Posts Tagged ‘comics’

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.

Degenerate Matter

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

At Kingdom Kane (a 'blog focussed upon the art of Gil Kane), Mykal Banta has reproduced The Birth of the Atom. a story which contains what I have long regarded as an epitomal sequence of what I call comic-book science: Ray Palmer leaps over a wall in pursuit of a meteor seen in the distance, about to hit the Earth.Ray Palmer excavates a meteor composed of about 1000 cu cm of degenerate matter from a white dwarf star, buried about two feet in the earth. 'So heavy-- I can hardly lift it!'Palmer, holding the meteor, looks at in amazement. 'Puff!'Palmer carries the meteor back to his car. 'Puff!'

As I noted to Mykal, a white dwarf star has a density of about 1 million grams per cc, and the meteor appears to be about 1000 cc, so the whole thing should mass at about 1 million kilograms.

It's not apparent why 1 million kilograms should stay compressed into such a small volume. In the case of a dwarf star itself, the gravitational mass of the star as a whole creätes sufficient force, but this is just a fractional piece of such a star. It ought to fly apart as a terrible burst of radiation. But let's assume that this somehow doesn't happen, that the meteor just stays together in a nifty one-liter piece.

The meteor that creäted Meteor Crater in Arizona was under 30,000 kilograms. Ray wouldn't be excavating the meteor at all; he would have been killed by the shock waves from the impact. Those who later did excavate the meteor wouldn't find it buried just a couple of feet deep.

At the surface of the Earth (which itself masses about 5.97 × 1024 kilograms), this meteor would weigh about 11 hundred tons, but Ray picks it up! He subvocalizes a few puffs, but he manages to carry the thing back to his car! Now-a-days, they don't make cars that can carry 11 hundred tons. I don't think that any grad students can lift 11 hundred tons. And, really, Ray ought to be sinking into the ground, as even if he has big feet and has both feet on the ground he is applying over 7000 kPa of pressure to the soil.

It might be suggested that the meteor, while perhaps of material that were once compressed to a density of about 1 million grams per cc, were subsequently uncompressed, and that what Palmer recovered were only, say, 100 kilograms of material. But I don't know how, then, it would be recognizable as originating from a white dwarf star. For example, the core of the sun compresses matter to a greater density than 100 grams per cc.

Don Martin Dept.

Friday, 16 April 2010

By way of Thad Komorowski's 'blog, I learn that Barnes & Noble is selling copies of The Completely MAD Don Martin for $22.48 (list $150) and that it falls under a buy-two-get-one-free offer on bargain books. One gets free shipping on orders of $25 or more.

Up-Date (2010:04/20): I am informed by the Woman of Interest that the sale is at an end.

Salt of the Earth

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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

[image of the first appearance of Popeye]

Outlaw Superheroes

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

By way of the Comic Book Catacombs, my attention is drawn to

The gist of the article is that a considerable amount of comic book material from the '30s and '40s seems never to have been legally registered for copyright, and registration of copyrights on other material not renewed. (Gorman cautions against taking his results as definitive.)

Ron Paul to the Rescue

Tuesday, 28 October 2008