Sunday, March 18, 2007

Id of the Sailor man...

There's more to Id than meets the popped eye.

I've been watching the old Fleischer Popeye's lately, and while I still love the animation- the inevitable ass-whipping Popeye lays on Bluto gets a little tiring after a few cartoons. The Elzie Segar comic strips, however take the Salty Sea Dog on great extended adventures with lots of dimension.
The good people at Fantagraphics Books have recently released the first volume of Popeye, an oversize book collecting the early adventures in B&W Daily and Color Sunday strip form. I highly recommend it for the cartoonist and cartoon fan, especially if your only exposure to Popeye & Co. have been the Fleischer & Paramount cartoons. ( If, heaven forbid, the only Popeye cartoons you've ever known of are DiC's "Popeye & Son"- go out to the bookstore now, even if you have to sleep in the doorway until they open up in the morning, and buy this book!) These strips have a completely different scope to them, lots of adventure. And they're funny. Laugh-out-loud funny.

The always-amazing Oscar Grillo has been posting some very imaginative re-mixes of "Popeye" and his pals, so lately the ol' sailor has been dancing around in my head. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Grillo!

I'll use any excuse I can get to take out the Higgins Ink and Windsor & Newton series 7.

After all... I yam what I yam.

Now go to: ... and get inspired too.


Ry's Photo Blog said...

Great inkwork as usual Vin. You never cease to amaze me with your line control.

bigjiminy said...

Vince, this is very cool. Popeye is still one of my heroes.
Ya know, we need a Popeye in the Whitehouse!
Vote Popeye in '08

Vince M. said...

I thought we already had a Popeye in the White House, Jim. I'm "Rootin' for Rudy" in '08!
(I'm hoping this will be the only time politics comes to light on this Blog)

Ry, as ever, thank you for the encouragement. You're a great friend.

Kimberly M. Zamlich said...

Are you also a fan of Little Nemo in Slumberland? That guy, Winsor McKay blew me away. At one time I was looking for his republished comic strip (put into a hard cover book, at the library), but it seems hard to find. I hope they publish again. I never got to read it.

Vince M. said...

Just google: Little Nemo in Slumberland, Kim, and you'll find all kinds of books and DVD's. Some items are pricey, others are very affordable.

Did you know that there's an animated film?
Check it out.

Vince M. said...

Boy, this blog is turning into a Customer Service Department!

Oscar Grillo said...

Thanks for the push, Paesá!
I LOVE FLEISCHER'S POPEYE...That's what animation was all about. I detest the term "illusion of life" coined by Disney's snobs...Fleischer animators (and many of them also worked for Disney) knew that action should be caricatural to be believable. They've got a LOT of mileage animating Olive. Beautiful!..."Goonland" is one of the best animating films ever made....And God bless Segar for creating it!!!!

Kimberly M. Zamlich said...

I heard there was an animated film, but i also heard that it was not very good.

Vince M. said...

God Bless Segar is right! And God Bless you too, Oscar. Your wonderful posts inspire me every day. I love your new profile photo, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the original one.
Centanni, Oscar!

Kim- I agree with the opinion you've heard of Nemo's animated film. I share it, bit I was curious about it. I believe it doesn't hurt to see what's out there, and learn from the good films as well as the poor ones.

PJ said...

I’m thinking there is an appeal to the whole Popeye experience that works only up to a certain age, the age being the one where something as simple as beating up the bully provides a solution to the problem. After a point we come to realize life demands more complicated solutions from us and Popeye’s attitude towards the world loses its shine.

Vince M. said...

You keep talkin' about Popeye like that and I'll beat you up! ; )

But I do agree. In my opinion Popeye was handled best by Segar, Sagendorf and Bobby London in comic strips and books. I love the level of animation quality and visual storytelling in Fleischer's films, but the formula hasn't aged well.

By the same token the Fleischer Superman's seem repetitive to me now as well. Maybe it's a problem caused by video packaging. These films were made to be seen one at a time on a movie screen. Then TV came along and we'd get 3 of them back-to-back, and that still worked. Now we can sit there for hours and watch one after another, and I think it dulls the experience, and highlights the repetition of style.

On the other hand I can watch Warner Brothers cartoons by Clampett and Jones for days and remain interested.

PJ said...

The Warner Brothers cartoons (as well as the Tom and Jerrry) are unique in the sense that although they rely on slapstick humor, they are also extremely well written with a lot of the comedic references being targeted towards adults.

The Popeye and Superman as with most cartoons are straightforward in their storytelling.

Those Looney Tunes were treated as true cinema in a way most cartoons weren’t (and aren’t). As a matter of fact, some of the things which totally escaped me as a child watching Looney Tunes are much more biting and relevant to me as an adult.

Vince M. said...

Exactly. And there wasn't a FORMULA. I hate formula! it's the crutch of the lazy storyteller.

As far as Tom & Jerry go, I can take it, or leave it. More of the same. Repetitious and dull. But they are beautiful to look at.

It's nice to know that someone is looking through this blog as a living magazine and thumbing through it, instead of only looking at the latest few posts.

Thanks, PJ. I hope you're doing well.

PJ said...


Of course - I find I am really happy to have discovered your blog, I only wish I had known about it sooner.

It’s actually terrific to see a lot of your work - you are one very talented man indeed!

Very soon I’m going to be updating the sidebar and when I do I will be sure to include a link to you.

Definitely stay in touch.