Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Greatest Hits

I believe in art. I believe in its capacity to entertain us, to enlighten us, to challenge us and to change us. But above all I believe in its ability to punch us in the face. And nobody did that better than EC Segar.

Of course we're all familiar with Popeye the Sailor Man and his penchant for fisticuffs, but unless you've read his origins in Segar's Thimble Theatre strip, you have no idea how truly dynamic and visceral his unique brand of cartoon violence could be. Segar would bend the concepts of anatomy and physics to his will in such a masterfully unhinged way that the fight scenes threatened to spill off of the comics page and onto your breakfast table.

Segar passed away in 1938, and Popeye continued under the care (and in some cases I use that term quite loosely) of other entities. Thankfully Fantagraphics has spent the last several years publishing those handsome oversized collections of Segar's Thimble Theater, from which I have assembled this small repository of Popeye punching things.

Fig 1. Popeye punches a guy with a knife

Fig 2. Popeye punches a cowboy

Fig 3. Popeye punches a giant snake

Fig 4. Popeye punches his doppelgänger

Fig 5. Popeye punches Sherlock Holmes

Fig 6. Popeye punches a caveman

Fig 7. Popeye punches a yuppie

Fig 8. Popeye punches twins

Fig 9. Popeye punches a cop

Fig 10. Popeye punches a whole town basically

Fig 11. Popeye punches a horse

Fig 12. Popeye punches an innocent bystander

Fig 13. Popeye punches a boxer

Fig 14. Popeye punches a boxing sasquatch

Fig 15. Popeye punches a shifty businessman

Fig 16. Popeye punches like 3 dudes at the same time

Fig 17. Popeye punches a guy while in drag

Do I really need to keep going with these? I think it's pretty clear that Segar is the funny pages' all-time master of the wallop. And that I spend entirely too much time thinking about Popeye. But what can I tell you? I yam what I yam.

2 comments:

Brad said...

Love this. I HAVE to start reading those Popeye books that I have. I'm still on Volume 1. Also, I haven't bought Volume 4 yet.

Kenny said...

Yeah, I haven't bought Volume 4 just yet either. Supposedly the Plunder Island storyline is a highlight of the strip, so I'm looking forward to it.

Catch up!