Monday, September 5, 2011

The Labors Of Popeye!

In honor of Labor Day, here is a gallery of vintage King Features comics starring the one and only Popeye the Sailor Man. Actually these comics were produced by the boys at Charlton Comics under the guidance of George Wildman. They are part of a pretty big program by King Features for schools to give kids of various ages some insights into available careers of the Bronze Age.

Wildman enlisted the talents of veterans in the Charlton bullpen to get these comics done. Joe Gill wrote all of them. Wildman himself drew all the covers as well as the interiors for three issues (#1,2 & 15). Tony Tallarico (4 & 10), Jeff Keate (5 & 13), Frank Roberge (6 & 12), Paul Fung Jr. (7 & 14), Tony DiPreta (8 & 11), and Ray Dirgo (3 & 9) all did two issues each.

I've long lusted after these Popeye treasures for quite some time, and when I was finally able to add them to my collection, I was able to find more than just the comics. In addition to the comics themselves a teacher got hold of a manual, posters, and other materials such as a career bingo game. I don't have a complete kit, since there were also apparently filmstrips too, but I have a complete bingo game and the teacher's manual with all the assignments. There's a nifty wall poster too with all the Popeye covers too. That's too big for me to scan alas.

It's not feasible to scan in all of the sundry materials, since all the bingo cards are different and there are lessons for each of the fifteen Popeye comics. But I have scanned in some representative samples, specifically those having to do with commercial artwork and other media jobs. My favorite pieces are the little Popeye faces used to cover the bingo squares.

Only Bingo Card with Popeye featured on it.

Bingo Rules

Classroom Assignment

There's a neat article on this effort in Charlton Spotlight #6 which shows some photos of the Charlton plant in operation as part of this program. George Wildman is prominently featured. I've always loved his take on Popeye, it's full of energy and verve. His Popeye books for Charlton are some of the gems from the little Derby company in the Bronze Age. And these King/Charlton Career books are evidence of that.

George Wildman

Rip Off

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