CELEBRATES 80 YEARS
Popeye has been fighting to the finish and eating his
spinach in newspapers, on television, on the silver screen, in comic
books and on just about anything you can think of licensing since he
first appeared in Elzie Segar’s THIMBLE THEATER comic strip in 1929.
Although Popeye originally appeared as a rough-and-tumble secondary
sailor character, ten years into the strip’s run he became its favorite
son with readers of all ages. Since that time, Popeye, Olive Oyl,
Wimpy, and Swee’ Pea have become international sensations and symbols
of two-fisted fun and adventure.
This year everyone in Chester, Illinois,
rolled out the spinach-green carpet on September 11-13 with its 30th
annual Popeye Picnic celebration. It was here that EC Segar grew up and
created the strip which was based on some of the city’s more colorful
citizens. In addition to parades, games, historic lectures, costume
contests, radio plays and the unveiling of the latest life-size granite
character statue, the city offered visitors an all-new POPEYE PICNIC
comic book premium, the first such comic produced featuring Popeye and
his pals in over 30 years.
The new POPEYE PICNIC comic premium was
the brainchild of Chris Yambar and his company, PREMIUM POP, a division
of CLI 2.0 (formerly known as Comic Library International). The premium
features 32 pages of original material found nowhere else. Yambar, who
wrote the issue, was joined by fellow artists George Broderick, Jr.,
and Ken Wheaton. Popeye newspaper strip creator Hy Eisman and comic
book artist George Wildman contributed pin-ups for the project. The
book not only allows the Popeye cast to attend the actual picnic
celebration in Chester, it allows Popeye to travel back in history to
meet his creator, the citizens who inspired Olive and Wimpy, and Rocky
Feigle, the man who was the inspiration for Popeye himself.“
Popeye is a true
American icon,” Yambar stated from his studio in Youngstown, Ohio.
“Joining forces with the people of Chester to create a premium comic
honoring the character and his birthplace was a natural. Coming up with
a story line that allowed Popeye to celebrate his 80th birthday
face-to-face with himself…that was supernatural!”
right talent to birth the project was no problem for the award-winning
Yambar, who is recognized for his work on mainline titles such as Bart
Simpson Comics, Radioactive Man, Mister Magoo and
his own creation, Mr.Beat. He quickly enlisted the help of
Pittsburgh, PA’s George Broderick, Jr., (Lost
In Space, I Dream of Jeannie, Speed Racer, The
Munsters) and Rochester, NY’s Ken Wheaton (Futurama, Kolchak,
Buckaroo Banzai), who are lifelong Popeye fans.
Ken would have killed me if I had asked anyone else to draw this
comic,” Yambar laughed. “Working on Popeye was their dream project.
Thanks to the city of Chester, Illinois, and the kind people over at
King Features Syndicate, that dream became a reality. It was an honor
for all of us at Premium Pop to work on such a time-honored property as
Popeye. What a benchmark way to begin our new premium comics division.”
September 11, Eisman and Wildman joined Yambar, Broderick, Jr., and
Wheaton (TEAM POPEYE) for a historic five-man POPEYE PICNIC comic
signing from 4 to 6 PM at the Chester Library. The event duplicated on
Saturday, September 12, from 3 to 4:30 PM.
“There are not enough words in the English language
to describe how thrilled we are with the new Popeye comic premium
produced by Chris Yambar, George Broderick, Jr., and Ken Wheaton,”
exclaimed Michael McClure, Chester’s Popeye Picnic Chairman since 2004.
“After an over-30-year hiatus, this is the first authentic and original
use of the traditional Popeye character in printed comic form. The
world of Popeye fans owes undying gratitude to Premium Pop for the
opportunity to add this tremendously fun premium to their collections.
Every comic enthusiast, whether a Popeye devotee or not, will want to
own a copy.”
"Chester is a wonderful
town," gushed Broderick, Jr., "everyone there is warm and friendly and
they treated us like ROCK STARS!"
For more information
about the Popeye Picnic celebration, visit www.popeyepicnic.com.
Sailor and all related characters are TM & copyright King Features
Syndicate. All Rights Reserved. Popeye is the Registered Trademark of
King Features Inc. and TM Hearst Holdings Inc.
POPEYE PICNIC #1
PICNIC #1 BACK COVER
MEETING OF POPEYE, EC SEGAR AND FRANK "ROCKY" FEIGLE (POPEYE'S
REAL LIFE INSPIRATION) -- Art by GEORGE BRODERICK, JR.
THE MANY FACES OF POPEYE --
Art by GEORGE BRODERICK, JR.