Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Sunday Funnies - Prince Valiant 1951-1952!

As Prince Valiant enters the 50's with the eighth Fantagraphics volume, he's a much more settled fellow, still a young married man but already with his first son Arn. That family life was perhaps he sought out some adventure and with is two comrades Egil and Rufus along with the young Arf are winding their way across the fragments of the Roman Empire heading to Rome to see the Pope about sending Christian missionaries to Thule to bring the new religion into the North. They've helped defend a small castle under seige and now must cross over the Alps into Italy. 

To that end Prince Valiant seeks out furs to make proper gear and comes under attack but after many harrowing escapes comes back to his friend and they make the dangerous trek, but not without cost as young Arf is injured and will eventually lose one of his feet. Leaving the injured page behind they get to Rome only to find the Pope is in Ravenna. They do arrange for missionaries at long last and Valiant and the injured Arf sail home to bring the news while Egil and Rufus come overland again with their Christian charges. While sailing Valiant bucks up the young Arf who is now forlorn since he can never be a knight. Valiant says that he'd make a better scholar and that eventually thrills Arf along with the arrival of a pretty girl named Adele. 

After a brief stop in Camelot, Valiant at long last gets back to Thule with his news and finds Aleta happy, Arn growing and two new baby girls. Boltar gets into trouble with King Aguar of Thule and barely escapes with his life thanks to Tilicum -- Aleta's Indian attendant. The Danes attack and Boltar is reinstated and married to Tilicum after the heady sea battles. Then it's a series of somewhat domestic adventures for Valiant as he and Arf barely escape a dangerous accident deep in the wilds and later he is key in bringing down a small tyrant enslaving the freeman in his area. Later he regales Arf with is tales of daring from his younger days and the new scribe dutifully records these adventures for posterity. The baby girls are Christened and named Valeta and Karen as Arn is kidnapped while under Boltar and Tilicum's care. But the doughty Native American woman ferociously tracks down the kidnappers and Boltar brings them to ultimate justice. 

As the volume closes despite grand tales of the Norse gods, the conflict between the old pagan relgions and the new Christian one is brewing. This is a much more domesticated version of the Prince Valiant saga. Foster indicated that Valiant's story had really come to its classic conclusion when he marries his love Aleta. All that follows for many many years is what happens after and while it's far from "happily ever after" it's still a pretty darn good version of marital bliss. 
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Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Incompleat Howard - Volume Four!

Howard the Duck - The Complete Collection Volume Four is the focus of this last lingering look at Marvel's most famous fowl. This is a wide-ranging collection of stories from Howard's career as he wraps up his black and white magazine phase and moves into that unenviable position of occasional guest-star. He also jacks out two more issues of his color series though all of the work is pretty much by divergent hands in both the arenas of writing and artwork. 

Howard the Duck #8 features one of Howard's most famous adventures, that of "Ducknight Detective". But first there's a story titled "The Grey Panther" by the regular team of Bill Mantlo, Gene Colan and Dave Simons. This yarn finds Howard and Beverly working in an unusual old folks establishment which we learn has nefarious schemes to rob the young of their vitality for the sake of the old, and all of this overseen by a mad doctor who dubs himself "The Grey Panther". Of course Howard and Beverly defeat this plan and escape. After that harrowing escape they visit a sunny Florida beach whee they meet an industrialist named "Spruce Payne" who hires to them help promote his products in the attire of two bogus superheroes -- Duckman and Duck Girl. This photo op gig though gets real when the men hired to play bogus villains Jokester, Puffin, and Quizling turn out to be baddies for real and are working for another villain named The Maller. When Payne goes missing it falls to Duckman and Duck Girl to save the day, which of course they do in a manner of speaking. This story by Mantlo is illustrated by Marshall Rogers who had won great acclaim for his work on a certain "Darknight Detective". This issue wraps up with anothe installment of "Street Peeple". 

In the ninth and final issue of the Howard the Duck black and white series we find our friend Howard and his best girl Beverly in New Orleans, and of course in the comic book world that means voodoo. 
Howard and Beverly become embroiled in a scheme by the third  Black Talon to bring a powerful "Duck Diety" back into this realm. He actually succeeds but thanks to Howard the duck god is less than impressed with Talon's ways and ends up punishing his own worshipper for acts of cannibalism. This story and the next one are by the regular Mantlo, Colan and Simons team. The second Howard story is a really signifcant one and has our devoted couple confronting aspects of themselves in motel mirrors and Beverly comes to the conclusion that she and Howard need to go their separate ways, at least for a time. In a game-changing move the story quietly comes to an end with Howard perhaps realizing at long last how precious their relationship was. Bill Mantlo now left Howard as the regular writer and is replaced on the third story by Steve Skeates who had been writing some offbeat episodes of Howard for Crazy magazine. The story seems to be a send up of The Big Sleep with Howard functioning as a mopey and bickery Philip Marlowe of sorts. He confronts a strange family, which the most strange is a two-headed bloke who turns out to be something else entirely. An article by Steven Grant closes out the issue and reprises Howard's history and implies that he will be returning to the color comic world. 

While all of that is going on Howard does indeed show up again in a color comic, specifically Marvel Team-Up #96 where he is still operating as a taxi driver and ends up in New York City helping Spider-Man defeat yet another deranged goober who celebrates the status quo. In fact he takes that name and wages a war on all fads. Quickly this war becomes a fad in itself and Howard and Spidey have their hands full. This story was written by Paul Kupperberg and drawn by same. 

Howard's next stop is in Bizarre Adventures #34, a color issue of the black and white magazine which features Christmas stories. In this Howard adventure by Steven Grant and Paul Smith the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life gets turned on its head when an angel in search of his wings tries to show a forlorn and suicidal Howard how his presence has made life better for those he has met. But it seems Howard's friends would've prospered quite nicely without him, in fact probably better. So forlorn the angel himself seeks the balm of the final embrace. 

When Howard the Duck #32 finally showed up on the racks it had been seven years since a color Howard title had been published. What prompted it? The movie coming from Lucasfilm, the folks who brought you Star Wars. (More on that later.) In this story we meet Howard (still wearing pants) when he meets Ceci Ryder, a lovely female trucker. In a story by Steven Grant, Paul Smith and Vinnie (Is-there-a-character-I-have-not-yet-inked?) Colletta the duo head underground to find a culture dedicated to reaping financial benefit from America's beautiful resources. It's led by a were-gopher and the pair a just able to survive and perhaps slow down  the scheme. When it's over Howard's back in Cleveland. 

Howard the Duck #33 sports a handsome Brian Bolland cover which makes me think of Uncle Scrooge. Over six months after the last issue the shine on Howard the Duck is tarnished after the movie doesn't deliver on the sales expected. This story is most interesting though for one reason in that it's the work of Val Mayerik, Howard's other creator and the first time I know of in which he worked on the character with a writer of his own choosing, a friend of his named Christopher Stager. In the story Howard gets rich by winning a contest and Beverly returns but leaves again when his personality is even nastier than it was before when he was mostly broke. A Dr. Clive offers Howard a chance to make more money and get companionship with his scheme to create life in the form of a female talking duck. But it costs Howard all his money and when she turns out to be a big-mouth spendthrift he takes off hooking up with another Walt Disney lookalike to skip out of town. The story is framed with Howard being interviewed on tell-all television show. It's not the greatest story really, though I found Mayerik's artwork quite fine. 

Now skip forward four years to 1990 and Howard shows up again in the hands of Steve Gerber. This time it's as a guest-star in the pages of the offbeat Sensational She-Hulk series (issues #14-17) featuring artwork by Bryan Hitch and Jim Sanders III. She-Hulk looks fantastic, but Howard seems a little off model to me and his pants are gone again. It's wild misadventure with She-Hulk and the former Blonde Phantom along with Howard battling the schemes of Dr. Angst who hasn't been seen since the Howard the Duck Treasury many moons before. He's causing cosmic trouble by bringing to Earth an endless array of mini-universes all trapped in tiny box-like shapes. Howard and She-Hulk end up in one dubbed the Baloneyverse and it gets worse from there. Dr. Angst escaptes jail and seeks out his old partners Tillie the Hun, Sitting Bullseye, The Spanker and The Black Hole. All of them have had a 90's redesign and they battle a She-Hulk who has gone gray and savage before becoming merely gray. The action of this hair-raising yarn is told by a big bald guy dubbed "The Critic" from a sect of the cosmic Watchers. He also gets involved together the heroes with the help of the Golden Age anti-hero The Terror stop Angst's plans. This is mostly a She-Hulk story (as it should be) and Howard is present but not so much signficant. 

When next we meet the Duck he shows up in the back of the venerable reprint comic Marvel Tales co-starring with another animal hero, namely Spider-Ham. Written and drawn by Paul Kupperberg the story is only a few pages long and the characters meet but do little to stop a plot by Duckter Doom. Frankly it left me confused. 

When next we encounter Howard it's now 1996, nearly a quarter century since his unexpected appearance in Adventures in Fear #19. The story is drawn by James Fry and Chris Ivy in that hyperbolic style so commonplace in the 90's and Steve Gerber steps up to write what I assume is his final Howard the Duck yarn. 

A lot has happened since Gerber began writing Howard the Duck stories. At one point he left Marvel and embraced the Direct Sales market with projects like Destroyer Duck, a character and debut comic book created  as part of Gerber's lawsuit to gain some ownership in Howard. It's a convoluted story that and to read about it in detail I recommend checking out this link

Anyway in this story from Marvel we have an unofficial crossover with Howard and  Spider-Man and the Circus of Crime with Rich Larsen's Savage Dragon and Destroyer Duck. It's a ramshackle story featuring some of Gerber's more offbeat contributions to the MU such as the notorious Elf-With-A-Gun and the Turnip Lady. KISS even gets a quick cameo of sorts. Sadly it's mostly a stunt with shadowy figures in Spider-Man Team-Up #5 and Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck #1 meeting but not officially. For more on this check out this link.  

The collection wraps up with a bevy of black and white short stories by Steve Skeates and Pat Broderick done for Crazy Magazine back in the 70's. Frankly they aren't very good and not really in the tone of Howard as far as I can tell. Broderick's art is fine though. Also we get a cover gallery featuring Marvel's adaptation of the ill-fated movie among other things such as Howard's appearance in Marvel Age. 

And that as they say is that. I'm closing my series of posts with a bit of art by Frank Brunner done for  Gerber's Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck one-shot which gives the world Leonard the Duck and echoes the delightful cover he made for Howard the Duck #1 so long before. My closing thoughts are really questions. Why is the Howard the Duck movie regarded as being so terrible? I think the answer is that it didn't make a beaucoup of money as anticipated so it must have been bad. It's often ranked as among the worst movies ever made and that's just rubbish. It didn't do well in the marketplace and it has deficiencies but it's not that bad. Also why is Howard the Duck when he appears in later Marvel productions only identified as created by Steve Gerber when Val Mayerik even by Gerber's own admission technically created him. Sure they both deserve credit and since it's just a matter of credit and not profits why doesn't it happen. I'm unclear. All in all Howard the Duck was a wonderful comic with great artwork that caught a moment in the zeitgeist which elevated it. Being part of the Marvel Universe means never having say you're really dead, so I expect Howard will always return. So get down with that!

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Frostbite Fridays - Rocky And Bullwinkle!

Thanks to the cartoon wisdom of Mark Evanier the IDW mini-series starring the Moose and Squirrel comes off pretty well. Evanier is a writer who is deft and clever but not always do I find his scripts as funny as I think they ought to be. But in the world of Frostbite Falls his love of puns and affection for the characters and the people who portrayed them is ideal. That doesn't at all minimize the work of Roger Landridge who as usual offers up a delicate and charming batch of imagery. 

If anything Landridge's artwork as embellished by Andrew Pepoy might be a little too elegant and refined. I've always associated a quick and dirty parade of images with these cartoons, well crafted but always showing around the edges the evidence of haste and deadline pressure. The art is what it is and pretty though it be, it's always going to be the writing which makes Rocky and Bullwinkle work or not. 

In these comics we only get one co-feature and that Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties. He's in fine fettle, though al of his escapades felt somewhat brief to me. Evanier does the smart thing and with two installments of R&B each issue gives the reader at least a hint of the continued storylines which made the vintage classics so robust. 

My favorite issue was the one in which Pottsylvania claims ownership of the Moon. That makes Rocky and Bullwinkle head to the Moon and that means we get some great Gidney and Cloyd action. I love the Moon Men and they are totally on point in this adventure and in another in which they play a lesser role. Boris and Natasha sound right also with Evanier getting the rhythms of their distinctive speech. 

This is a fun series and if you can them cheap I recommend them. They aren't as good as the cartoons, but that was never going to happen. The original Rocky and Bullwinkle are gems produced in their own time and reflecting that time but also speaking to audiences well beyond. 

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Classic Crisis #17 - A Tale Of Two Atoms!

Of all places it was in this 1968 issue of The Atom that the classic era of Earth-2 individual crossovers seems to have ended. Sure Justice Society members will show up in other comics over the years, but after this for most part the folks of Earth-2 will be relegated to the pages of Justice League of America. But this last one is a dandy under an utterly fantastic Gil Kane classic cover.

"Duel Between the Dual Atoms" was written by Earth-2 specialist Gardner Fox with lush and beautiful artwork by Gil Kane and Sid Greene. The story starts small with Al (The Atom) Pratt getting set up on a blind date. When he rings the doorbell though he is startled to find his date to be a bit older than he'd expected. Turns out when she glimpses a mirror she's startled too. A wave of quickened aging has hit the women of the Calvin College area it seems, and it's up to The Atom to get to the bottom of it. The Atom first has to subdue some thugs who are using an unusual gun, but tests indicate the gun is not the source of the problem. Atom then decides to check out Earth-1 to see if clues to the Earth-2 problem might be uncovered there since the Earths have a great deal in common most of the time. On Earth-1 Ray (The Atom) Palmer is battling some criminals of his own when the men of that area suddenly seem to revert in age by about ten years or so, The Atom included. The memory of the time is gone and so The Atom is unaware of who he is and why he's so small. Al Pratt shows up and attempts to help, but the younger and brasher Palmer rejects him. When he shows up a Jean Loring's apartment he's startled to find he's engaged to her and leaves Jean befuddled. In Part 2, both Atoms work together, Palmer depending on Pratt to guide him in his Atom techniques. Suddenly Palmer becomes quite hostile and the two Atoms have a knock-down drag-out fight of epic proportions which ultimately the two-fisted Pratt wins. But then Palmer loses more age, becoming about fourteen. Panic sets in and the youngster races to a radio telescope and begins to batter it. After the installation is significantly damaged Palmer instantly reverts to his normal state. Turns out the radio-telescope was drawing in radiation from a young star which somehow got converted and affected folks in the area with a new youth themselves. Al Pratt surmises a similar thing must be happening on Earth-2 except that an old star's radiation is culprit. The two Atoms return to Earth-2, take out the offending telescope and the problem is solved. The story ends with Pratt at last making that blind date and Palmer and Loring comparing notes.

This is an old-fashioned DC story with the two heroes having to use brawn, but mostly wits to solve the problem at hand. The dynamic artwork is typical of the later Silver Age, but the story is from any time during the era, and it's the last team up of this kind by Gardner Fox. I liked Al Pratt's leading role in the story as he was the only one not affected, so it was required of him to take the lead. The Atoms are the least similar of any of the doppleganger heroes, but they work very well together nonetheless. This story was a very entertaining send off for these kinds of tales indeed. Next time we find out what the JLofA and JSofA are doing in 1968. 

Next time will be awhile. The "Classic Crisis" series will take a breather in March to make way for something much larger. Plans are to be back in April with some of the best Justice League stories ever written. More to come for certain. 

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mr. Peabody And Sherman - The Movie!

I debated how to approach a review of 2014's Mr. Peabody and Sherman after watching it again recently. It's an animated movie for certain, one of the scores of animated movies that tumble out yearly in these modern digital days of animation. In that sense it's just as good as most of them are but not really that different. It's yet another movie that takes a venerable television property and amps it up the for the big screen and in that regard it does an adequate job in keeping most of the key elements (most significantly those delicious puns). There's much here to indicate the makers had a high regard for the source material. 

But I finally decided to grade it as what it essentially was -- a time travel movie. Time travel movies are one of the most interesting sub-genres in films as far I can see. There's of course the classic The Time Machine from George Pal which adapts the H.G.Wells movie and that one was remade in this century with some interesting improvements but mostly too much hyperbolic action. There are time travel comedies like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Time Bandits, and Hot Tub Time Machine (which I haven't seen). There are time travel romance yarns like the superb Time After TimeSomewhere in Time and The Time Travelers Wife (which I haven't seen). There are the monster time travel hits like Terminator and its progeny and the myriad Back to the Future films. There are scuds of time travel movies and Mr. Peabody and Sherman fits well into that genre. 

First it has a wonderful mechanism to breach time. The WABAC (called the Wavelength Accerlation Bidirectional Asynchronus Controller for this movie). In the classic cartoons they just walk through a door and they are there, but in this movie getting there is a lot of the entertainment. I was a bit wonky about this at first but it won me over in the end. And they travel to a host of interesting time events such as the French Revolution, the Trojan War, the home of Leonardo De Vinci, ancient Egypt and a few others here and there. The makers of the movie found clever ways to keep the anachronistic qualities of the cartoon intact for the movie with historical figures talking in modern slang as often as not. There is a time pardox which must be solved as it often the case with these movies and as is often the case all of reality is at stake. I like time travel movies because they make you think and this one does that. 

Like so many movies of this kind the makers felt compelled to "flesh out the characters" and by that they give them fuller motivations for their actions, but sadly often those motivations are so stereotypical that they weren't really adding to the brew. Movies like this feel the need to be sappy, to tug at the heartstrings and this one does as well. But it's a bit of a cheat in the end to be honest because once you head down the road of characterization you have the obligation to see it through. Also the addition of Penny a  bratty nemesis and then girlfriend for Sherman, struck me as nervousness on the moviemakers' part about the relationship between Peabody and Sherman which always utterly harmless to me, but of course in the modern day much ado is often made about nothing. 

If you haven't sampled this one yet, I highly recommend it. It ain't as good as the cartoons, but there ain't nothing ever going to be as ideal as that. 

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Classic Crisis #16 - The Spook And The Pussycat!

When 1968 rolled around things were shifting at DC Comics. New styles and new talents were emerging as the old guard gave way somewhat. This generational change came as some slid gracefully into retirement and others sadly were pushed away because of labor strife. But a book that heralded a new style of comic book was certainly The Spectre featuring the groundbreaking artwork of uber-talent Neal Adams.

The "Prologue" of The Spectre #3 begins in another dimension where two exceedingly alien-looking sorcerers sling spells at one another. One of the spells gets a way and slips into the orbit of Earth-2 and settle into a small-time thug named "Sad" Jack Dold. "Hang 'Em Up Wildcat -- You're Finished!" by Mike Friedrich and Neal Adams begins with Ted (Wildcat) Grant punching at some thugs in Knickerbocker City. He needs the help of the police to completely subdue the robbers, and later feels like his age is catching up to him. To quell his somber mood he dons his Wildcat gear gain and jumps on the Catocycle to cruise the town and finds "Sad" Jack heading to a museum robbery he's late for. Wildcat jumps in but is stopped by Dold who suddenly demonstrates great power over others. The hoods escape and later scheme to use their partner's new powers to commit great crimes. The pick a prize fight and again when they arrive Ted Grant is the guest of honor. He finds the robbery in progress, becomes Wildcat and intervenes. But he is stopped cold by Dold who is finding his powers are greater than he imagined. He orders everyone in the arena and over television to freeze while he goes into the ring with Wildcat and defeats him with a single thought. The section ends with Wildcat frozen prone on the canvas for the first time in his career. "Menace of the Mystic Mastermind" stars Gateway City's The Spectre. The Spectre as Jim Corrigan had seen the fight on television but was likewise frozen. When the power passed, he became Spectre and rushed to help his fellow Justice Society member Wildcat. He finds Ted Grant quite glum and feeling old and worthless. He can find Dold when he uses his powers and suddenly he feels him so he goes to fight the mystic enemy only to find the gang whom he defeats but no Dold. After giving Grant some hopeful words Spectre heads to Gateway City where Dold has come to fulfill his super-villain promise. Giving himself a wild costume he plans to level the city with an atomic blast. The Spectre arrives and absorbs the blast and then tricks Dold into using his power again at which time Spectre sucks out the sorcery from Dold and sends it back into the dimension from which it came leaving Dold helpless and sad once again. "Epilogue" shows Jim Corrigan back in Knickerbocker City to see Ted Grant, who has turned his talents to helping kids in his own gym, thus showing that even the older among us have vital purposes to perform.

I cannot but help to wonder if the message in this story has something to do with the changes at DC at the time. Probably not directly then, but I sure see parallels. As energetic and powerful as youth is, it must also give way to experience and all of us have something more to give to those around us. Nice message. The Spectre is the most successful of the Earth-2 launches of the time. While other JSofA members failed to catch on with readers apparently, Spectre did well enough in his Showcase run to warrant a ten-issue series of his own. That's not bad really. Certainly great talents like Neal Adams had something to do with that success. The Spectre also showed up a few times in Brave and Bold and proved over the years to be one of Bob Haney's go-to heroes. 

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Rocky And Bullwinkle - The Movie!

It's difficult to believe that it has been over two decades since this movie The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle hit the screens. As imperfect an artifact as it is, I have always had a soft spot for it and upon watching again recently I was reminded of what I liked and what still rankles me. I wish it was full animation first and foremost, done in the handsome style of the earliest and final sections of the film before the characters are yanked "from reruns" to enter a somewhat more realistic domain. But clearly the makers here wanted something more akin to The Adventures of Roger Rabbit than a more traditional animated movie. Maybe this one came just a bit too early to fully realized as a complete animated feature, but it's a loss overall. 

That said, what of the movie we do have. It's not without virtues. First is the wonderful animation I've already alluded to, but also if there must be real live people playing the likes of Fearless Leader,  Boris Badanov, and Natasha Fatale, then the trio of Robert DeNiro, Jason Alexander and Rene Russo ain't a bad trio to do the job. DeNiro in particular I thought jumped into the part and at times Alexander got the Boris voice down perfect. But as good as they were, they were only analogs of the real animated characters, and limited in that way. There tons of cameos in this movie by the likes of long-standing stars such as Whoopi Goldberg, John Goodman, and the late great Jonathan Winters, but by and large aside from a quick laugh they don't add up too much. The Keenan and Kel side plot is there for the youth of the day who sought out the flick and that brings up my big complaint. 

The biggest deficiency of this movie is not the dated animation (not what the show was ever about) nor really the inclusion of the real world (as much as I don't prefer that) but the fact it's not really about Rocky and Bullwinkle despite the title. We are introduced to Agent Sympathy of the FBI (played by the exceedingly cute Piper Perabo) and as it turns out the movie is really about her. She's the one given the mission of which Rocky and Bullwinkle are important parts, and it is her character transformation which is the thematic center of the movie. That's too bad because that theme is pretty hackneyed and not really appropriate for the always acerbic R&B Show. Once again the producers thought that since this was at least in part a cartoon show it must be for kids and so we get inflicted upon us a noisome notion of keeping in touch with one's inner child. Yuck and Double Yuck! 

What I want is a Rocky and Bullwinkle movie that's not catering to kiddies but to the adults which the show was aimed at to begin with. I want animation for adults, and not animation for kids and adults, just the adults. "Now that's something you don't see everyday Chauncey." said Edgar.

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Sunday Funnies - Plunder Island!

 There is plenty of exotic adventure and action in this collection of the famous Thimble Theater Starring Popeye comic strip by E.C. Segar. The title of the collection says it all, announcing that Poeye and friends are headed to Plunder Island. Plunder Island is the dangerous and mysterious lair of the Sea Hag who had battled Popeye some years before. But now in partnership with his old mate Bill Barnacle, Popeye is scheming to sail to Plunder Island and take the treasure they find there despite the dangers of crossing the Sea Hag. Those dangers appear quickly with the appearance of  The Goon. 

It's exciting stuff and for once it's  happening in the Sunday color sections and not the dailies. Plunder Island stands out for this reason, a right proper adventure in full color for many months. They dod get to Plunder Island with much derring-do and other kinds of shenanigans as well. Along with Popeye on the voyage are Roundhouse and Geezil along with Wimpy as well. Both of the former want to kill the latter and that makes for many gag along the way. 

Other characters come and go and at long last of course they find the island and everyone gets rich. That doesn't last long as Popeye gives all of his booty as charity to help widows and orphans. Wimpy loses his in a gambling gambit in which he bets against Popeye. The strip devolves a bit once again after the adventure as Wimpy again begins to dominate the proceedings with his endless attempts to wheedle a free meal, preferably a hamburger from Roundhouse. 

On the bottom of the Popeye Sunday pages is Sappo and he and his permanent boarder O.G. Wotasnozzle have some screamingly funny antics as Wotasnozzle invents invisibility rays, a device to make Sappo shrink to microscopic size, and a gizmo that makes parts of the body grow. Sappo's nose becomes the source of countless jokes as it grows from week to week eventually even breaking the fourth wall as it snaps through the very borders of the strip itself. 

In the dailies though the adventure never lets up. Popeye gets it into his head to become a cartoonist and with that notion and Popeye's witless attempts Segar is able to have enormous fun with is own occupation. Then both he and Olive examine being rich as Olive gains money from an inheritance and proceeds to live the life of the upper crust, just as Popeye whom she has rejected for his lowdown ways, hooks up with an heiress by the name of June Vanripple. Her father is the "richest man in the world" and tries to give Popeye a reward when he saves June but Popeye refuses and the two become good mates. For a time it seems Popeye is really in love with June as at the same poor Olive's attempts to get famous as well as rich cause her to spend all her money on a feckless motion picture. She listened to Wimpy and that's never good. She contracts a rare malady which can only be cured with something called the "Unifruit" and which is only found in the dangerous northern regions of Nazila. Popeye of course heads an expedition there with the gang and Vanripple in tow and they find the cure pretty quickly. After more Nazila adventures the gang heads west to help stop some theives from stealing from Vanripple's operations, and in this one Popeye does a fair amount of time disguised as a dame. Castor Oyl returns as successful detective with scores of agents at his command and the solve the problem. Then it's off to the Pool of Youth guarded by the Sister of the Sea Hag and her prehistoric immortal henchman Toar. The battles are furious but Popeye wins the day of course and the abiding friendship of the painfully stupid Toar. The sections end with Popeye building an Ark to find a new continent where he can live as wants and rule the roost. There are antics aplenty as women are forbidden and Olive will not have that  as she, Castor board Wimpy's misbegotten boat to follow. 

And exciting and densely packed package. The storytelling by Segar is at it's optimum as far as I can tell and he has more ideas than he has time to pursue them. Characters pop up, dominate than disappear and always the rambunctious Popeye is at the center of the action, willing and able to withstand poison darts, bullets and even a broken neck to win the day. 

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