Elzie Crisler Segar’s Sailor Man with the Spinach Can has made a triumphant return to comics thanks to IDW and the talents of writer Roger Langridge (Snarked!) and artist Bruce Ozella. Popeye #1 is a testament to the timeless nature of Segar’s creations. Generation after generation, Popeye the Sailor Man has connected with audiences and offered wholesome fun.
Besides headlining his own comic strip for over eighty years, the character of Popeye has proven to be a multimedia juggernaut who has been featured in everything television and cinematic cartoons, video games, and a 1980 live-action feature film starring the incomparable Robin Williams as Popeye.
IDW deserves credit for running with the earlier interpretation of Segar’s creations rather than updating and adapting characters to fit in with the times. This move demonstrates a deep respect for the characters Segar made famous and an understanding exactly why and how Popeye was successful in the first place.
To recapture that success, IDW has also brought together the right men for the job. Langridge captures the genuine voices of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto, and J. Wellington Wimpy. He expertly nails the idiosyncratic nature of every character and the world they inhabit.
Artistically, Ozella opts for not trying to outdo Segar. He succeeds in simply and stylistically cleaning up Segar’s original work while capturing the timeless designs and physicality of these characters.
This book is more than a nostalgic trip through Memory Lane. It is a solid all-ages book that has the two qualities are often missing from all-ages books, heart and charm. Popeye is proof that when something stems from reverence and passion, it can transcend eras and continuously speak to generations.