Sunday, November 16, 2014

Popeye (1980)

I confess. POPEYE starring Robin Williams is one of my favorite films. I loved it when I saw it as a kid in 1980 and I love it now. It was one of Robin Williams very first starring roles. Actually, it may have been Robin Williams very first starring roles. He did a great job as my favorite one-eyed sailor. And I felt as far as the actors they chose to fill the roles of the characters created by E.C. Segar THIMBLE THEATRE, it was very well cast.
Heck!! It's even directed by Robert Altman!!
Although I think my favorite bit of casting in the movie was Ray Walston as Poopdeck Pappy. Popeye's long lost father. Perhaps because he might actually remind me of my own Dad.
Cartoonist Jules Feiffer writes his own introduction story for the character that does not really borrow much for Popeye's own first appearance.
However, to be fair Popeye's actual first appearance seems like an afterthought. However, the character was not the original star of the strip and was only intended on being a used for a few weeks before he was dropped. But Popeye proved to be so popular with readers that they had no choice but to keep him.
Which I really didn't mind as a kid that they didn't use the original first appearance as part of the story line because I really didn't know about it.
And it still doesn't bother me. I think Feiffer wrote an enjoyable script filled with all the quirks and nuance's of E.C. Segar's strip and even the Max Fleischer cartoons. And I found this introduction of Popeye just as acceptable.
The movie also includes a fantastic soundtrack by the late Harry Nilsson who seemed born to write music for Popeye.

Even his song Gotta Get Up fro 1971 seems like it could have fit into the soundtrack of POPEYE.
And he did some songs I really liked in the movie like this ditty:

For someone like me who doesn't care for movies with musical numbers, this one I don't mind. I think I like the fact that the songs and the singing is somewhat rough around the edges. Which go very well with the characters Segar created.

I think it's a movie that people really need to give a second chance. If you watch it as nothing more than harmless fun, you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vamping and Stamping...

For the past year or so I've been teaching myself the ukulele. I've been learning a few songs. Mostly ones from 1890 to the 1920s since I have an affinity for that era. However, I did learn the song SOMETHING written by one of my favorite Beatles George Harrison on the uke recently.

Yes I'm not perfect and I admit to it. But I'm enjoying myself enormously. The uke has given me something (no puns intended) to unwind with. I don't have many hobbies and I consider creating artwork my livelihood and NOT a hobby.

And if I were to wait until absolute perfection on anything I'd never get anything done. I'd just be one of those arrogant little toadies with absolutely no talent who troll people's blogs leaving insulting comments.

Incidentally, for those who would like to attempt to leave an insulting remark about my ukulele playing, I should warn you that I do monitor all my comments and most likely your comment will not be published. So you'll waste your breath for nothing.

But if wasting your energy on insulting people is what you live for, be my guest.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bill Watterson

It's been almost 20 years since Bill Watterson decided to cease publication on his beloved comic strip CALVIN AND HOBBES. I feel like Watterson created the last quality newspaper comic strip. I suppose that  statement is debatable. However, that's the way I felt and still feel. It was well drawn. It was well written. And it made me laugh. Three important elements when you are creating something that is SUPPOSED TO BE funny. And which is not always the case in many strips.
Watterson was basically king of the world during that time. He even pushed to have a full page for his Sunday strip so the quality wouldn't suffer. And he got his way! Which earned the ire of fellow creators such as Bill Keane of Family Circus.
I shouldn't speak ill of the dead (but I will anyways) but Calvin and Hobbes is a better strip than Family Circus ever was. Besides, why need extra space to have Billy running around in his little dotted path around the house and backyard to whatever crap he was supposed to be doing. Or a comic drawn by Billy (eternally age 7) because Bill Keane took the day off to shotgun a 40 of Old English with Jim Davis and Cathy Guisewite.
It was a surprise to everyone when Bill Watterson decided to bring his comic to an end on December 31st 1995. A decision that more than irritated many people. Although possibly not Bill Keane who I hear was nursing a hangover from a night of beer pong and jello shooters with Andy Capp creator Reg Smythe from the rumor I just made up now.
I actually respect Watterson for his decision. Sometimes it's good to end something while people still miss it rather than when you've rehashed the same joke like so many comics that came before Calvin and Hobbes.
At the time he stated his interests had shifted in a different direction. And I respect that too. I think it would be a greater tragedy to have had him continue to create Calvin and Hobbes strips only to resent the very characters he created.
Not to mention characters who are STILL beloved by millions. Not bad for a guy who made a decision NOT TO merchandise his characters in any way.
Which made Bill Watterson's new strip such a welcomed sight for me. He has done very little comic work since the end of Calvin and Hobbes seeing his latest strip was delightful in its simplicity. It reminded me very much of George Herriman's Krazy Kat stylistically. But it was so recognizably Bill Watterson.
I'm not sure if this is heralding a series of new comics for Bill Watterson. If not, it's still good to have this one.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Boy and his Turtle!! Submit artwork today!!

Mommy! Mommy! What's that bad man doing to that turtle???

Well folks!! I finally got my lazy hinder in gear and created a button to submit artwork to A BOY AND HIS TURTLE!! What I'm hoping to be a collection of 50 or so illustrations created by artists from around and about the Worcester area celebrating Worcester's own beloved oddity: TURTLEBOY. Also know as the Burnside Fountain. Edited by myself and fellow artist Jon Hansen.

With cover art by Derek Ring!!

I've got a Paypal button up and running for those who wish to submit online. It's a $10.00 application fee which will be returnable if your artwork is not chosen. However, we also added the option if you would like to use your $10.00 fee as a donation towards printing costs. Don't feel like ya have to. It's just an option. Not a prison sentence.

You can send a sample of your artwork to my e-mail at and I will get back to you once myself and Jon Hansen have made our decision.

I'll try to get a tradition submission sheet ready for those who prefer to submit the old fashioned way.

But click on the button below to submit your $10.00. I would wait till you have an image completed before you submit your application feel. Then e-mail me your name and your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you.

Boy and His Turtle Submission Options
And for those who wish to make a snarky comment about all this. I wouldn't. I just won't publish your comment anyways. So you're wasting both our time. To everyone else good luck and happy submitting!!