Well, I skipped the last few days’ of character post-ups, because, well, I did other art. Not today! I’m newslettering and working on Crogan’s Escape pages, so I’m going to start posting from the backlog of character drawings that I’ve created for such an eventuality.
Today’s drawing is Popeye! If you only know the character from the animated cartoons, you’re missing out. Popeye, who first burst onto the scene as a supporting character in the comic strip Thimble Theater 84 years ago, is one of the most entertaining characters ever created. His comic exploits are no end of funny, and are also quite exciting. Fantagraphics recently put out a full collection of the ten years of Popeye strips created by cartoonist E.C. Segar before his death in 1939. I could not recommend it more highly.
My friend John Arcudi (easily one of the best writers in comics) has also repeated lambasted me for not reading the Saggendorf Popeye collection, which he contends is a worthy compliment to the Segar stuff and better than the majority of comics out there. I intend to rectify that oversight, too, so thanks, John!
Anyway, here’s my Popeye.
The Popeye in the strip didn’t need spinach (that was an invention of the animated cartoon). He was just a super hardcore foul-mouthed nearly unintelligible nautical man of principle who often found himself in jail when he wasn’t brawling. In his first adventure he’s shot sixteen times and lay dying on the deck of his ship (don’t worry; he made sure to punch out the guy who was shooting him first). When Castor Oyle (Olive’s Wash Tubbs-esque brother) tries to drag him below to make him comfortable, Popeye (who is, in fact, MISSING an eye) stands up, punches Castor, and, pointing at the others on the ship, defiantly insists “I’ve lived on deck and I’m goner die on deck,” and then lies back down to die in peace (spoiler: he doesn’t).