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Popeye returns to comics in new series from IDW

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm •  Published: April 27, 2012

One of the most famous comic-strip characters of all time appears in new comic-book adventures starting this week. Popeye the Sailor, created by E.C. Segar and first appearing in the comic strip “Thimble Theatre” in Jan. 1929, is starring in new comic-book stories from IDW Publishing.

The sailor with huge forearms, who gains incredible strength from eating spinach, is something of a forefather to the superheroes who became popular starting in the 1930s. The first IDW “Popeye” cover references this, as the design is in homage to the “Action Comics” No. 1 cover that introduced Superman. Popeye and Superman have

another historic tie — both were featured in cartoons from Max and Dave Fleischer’s Fleischer Studios. The Popeye cartoons began in 1933 and were produced through 1957. Popeye’s comic strip is still being produced today.

The writer of the new four-issue comic-book series is Roger Langridge. Langridge’s “Fred the Clown” was nominated for multiple comics awards, including the Eisner, Harvey, Ignatz and Reuben. Langridge recently wrote “The Muppet Show” for Boom! Studios and “Thor The Mighty Avenger” for Marvel. His humor series “Snarked” is published by Boom! Studios.

Artist Bruce Ozella joins Langridge. The comics will feature Popeye and friends including Olive Oyl, Bluto, Wimpy and Swee’Pea.

“I grew up reading Segar’s Popeye and we’ll be bringing his sensibility to our new series,” said by IDW’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Ted Adams, in a news release.

Langridge said he’s long been influenced by E.C. Segar.

“Ever since I was a kid, the two cartoonists who have had the biggest influence on me have been Carl Barks and E.C. Segar, so getting a chance to write Popeye is quite a thrill,” said Langridge in a news release. “I’m especially pleased that IDW have decided to go with a Segar-flavored interpretation. As much as I like some of the later versions of the character, for me, it’s those early strips where the magic really happened. Just as well Segar drew everybody with big feet, because Bruce and I have some enormous shoes to fill!”

IDW’s Dirk Wood, recently named vice president of marketing for the company, spoke about the new “Popeye” comics at the ComicsPRO annual members meeting earlier this year.

“You feel like you’re reading a book straight of the newsstand in 1955,” he said. “It’s classic stuff.”

The first issue will also feature a variant cover by Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who wrote the screenplay to the 1980 Roger Altman “Popeye” film.

- By Matthew Price
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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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