Popeye (2012) #1
Title: Popeye in the Land of Jeeps
Writer: Roger Langridge
Art: Bruce Ozella
Letters: Bruce Ozella
Colors: Luke McDonnell
Cover Art: Bruce Ozella & Luke McDonnell
Editors: Ted Adams, Craig Yoe & Clizia Gussoni
Publisher: IDW Publishing
After a long absence from the pages of comic books, Roger Langridge and Bruce Ozella have brought him back, courtesy of IDW. Rather than trying to rewrite the character, or “reboot” or “update” or do any of those things that are so fashionable nowadays, the creators of this book dive right into a story that easily could have been produced by E.C. Segar himself… and it’s all the better for it.
In “The Land of the Jeeps,” Olive Oyl’s brother Castor shows up with startling news: another animal similar to their friend Eugene the Jeep has been discovered. Popeye and his crew soon set sail to seek out the mystery of the animal, only to run afoul of some old foes.
This story impresses me on several levels. Langridge doesn’t flinch at all from using some of the strangest and most obscure characters from the old Thimble Theatre series, characters that a lot of the current crop of readers have probably never heard of. And what’s more, he does it without profile pages or long, boring chunks of exposition… readers who are unfamiliar will have to pick up the history through the context… and there’s more than enough context to do it.
What’s more, the writing and art style is very evocative of the old series. The characters fit their old models, the story is the sort of thing the old comic strip did wonderfully, and the pages are densely packed with panels. In a day when the typical superhero comic has three, four, maybe five panels to a page, it’s nothing for this book to cram eight or nine panels full of colorful characters and lots of dialogue. This isn’t a comic book you can read in two minutes and be done with, you need to spend time with this comic, and the experience is all the more satisfying because of it.
Langridge and Ozella haven’t just brought back Popeye, the character, they’ve brought back the classic strip in a way that’s familiar and satisfying for old fans. It’s really a fun read.