Above: Popeye sketch by Roger Langridge.
Welcome back to From Earth's End, we're getting the New Year underway with some big comic announcements from local creators. Kicking off today with the news that Roger Langridge, the NZ writer/artist behind such acclaimed titles as Snarked!, The Muppet Show Comicbook and Thor: The Mighty Avenger has been tapped to write a new Popeye series for IDW that will debut in April.
Above: A fun homage cover for Popeye #1, by Bruce Ozella (based on Joe Shuster's Action Comics #1). Copyright IDW/King Features 2012.
Based on the iconic comic-strip by E.C. Segar, this new series will see Langridge team-up with newcomer artist Bruce Ozella, whose art is a dead-ringer for Segar. In a press release from IDW, Language expressed his long-time affection for the character: "Ever since I was a kid, the two cartoonist who have had the biggest influence on me have been Carl Barks and E.C. Segar, so getting a change to write Popeye is quite a thrill. I'm especially pleased that IDW have decided to go with a Segar-flavoured interpretation. As much as I like some of the later versions of the character, for me, it's those early strips where the magic really happened. Just as well Segar drew everybody with big feet, because Bruce and I have some enormous shoes to fill!"
Above: a sample page by Bruce Ozella. Copyright IDW/King Features 2012.
The comic will feature a mix of long and short form self-contained stories, with a denser panel count than most regular comics to capture the original pacing of the strip. As Langridge explained in an interview with Comicbook Resources, "I've deliberately made each story quite dense -- eight panels per page is the norm -- to try and evoke that Segar feeling. We're not going the whole Segar route of twenty-four panel pages(!), but I felt a bit of density was desirable. It seems to be a good rhythm for the stories so far, allowing us to pack a lot of plot and gags into every issue."
Langridge also offered his take on the spinach powered sailor, "to me, Popeye is someone who thinks in straight lines. Mentally, he's not complicated. This is right, this is wrong; we need to achieve this, so let's just go and do it in the most direct way possible. He's not the sort of character who experiences a lot of doubt; on the rare occasions when he does, it's a real crisis for him. The best Popeye stories generally give him something to feel righteously angry about -- that can be an external threat or an emotional one, because he's quite thin-skinned, emotionally. And, of course, it helps if he's got an excuse to clobber somebody at some point!"
Popeye debuts from IDW this April. So keep an eye out for it, and come back here tomorrow for another NZ creator announcement!