if it's bad, somebody has to fight it; and, if Popeye doesn't fight it, well, then who will?

BTW, on Thursday, I received copies of the first three volumes of the Fantagraphics Popeye reprints from Edward R. Hamilton, mentioned in a previous entry; they had no remainder marks. (And the transaction seems otherwise to have been perfectly satisfactory.)

[1] Except in-so-far as he has no personally acceptable means by which to fight a woman.

He'll Bring the Books

Monday, 21 February 2011

The first three volumes of the Fantagraphics Popeye reprints are currently available from

Edward R. Hamilton Bookseller Company
PO Box 15
Falls Village, CT 06031-0015
for $9.95 apiece, with a flat s&h charge of $3.50. (Connecticut residences would also need to add sales tax, whatever that might be.)

The ordering numbers are

I include order information for Volume Four but note that it is $19.95, rather than $9.95. (NB: I do not know whether any of these copies have remainder marks. [Up-Date (2011:03/04):: I received copies yester-day; they did not have remainder marks.])

In order to get the flat s&h charge of $3.50, you'll have to mail an order with a check or money order. To order on-line with a credit card (which may be more convenient, and reduces risk that the stock will be exhausted), go instead to (a domain distinct from, but you'll pay an additional 40¢ per item.

Battling Bugs and Keeping-up with the Joneses

Monday, 18 October 2010

A few weeks ago, I got a standard seasonal influenza shot. None-the-less, a bit over a week ago (more than two weeks after the vaccination) I became ill with what seems an awful lot like a flu. It can be hard to distinguish a bad cold from a flu, but a even a bad cold should be over in a week or less. It's also possible that I've been hit by more than one infection (one opportunistically following on another), but Ockham's razor argues for one cause. So I'd say that I contracted a flu that was not covered by the vaccine.

I've tried to get some work done; but, mostly, I've felt that the last week-and-something has been lost.

During this episode, while dreaming in a feverish state, I invented a very fine pair of characters for Li'l Abner. (An immediate problem is that Li'l Abner ceased to be an on-going story in late 1977.)

One of these characters is Amicable Jones, who is known in Dogpatch as someone who has always been able to settle any dispute amicably. The other character is his father, who was unfortunately unnamed in my dream but whom I'll here call Irascible Jones. Irascible Jones has not been in Dogpatch for a great many years. He's instead been all over the world, creäting conflicts or involving himself in disputes that are never subsequently resolved.

Now it has been learned that Irascible Jones is returning to Dogpatch. Amicable Jones doesn't much want a reünion; not so much because he has some generalized fear of new conflict, but specifically because, to settle his own disputes amicably, he has often given the other party something that, in fact, properly belonged to Irascible Jones.

Salt of the Earth

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Happy birthday, E[lzie] C[risler] Segar!

[image of the first appearance of Popeye]

The Pictorial Arts

Monday, 20 April 2009

Last year, I posted a 'blog entry recommending that my readers visit Golden Age Comic Book Stories, where are found not just golden age comic book stories, but more generally a great many wonderful examples of the art of illustration.

By way of Golden Age Comic Book Stories, I've been led to another 'blog, the Pictorial Arts, to which I also want to give a strong recommendation. Like Golden Age Comic Book Stories, the Pictorial Arts features many examples of outstanding illustration. The Pictorial Arts differs in various respects. Most strikingly, its owner, Thomas Haller Buchanan, writes something of what the illustrations (and often the illustrators themselves) have meant to him, the rôle that they have played in his life.

Buchanan is himself a professional artist of superior ability; one gets to see some of his work

[portrait in chalk by THB]
image used with kind permission of artist
at another of his 'blogs, People Skills. At the Pictorial Arts he says little about that ability or about that work, but instead writes about work of other artists that he has found compelling, from the time that he was a small child up to the present. One may see not what he can produce, but that he could and can see as an illustrator would, and what he saw and sees that made him aspire to become an artist himself.

One of the things that I respect about Buchanan is that he posts about the work that he appreciates, regardless of its social standing. But what has me actually following his the Pictorial Arts is that I like so much of the work to which he directs attention. Some of it is by artists whom I have long admired; in some cases it is work that I too first encountered as a child and which made a strong impression on me. In other cases, I'd not seen it at all before I found it in his 'blog.

Lost Worlds, and Caspar Milquetoast

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Its name notwithstanding, Golden Age Comic Book Stories has been about a lot more than comic books (of any age). It has been simply awash in terrific illustration for pulp magazines and especially for fantasy work of the same genre. I encourage my readers to set aside a little time for a visit there.

Meanwhile, over at Hairy Green Eyeball, Mr Green posted some scans of the Timid Soul from The Best of H.T. Webster. I'd first encountered Caspar Milquetoast, the Timid Soul, back when, in high school, I discovered books on the history of the comic strip. In what I saw, Mr Milquetoast was cleverly presented as the most yielding of men. (Though I don't enjoy the cases where he is confronted by a genuine bully.)

I hadn't known or had forgot about The Best of H.T. Webster, first published in 1953 and reprinted at least twice. I was prompted by Mr Green's entry to look for a copy on I found a first printing of the first edition, with the dust jacket in less-than-good condition, but the rest of the book in fine condition, at Lorrin Wong Books (his own site doesn't seem very functional, but he can be reached by way of Biblio and at in Los Angeles for just $7 (plus $3.50 s&h). I ordered it early in the morning of 16 December, Mr Wong got it in the mails that same day, and it arrived on the next.

Less Is More

Monday, 16 June 2008

By way of zenicurean, I have been shown that Garfield is hugely improved by the removal of, uhm, Garfield: