Thursday, September 11, 2014

MARVEL MONEY

I joined a Facebook group called "Marvel UK Comics" today. I'm already in one called "Make Mine Marvel UK". I'm not yet sure what the difference between them is, if any. They are both nostalgic for comics I grew up reading.

I recognised the banner used on the Marvel UK Comics Facebook group, as it is on a cheque I was very excited to receive back in the 80s when I had a drawing published in Transformers...

As I mentioned on the group, that Spider-Man and Hulk cheque got a funny look in the bank. It was like trying to use Monopoly money in the real world.

Friday, August 22, 2014

DUMP at BROKEN FRONTIER


Andy Oliver has written a review of my comic Dump over at Broken Frontier.

Have a read here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

TREEHOUSE COMIC 3


I have a 4 page story called "Room Tour" in Treehouse Comic 3.

Cover by Norrie Millar.

The third issue was launched at Tin Roof art studios in Dundee yesterday. STV ran an interview with Stuart McAdam on it here.

A treehouse installation was built and looked terrific...

Treehouse entrance.
Avril Smart playing games.
Blurred Norrie Millar and Andy Herd.
 Comics were on sale:
Treehouse issues 1-3.
Andy Herd at the Treehouse solo projects table.
Jules Valera's artworks.
There was an exhibition of original art...
Jules Valera preparing.
Exhibition in full swing.
Neil Scott and David Peter Kerr man the table. Damon Herd chatting behind them.
Exhibition still in full swing.
There were artists in who came along and got set to sketching as proceedings went on...
This was the first exhibition I've been in where I was onsite. It was a new experience to have folks studying your work. What's the etiquette? Are you to introduce yourself as the artiste? I decided to leave people to it...
Viewing 'Room Tour' undisturbed.
A great night. I feel lucky to be involved in Treehouse Comics. They have a lot of talent and enthusiasm and are an inspirational bunch. 

The exhibition is on for the rest of the week, so head along to Tin Roof for a look if you can make it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

DUMP at HIGH-LOW


Rob Clough has written a review of both issues of my comic Dump over at High-Low.

Have a read here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

COMICS UNMASKED: WORTH A LOOK


I visited the Comics Unmasked exhibition running at The British Library recently.

Please go here to The Comics Grid and see what I wrote about it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THOSE PEOPLE ARE NOT GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY


After having given their biggest characters to Fox and Sony in order to avoid going out of business altogether, Marvel Comics made enough money from their share of the success of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Bryan Singer’s X-Men films to firstly stay alive and then later start up their own movie studio. Against the odds, they somehow had a huge mainstream hit with the character Iron Man, and struck gold with the Avengers movie. Now though, Marvel have pretty much ran out of already popular and famous characters. They are aware of this, and quite cleverly, if cynically, factored it in to the first trailer for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy...


“Who are you?” 
“Star Lord” 
“Who?”

Then a roll call of the characters as Peter Serafinowicz is told who they are.

I remember Rocket Raccoon from The Hulk’s 20th anniversary issue, so that’s 1982. He was a bit of a joke character really, with his name a play on the Beatles song. Hulk even complained about him on the cover...


A bit later, there was a lovely looking 4 issue series drawn by Mike Mignola, prior to Hellboy...


Gamora was a terrific character from Jim Starlin’s Warlock series in the mid 70s...


Groot was another one who guest starred in Hulk; in the 1976 Annual drawn by Sal Buscema, to be exact. Groot was originally drawn by Jack Kirby in the old Marvel monster comics. This story had a bunch of old weirdos reappear so the Hulk could smash them to bits one after another. Quite literally in Groot’s case…


Starlord was a good comic by Chris Claremont and John Byrne in the late 70s. Some visceral violent action, shades of Star Wars – “a sith lord” even turns up...


A bit later I bought black and white Star Lord comics aimed at a slighly older audience, with Carmine Infantino drawing a sexy lady called Caryth. Here is her emotional (and topless) death scene...


Star Lord’s costume is completely different in the trailer, I observe.
And wait, why is Star Lord in this film ? Why are any of these people in this movie?
Because I read Guardians of the Galaxy too, and none of these jokers were in there.


The Guardians of the Galaxy were first featured in Marvel Premiere 18 in 1969. I was lucky enough to pick it up in the late 80s for 10p in a second hand bookshop.

It had intriguing concepts . The characters were from different planets in the solar system and so their bodies had grown differently due to their native atmospheric conditions. As well as being a good sci-fi idea, this also gave scope for the characters being distrustful of other “races”.
Then there was poor old (very old) Vance Astro, who had set off on a thousand year space mission in hibernation to the nearest star system, only to find humanity had developed faster than light travel and arrived there hundreds of years before him. They still gave him a hero’s welcome, but he was tortured by the events. And the Badoon were scary villains (I thought the Judoon from Doctor Who owed something to them).


Beautifully drawn by Gene Colan, as you can see above.

I recall the Guardians reappearing to guest in Avengers comics with a few more characters added. 

At some point Marvel must have completely rebooted the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, ditching the original characters, and the movie is based on that.

I feel like I turned up for a Temptations concert and nobody’s left in the band.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

COURTING CONTROVERSY – COMIC CREATORS AND ONLINE ACCESSIBILITY


This is the seventh in a series of guest posts I'm running over the summer. I asked folk to write on any topic at any length - as long as it's comics related. Next up is Gary Smith...

  
I imagine that most comic fans will have an opinion about John Byrne, but the nature of this view will probably be heavily influenced by when readers were first exposed to his work. For fans who were first exposed to his work in the 1970s, he will perhaps be  best remembered as the young hot shot artist who cut his teeth on Iron Fist and helped take the X-Men to new heights of popularity. For fans who began reading in the 80s he may be forever linked with the Fantastic Four or his revamp of the Superman franchise. For fans in the 1990s it will perhaps be his run on She-Hulk or the launch of his Next Men title. Despite this huge catalogue of well received work in the comics industry, it's likely that fans introduced to John Byrne after the year 2000 will associate him less with his creative output and more with the forthright views he expresses through his website and forum, regularly giving his honest opinion on characters, creators and developments within the world of comics. From the controversy that surrounded his comments on Jessica Alba's casting as Sue Storm to the coining of the term Byrne-stealing (essentially arguing that reading a book and putting it back on the stands without purchasing it amounted to theft), in recent years there have been no shortage of newsworthy quotes arising from Byrne's use of social media.


My thoughts drifted to John Byrne after reading the recent Marvel title, All New X-Factor issue 7. In it, two characters have a discussion about whether a creator should be separated from their work, and whether it is justifiable to read a book - and therefore implicitly support - an author that may have questionable views. The character of Quicksilver is outraged that his team-mate, Danger, is reading a novel by Scott Dakei, a prominent anti mutant campaigner. Danger, for her part, argues that the content of the novel have nothing to do with this issue, and that the author's personal politics do not factor into the novel at all. This debate struck a chord with me because while John Byrne is perhaps the most prominent example, comic fans now enjoy a level of unprecedented access to creators, engaging with them in a way that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.

1960s Marvel was built on the illusion that it was one big, happy community. Creators were given nicknames, letters pages were answered in a more informal manner; even caption boxes and editors' notes were written in a jocular style. Yet for all this informality, fans at the time were unlikely to know where the creators stood on popular issues (aside from generic representations of the national mood, such as the fear of communism). As the new wave of Marvel writers emerged in the 1970s, including Steve Gerber and Steve Englehart, it was apparent that many of them were politically to the left of their older colleagues, but unless a reader ventured into the world of the fan press it is unlikely that they would have been able to definitively pinpoint their views. 

In the modern comic community, with the majority of creators having a presence on Facebook and Twitter, as well as their own Blogs or web sites, it's relatively easy for fans to work out just where their favourite creators stand on certain issues. Countless creators are only too keen to tweet their thoughts on every conceivable subject, from the serious to the mundane. The question is whether any thoughts so expressed should have an impact on the way that their work is perceived.

In a perfect world the answer would be no. As long as the offensive opinions aren't reflected in their work then there should be no reason not to buy it, and readers should be able to enjoy the work on its own merits. In practice, though, this can sometimes be harder to do. Personally, I have been somewhat surprised by the number of people I have recently seen on Facebook vowing to remove from their friend list anyone that they know to have voted for UKIP in the recent elections. To many people, casting a vote in this way, despite being people exercising their democratic right to vote for a party of their choosing, appears to be so horrific that it outweighs every favourable quality those individuals may possess.


Alongside John Byrne, Dave Sim is another creator who became as famous for his outspoken views as he was for his creative output - perhaps even more so. His essays in each issue of Cerebus highlighted his views on a variety of subjects, with many relating to his views on woman. Courting much controversy, Cerebus, and much of Sim's work, is viewed by many as a platform for him to express his worldview. That raises an interesting point. Sim is undoubtedly a talented creator, yet many readers left Cerebus before the end of its run, growing weary of the increasingly specific direction that Sim's views were taking the title down. Let's imagine that Sim stuns the comic world by agreeing to work on a mainstream superhero - say, Green Arrow. Should it matter that he has strong opinions that may be objectionable to some? If someone admires him as a creator but despises his politics, is there any reason for them to boycott a run that is unlikely to feature as distinct an authorial voice?

There are no easy answers to this topic and I can fully understand why some readers may be so put off by a creator's behaviour that they may boycott their work, but what advantage is gained in doing so? If the creator hasn't advocated anything illegal or morally dubious, is this still enough to transform the way their work is perceived?

For me, much of it comes down to admiration. I want the creators that I admire to also be people that I can admire, ones that share my views and act in a way that I think is appropriate. Sadly, this isn't always the case, but as I grow older I'm increasingly accepting of the fact that life is made up of all sorts of people, with a huge variety of views. If a creator produces fantastic work then perhaps that is enough. If they're also what I would consider a 'decent' person, then that's even better. Or if I really want to preserve my enjoyment of my favourite creators perhaps I should refrain from social media and recapture some of that mystique that creators had to earlier generations of fans. Sometimes, it must be said, ignorance really is bliss.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

DC THOMSON'S KINGSWAY BUILDING

I visited DC Thomson's Kingsway offices today.

As the weather was beautiful and sunny again, I thought I would take some photos of the pictures of Dennis the Menace, Desperate Dan and Oor Wullie that now adorn two sides of the building. Hopefully you'll get a sense of the scale of them, and how fun they are.

Here we are approaching the building on the Mid Craigie Road (misspelt Mid Craige Road on the street sign)...


Here's Oor Wullie at the front of the building. His bucket can fly in this depiction and is smashing its way out the window...


And here's a closer photo of Dennis and Dan...




The characters are all reading the local papers put out by DC Thomson.


Mid Craigie is also where I went to primary school. The building was just across from the DC Thomson offices, but is long gone now. The school gates remain though...


To finish off, here's the street adjacent to the school gates...




Sunday, July 06, 2014

THE NINTH ART IN FRANCE

This is the sixth in a series of guest posts I'm running over the summer. I asked folk to write on any topic at any length - as long as it's comics related. Next up is Stuart Mudie...


They like their comics here in France. Pretty much any reasonably-sized bookshop is sure to have a dedicated section of graphic novels and other comic books, and in the larger establishments you will often find people sprawled on the floor reading their favourite tomes from cover to cover. I have never understood quite why this is tolerated, but I imagine it has something to do with the national respect for what the French call "the ninth art".

Where does this respect for comics come from? It is certainly widespread; I can't think of any French homes I have visited where the owners do not have their BD (short for "bande dessinée") on display in their bookcase alongside the most serious of novels. My daughter owns a comic book version of Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables", and even I have added a few comics to my library since I've lived here.


I suspect it may be at least partly related to national pride. Comics is something "la Francophonie" (because any consideration of "French" comics should really include the French-speaking part of Belgium as well) is very good at. Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke and many more have all achieved international renown, and the comic book festival organized in the little town of Angoulême each year is very much the Cannes of comics.

There is also the fact that, in the UK for instance, people who do not regularly read comics tend to see them as somehow "childish", whereas this is most definitely not the case in France. At least two of the French comics I own are political satires criticising the government of Nicolas Sarkozy. Reading a comic in public in France is no different from reading a novel - both are treated with the same level of seriousness. It is the content that matters, not the form.


I have a good example of this. A friend of mine works at LaRevue Dessinée, a new quarterly publication that aims to be a news magazine in comic book form. I was given a copy of the first edition as a birthday present last year, and I can confirm that after reading a couple of articles, you soon forget you're reading a comic and just focus on being educated or entertained by the information therein. Can you imagine such a publication existing in the UK?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

POPEYE THE SAILOR'S THOUSAND TRANSFORMATIONS ACROSS MEDIA

This is the fifth in a series of guest posts I'm running over the summer. I asked folk to write on any topic at any length - as long as it's comics related. Next up is Anna Zanfei...


This paper makes reference to a developed version of the notion of networks of remediation outlined by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin in the book Remediation. As an example of networks of remediation I chose the case of comic strip character Popeye the Sailor Man because it represents a case where the process of remediation and translation across old and new media is being applied through many decades as repurposing, borrowing and adaptation of originally paper-based content. The case of Popeye is complex and it is not a linear replacement of a previous medium format with a new medium but the meaning is made with reference to chains of remediation. In particular the comparison will be between the content of comic strip Thimble Theatre and the live action film musical Popeye, with some references to the various groups of televised animated series. Fictional character Popeye was created and drawn by E. C. Segar for his comic strip series Thimble Theatre in 1929. E. C. Segar loved puns as attested through his homophonic signature Ci-gar accompanied by an image of a smoking cigar. Part of the content of comic strip Thimble Theatre together with its successful character Popeye immediately spread and further developed into other media formats. The most famous remediation of comic strip The Thimble Theatre is the televised animated cartoon series Popeye the Sailor Man featuring simplified and repetitive stories with fewer characters in episodes lasting 8 minutes. 

 The visual part of the animated cartoons is also revealing of changes throughout time in what is to be considered a social practice no longer acceptable by the media in the English speaking countries.  The animated cartoon Poopdeck Pappy aired in 1951 presents some racist stereotypes, which were absent in the original comic strip story and will completely disappear in the updated version of the 1937 comic strip story adapted to a musical action film in 1980. The 1952 animated version of Poopdeck Pappy could be judged as racist because the original goon protecting Poopdeck Pappy is replaced by funny dark skinned natives who worship King Pappy. They are represented in a satiric and distorted way: they are cannibals trying to cook Popeye, they are called savages, and they express themselves with non-linguistic sounds like oogla boogla ooga booga. All young women are wearing grass skirts and they dance for Poopdeck Pappy treating him like a superior being. At the end Poopdeck Pappy frees kidnapped Popeye, stacks the black men on spears and hangs a sign on them that says cheaper by the dozen which likens the black men of the story to steaks for sale. A less known remediated product is the 15 minutes  radio programme Popeye introduced by a repetitive song refrain I’m Popeye the Sailor Man (twice), I yam what I yam ‘cause I yam what I yam. Both the expression I yam what I yam and the complete name Popeye the Sailor Man that compose most part of the introductory refrain had already appeared as titles of two theatrical animated shorts. The radio program the Gang at the Zoo (1930) is a dialogue characterized by the presence of several synonyms of amazed: I am surprised, I am flabbergasted, and the expression blow me down so distinctive of the character to become the title for another theatrical animated cartoon short (1933). In this radio program Popeye eats four bowls of cereal to enhance his muscle strength, instead of reaching out for the usual can of spinach. The language is unmistakably Popeye’s idiolect previously portrayed through the written mode of the language inside comic strips speech bubbles. In the audio format it is not the spelling but rather his pronunciation that reveals that it is Popeye. An example is a devoiced velar \k\ allophone, either added to some words as in mouskey or musckles or used as substitute of dental /t/ in final position as in \ˈeləfnk\for elephant and \ˈpēnəks\ for peanuts and some mispronunciations as \pˈkülər\ for peculiar that are not found in the original comic strips. He uses reduced forms typical of standard spontaneous spoken dialogue, as attested by the omission of the voiced fricative \th\ in \əm\ in uttering the locution feed them. This pattern is then erroneously applied to the locution with others resulting in \ˈwitˈətərs\. He then uses the non-standard auxiliary form ain’t for both is not and haven’t, colloquialism as me think, and ungrammatical inflectional morphology as in: has yous, I says, and they is.

 A videogame spin off followed the film version and it was released by Sony for Nintendo in 1982. As every videogame the background story is borrowed from the film version and the new medium environment offers the user the possibility to perform as Popeye in the double task to capturing Olive’s hearts or musical notes and at the same time avoid his antagonist Brutus. A can of spinach enhances the avatar strength but grabbing it is made difficult by the wicked Sea. 
Popeye across media 
Popeye is characterized by his physical and verbal distinctive features and his honest behaviour despite his love for fighting. The visual mode allows the viewer to recognize him through his bulgy forearms with a tattoo, a very big chin and a lazy eye. His outfit is the suit of a sailor and the last distinctive trait is his corncob pipe that he does not smoke but keep it in his mouth anyway.



The verbal mode has many variants at the phonological, morphological, syntactical levels and many contradictions at the semantic level. His idiolect is a mumbled, mispronounced, colloquial language with some catch phrases such as: blow me down. The most salient features that represent social actors in the 1980 live action musical film version are their distinctive physical appearance as well as their verbal and kinetic behaviour. In the case of Popeye it is his bulgy forearms, his squinty eye, his corncob pipe, his sailor suit, and the scripted mispronounced colloquial English full of grammatical errors. Popeye’s spoken mode of the language follows a pattern of elisions as well as substitutions of phonemes and additions of extra grammatical sounds. Popeye’s creative language follows a pattern of substitution, addition and elision at the morphological and phonological level. He then uses colloquialisms and makes some grammar mistakes.


Spoken language across media 

Modified words are created through morphological substitutions or modifications or by adding extra sounds and by dropping others. There are morphological modifications of affixes. Colloquialisms are used in abundance as for example the random elision of auxiliaries and the use of non-standard contraction ain’t for the whole declension of the verb to be: am, is, are, not; the pronoun me is given an extensive syntactic and semantic coverage that includes the adjective my so that he may say me Olyve. Grammatical errors are morphological as for the use of wrong verbal paradigm, for example: I catched for I caught, or the use of a colloquial incorrect morphological suffix as in I knows for I know. In a complete sentence of a 1929 comic strip, Popeye adds morphological errors to syntactic errors, to mispronunciations so that the grammatical sequence if I'd known this, I'd have stayed ashore. I’m only human becomes If I’da knowed this, I’da stayed ashore. I’m only hooman. This last pattern of substitution is later found in the radio broadcasted spoken conversational turn that says: Well, blow me down, has yous ever seen the likes of such a pecooler \pkuler\ animal.


In a small extract from the film Popeye, a dialogue between Popeye and his dad Poppa, some patterns that are repeated throughout the film emerge.



The dialogue is:




Popeye: Poppa! Pap! Ik's me, yer orphink son!



Poppa: I hates snktiment ! I yam disgustipated! Gnats to you! Phooey!




In the above quoted conversational exchange between Popeye and his father the word orphink is a morphological blend of orphan and infant pronounced \infink\ because of the substitution of dental \t\ with velar stop \k\.



The word disguastipated is again a blend this time between disgusted and constipated.



In the same film, always Popeye’s idiolect attest the following linguistic phenomena: addition/insertion, substitution, elision.



The elision or omission of auxiliaries in the ungrammatical question - You know what I done? Where the grammatical version is: - Do you know what I have done? The constant use of wrong declensions is exemplified in the sentence - When he catched me and thrung me which contains a substitution of caught with catched and of throng with the throng. The technique of substituting sounds or phonemes and suffixes is particularly productive as it is revealed in the following word variants: inf[i]n[k] for infant; depressi[gan] for depressed; intelligen[sk] for intelligent; phy-sci-kisk instead of physicist. The technique of inserting extra sound or extra phonemes is sometimes used by the same character as it appears in the invented word humili[gr]ation. The scrambled word annualversity is the result of modified morphology of the original noun anniversary.



The comic strip has sometimes even more complex variants at the spelling level that go beyond the possibility of phonemic variants. The modified words octIpus and octipussuses  are so hard to pronounce that a character in the story comments: -Would it be easier to say octopuses? Popeye’s answers is: I always gets too many syillilables in that word. The word offspring is spelled with many variants:  oxprinf, exsprinf and orfspring but the original offspring is never there. In the comic strip the wrong declension is also used as for example in I gived for gave or for given in Popeye’s sentence: Ya gived me yer ship, I ain’t used to havin’gived things to me for the grammatical sentence: You gave me your ship, I am not used to be given things.



Some variations are probably attesting a defect in the way Popeye talks. Examples are the substitution of s with x that transforms the verbal form asking in the variant axking where there is a switch of the sound sequence \sk\ with the sequence \ks\. Other common substitutions Popeye’s idiolect are: the substitution of voiceless fricative \θ\ with plosive bilabial \p(h)\ in sumpin’ \sʌmpn\ or for standard \sʌmθɪŋ\ something and with alveolar occlusive \t\ in munts /mənts/  for standard months /mʌnθs/.  There are also substitutions where variation appears only at the level of spelling as in sum \sʌm\ which is homophone of the original some \sʌm\. There are of course some elision typical of non-standard spontaneous conversations such as the elision of final alveolar stop \t\ in the adjective just resulting in jus’ \dʒʌs\ and the elision of nasal (ŋ) in  \sʌmpn\ for \sʌmθɪŋ\. The substitution of one words with another such as sedimental for sentimental which is also a distortion of the geological term sedimentary. This phenomenon happens both in the film and in the comic strip and it has a reference to some kind of uneducated spoken English that often confuse and mispronounce or misspell Latin-derived words.



 Most of the animated cartoon shorts series follow the same creative rules by adding extra sounds and by substituting suffixes. Examples are found even in the titles of the animated cartoon series: STUperstition instead of superstition; OUT to P-UNCH instead of out for lunch; insect to injury instead of insult to injury; I don’t Scare instead of I don’t care; immaginIMation instead of imagination, Aminals instead of Animals. A trait of Popeye’s idiolect that is a constant in the his verbal representation across media is the phonemic substitution of the voiceless dental alveolar stop or occlusive \t\ with a voiceless velar stop or occlusive \k\ at the end of a word. The following examples illustrate the variation phenomenon: renk instead of rent in the utterance room for renk; ya knot insulk me poppa instead of do not insult my Papa (or Pappy or Pop).



Recurring resources across media



Carmen Maier’s analysis of short videos for marketing purposes that also promote a specific values and social practice is based on the identification of recurring resources and of the process of legitimation among other things.



In the case of 84 years old character remediated in many different media a recurrent resource across all media is its counterfactual humor and nonsense. This resource for meaning making is definitely affecting the semantic level of the language as well as all other linguistic resources such as spelling, morphology, syntax, and the phonological levels.



In the musical film the counterfactual humour is consistent with the comic strip style. Examples of consistent across media counterfactual humour and nonsense, are present in the following conversational exchanges taken from the 1980 live action musical film:




Popeye: I ain’t man enough to be no mudder (meaning mother)



Popeye: If I was going to be SweePea’s mother, I should’ve at least let Olive be his father. Or viska versa.




Popeye: We got the same squinty eye



Grandpa: what squinky eye?



Popeye: that’s going to be hard for you to SEE.



Popeye: We even got the same pipe, Pap.



Grandpa: You idiot, you can’t inherit a pipe.




Popeye’s legitimation

Other recurring resources and borrowed content are: the can of spinach which is central part of every story in the animated series. In the radio series the can of spinach was substituted by the sponsor’s product: Wheatena breakfast cereal. In the film the can of spinach undergoes a verbal legitimation when Popeye’s father invites pushes Popeye to eat his spinach to win the fight against Bluto. It undergoes a visual legitimation because a can of spinach is part of Popeye’s father’s buried treasure. A kinetic legitimation is present across media because Popeye acquires his super strength as direct effect of eating spinach.



Bluto’s actions delegitimize him: he is a kidnapper and he acts out of greed. Evidence of his wrong doing comes from both kinetic and visual modalities. Olive Oyl verbally delegitimizes Bluto when she claims she would not be engaged again with him, not for the third time. Her role is that of evaluator of human behaviour and she often telling men what they are as a result of what they do.
Popeye is legitimized by acclamation on the part of the people of the village in the live action film because he hits the tax-man, he defeats Bluto and he gets rid of the giant Octopus who was trying to eat Olive. In the live action film the finding of Popeye’s father and the presence of a Giant octopus are part of borrowed content. Both storylines are very much simplified from their original version of the three stories of the thimble theatre 1936: Popeye and the Jeep, Popeye and the Mystery Melody, and Popeye's Search for His Poppa.


The story and the characters are legitimized or de-legitimized through their actions and their behaviour according to the social values of the time. A handful of Popeye cartoons during the war years were racially offensive towards the Japanese. The delegitimation is verbal as, for instance, in cartoons where Japanese are referred to as jap-pansies and it is also visual because they were portrayed with vicious, buck-toothed faces. Japanese soldiers are beaten up in a now banned racist World War II Popeye cartoon called Seein’ Red, White‘n Blue. Parts of Popeye cartoons are now edited out because of their rather offensive representation of African-Americans. On the other hand some early Popeye cartoons are maybe surprisingly against violence toward animals as it can be seen in 1935 Be Kind to Animals and other similar cartoons of the same years. 



Conclusion 

A comic strip character can live 85 years and still be in good shape when the meaning making of its stories is constantly re-adjusted to the current social behaviour and when the re-contextualization across media can be effective. Popeye was not a good videogame maybe because the verbal language disappears in videogames and I would say that maybe it is this mode that offered the funniest real element in a surreal world. Today the character appears to appeal only nostalgic readers and Popeye makes his cameo appearance in animated cartoons such as the Simpson next to famous actors, singers and politicians like Hillary Clinton.