Sunday, October 12, 2008

Comics Review: E.C. Segar, The Complete Popeye, Volume I: "I Yam What I Yam!"

This review has been moved to the R. S. Martin website. Click here to read.

1 comment:

Ed Howard said...

While I agree that this first volume is not peak Segar (the second is much better), I can't agree that this material is only of "historical interest." Right from Popeye's introduction, Segar's talent for capturing physicality is apparent -- especially in the energy and enthusiasm of his fight scenes, realized with his impeccable sense of panel composition. His narrative gifts are, even at this late date, not fully realized, and the daily continuities sometimes have a lurching, inconsistent feel when read all at once like this. He was doing a lot of recapping from day to day, certainly not imagining anyone sitting down to read a daily continuity from start to finish in one go. By the second Fanta volume, though, his sense of continuity has already gotten a bit smoother, and the recaps aren't quite as obtrusive. It's as though Popeye's sheer energy overwhelms the necessity to keep recapping things for daily readers. The second volume also introduces Wimpy, Segar's second best character and the source of many great gags.

Anyway, things do get better, but I'd say this first volume is already pretty damn amazing, if only for the quality of Segar's idiosyncratic dialogue and energetic drawing.