Comic Collection Review: Popeye The Great Comic Strip Tales by Bud Sagendorf

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Bud Sagendorf was the heir apparent of E.C. Segar.  He was actually hired and trained as Segar’s assistant and worked on the newspaper strip for years along side the creator of Thimble Theater, but when Segar died in 1938, King features thought Bud was to young and he did not take over the strip he had spent 7 years learning to make.

He was assigned to other smaller features in the King Features Syndicate, but when the opportunity arose from the syndicate to do a comic book and Bud Sagendorf rose to the challenge, it would be another two decades before he would finally complete the circle and take over the Popeye newspaper comic strip, but in the meantime, he wrote and drew some of Popeye’s greatest adventures in the Dell comic books of the 40’s and 50’s.

This collection makes up the cream of the crop of his work during this period.  It shows the depth of knowledge that Segendorf had learned at the feet of the Popeye’s creator and it seems like a natural extension of the character.  This is one case where the student even surpassed the master in some aspects, the comic books lengthy format allowed Segendorf to expand on the characters of Popeye and his crew and take the adventures further then they had ever gone before.

In this volume we see several of his battles with the Sea Hag as well as some of his own inventions, like the mischievous Misermites, Martian boxers, the Dismal Demons, and of course, the Nothings.  He also has crazy adventures with shrink weed and spinach soap.  If you like the work of Popeye at his best, and in the common form in which he is known today, a character cemented by Segendorf rather than the rougher character done by Segar, then you will enjoy this collection.

This is a great read for anyone who enjoys Popeye and a great launching pad for those of you who would like a great introduction to the character.  You can pick up the book on Amazon here: http://smile.amazon.com/Popeye-Great-Comic-Tales-Sagendorf/dp/1600107478/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1451327113&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=popeye+the+great+comic+book+tales+by+Bud+Segandorf

It is worth the money of any serious comic collector, there is also a series of collections put out under the name Popeye classics which make up a more complete series of Segendorf’s work in the comic books, so you can skip this one if you want to get the more complete works.  This is a best of collection and the strips will be included in the more expansive volumes.

So sit back and enjoy the best series from one of the most iconic characters in comic strip history.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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12 Days of Root Beer: Day 12

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“On the final day of Root Beer Kim Belding gave to me.”

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer is the final root beer in the box that just keeps on giving.  I can’t think of a better gift for any member of the Root Beer Party than a wide assortment of root beers.

Today’s selection was one to really go out on.  Frostie Vanilla Root Beer, it is a little on the sweet side, but the vanilla finish is amazing.  It has a good balance of flavors and moderate carbonation.  The body is a little heavy, but the smooth vanilla cream finish doesn’t linger and overpower the palette.

It reminds me of a classic A&W root beer in style, although the vanilla is a little more pronounced in this one.  I give it a 9 out of 10, a great way to finish off the amazing gift from Co-President and Co-founder Kim Belding and his sister Jenna.  Everyone here at the Root Beer Party wants to thank them for their gift.

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This is really true,  Merry Christmas to all the members of the Root Beer Party.  We hope to bring you more comics and great root beer in the new year.  So frost those mugs and pour our a pint of your favorite root beer and raise your glass to the Root Beer Party!

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The party where everyone is welcome, all you need is a love of comics and a passion for root beer.  We will see all you True Believers!  Happy Holidays to everyone!

Comic Collection Review: Prickly City by Scott Stantis

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Prickly City by Scott Stantis begins as sort of a philosophical strip much in the style of Calvin and Hobbes, but shortly after it’s debut, it evolved into a political strip which lights up the comment sections of newspapers with calls for it to be banned.

It is interesting to note that other political strips, most notably Doonesbury get similar comments as well and has for decades longer than Prickly city.  I am usually not a fan of political strips as the subject matter of recent events quickly dates the material, and it is very easy to cross the line from humor to commentary as Prickly city does on occasion.

However, there are good things to be said about the strip.  The two characters are very well defined and actually have a good chemistry together.  When Stantis steps off his soap box and focuses on popular culture, his humor can be hilariously biting.

It must be difficult to keep political humor fresh and exciting without being overly harsh, but in this collection, Stantis walks the fine line with ease and keeps his comic grounded and funny without being overly insulting to people of a differing political opinion.  It works, only because of the relationship between Carmen and Winslow.  They have the sort of childhood innocence that Calvin shared with Hobbes, and from that innocence the philosophical humor becomes less political and more general in tone.

That being said, this is a political strip and during the election year, that is what it is all about.  I would not recommend this comic to anyone on the left side of the isle that is easily offended, but it would be shame for them to miss it.  There is a gentle innocence to the strip which can be enjoyed by anyone.

This is the only physical collection of Prickly City, there are several more available through digital media such as Kindle, but the first book is the only one you can buy a hard copy of.  This is not uncommon, several of the great strips which started in the comic boom of the 90’s have only seen one or no physical books published of their work.  Andrews McMeel publishing put out a lot of the new syndicated books and then stopped when the e-book markets took over, so now even mainstream successful comics are seeing less copies of their books being published and the wait between volumes is becoming longer and longer.  Anyone who collects new comics and buys from Amazon know all to well of the constant delays as they push back publication dates.

I am glad to see companies like IDW putting out classic strips in book format now and I hope they will expand the operation and begin taking over the publication of newer strips as well.  We can only hope anyway.

In review, if you like political or philosophical strips than you will enjoy Prickly City, it is one of the best of it’s kind.  It lacks the subtlety of Pogo or Little Orphan Annie when they ventured into the political arena, but it is a modern strip in every sense of the word.  If you like the political humor of the Daily Show or the late night talk show hosts, than Prickly City will be right up your alley.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Comic Collection Review: Garfield, Potbelly of Gold by Jim Davis

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Today we have Garfield’s 50th book.  It is great that after 50 volumes of Garfield, Davis can still bring the laughs.  A lot has changed in Garfield’s little world since his debut in the late 70’s.  He has gone on to become one of, if not the most successful comic strip in history with cartoons, movies and every conceivable form of merchandise that you can imagine.

The Original strip of Garfield has never in changed in all that time as far as quality goes.  Garfield has seen a major design overhaul but you still have the world’s greatest Grumpy Cat at the core of the strip.  Garfield is the ultimate representation of the narcissistic lifestyle which society has evolved into since the 60’s.  He is a self involved fat cat who always puts himself first and almost always gets his way.

He is still surrounded by his cartoonist owner and his lovable brain dead dog Odie, only now, Jon Arbuckle is showing signs of life.  He is still the hopeless nerdy geek, but now he has finally landed the girl of his dreams in the Veterinarian Liz.   The former hopelessness that was the characteristic of Jon Arbuckle, and even spawned the series, Garfield minus Garfield, has been toned down and Jon has evolved into a more human character to the benefit od the strip.

Garfield and Odie must now learn to get along on their own now that Jon can go out on a successful date.  In this volume, Garfield celebrates his 29th birthday, an astounding accomplishment fro a fat cat, but a milestone we are all happy to see him reach.

I think Garfield is the natural predecessor to Charles Schultz and his peanuts gang.  It has a minimalist style to it, and a light hearted humor with the same formula of a lovable loser in Jon, a carefree dog in Odie and in the center of the strip and in his own world, we have Garfield.  He is larger than life, and a perfect comic representation of a self obsessed society indulging in every excess with simpleminded sincerity.

One day someone will analyze Garfield in a sociological sense, if it hasn’t been done already, and realize that Jim Davis foresaw a growing trend in American society and represented it with amazing humor and charm.  For all the things that Garfield may represent, he is still our favorite fat cat.  he is still as funny and lovable as he was back in 1978, maybe even more so.  We can all see a piece of ourselves somewhere in Garfield’s world.  it may be a piece we are not so proud of, but Jim Davis has not only let us see it, but he made us see it with a gentle humor which allows us to understand it all the more.

I highly recommend Garfield, Potbelly of Gold.  For 50 books he has brought us laughs and I can only hope there will be 50 more.  Until Next Time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

 

12 Days of Root Beer: Day 11

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Today we have Canada’s own root beer The Pop Shoppe/  It is not a bad root beer.  It has a good balance of flavors, but it is weak overall.  It tastes like it is watered down. The flavor that is there is good, but it is only a hint.  They really need to work on the ratio between syrup and carbonated water here.

Now I know Canada can make a good root beer, they make A&W the best root beer in the world, so it is kind of disappointing that this one is just a pale imitation of that.

I give it a 5 out of 10.  It would be up there with the best of them, if it was stronger, but this one just failed to make an impression, it promises great things, but never delivers.  If you find yourself drinking this one, you will not be repulsed, but it will leave you wondering what happened to the rest of it.

I wanted to give this one a higher rating, because what is there is good, but it just does not measure up as a root beer.  It is like one of those store brand sodas you get real cheap and later realize it is just a watered down version of a real soda.  I ended up giving it a 5 because you can take or leave it.

Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.  Tune in tomorrow for the final day of Kim Belding’s awesome Holiday gift:  Frostie’s Vanilla Root Beer.

 

Comic Collection Review: Mickey Mouse Race To Death Valley by Floyd Gottfredson

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The is the first volume of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse newspaper comics by Floyd Gottfredson released by Fantigraphics Books.  There are several more volumes in the series already released.

This is the classic Disney adventure comic made during the heyday of  Disney’s creative era during the 1930’s.  Mickey has always been the mascot of Disney and has been overlooked as a character in his own right.  During this period Mickey and his gang went on all sorts of crazy adventures that were done with amazing artwork and great story telling.

This is the Walt Disney that people grew to love, not the omnipresent multinational corporation that buys all their creative content, this was when they made it themselves.

Minnie inherits and old house in this series and hidden inside is a map to a hidden gold mine.  Mickey stops the evil lawyer (who would now be a perfect representative of a Disney executive) from swindling Minnie and stealing her inheritance.

They race to recover the stolen map and then race to find the lost mine.  It is a great continuity strip that pairs right along side anything that Carl Barks was doing with the Duck clan.

It is a quick read and really engaging, the action never stops and the pace of the race is relentless.  Mickey of course wins the day, but a great adventure story is told in the process.  I would highly recommend this series of books to any cartoon collector, or anyone who wants to know how Disney became the entertainment masters of the world.  This is where it all began.  With great characters and highly talented writers and artists.

This is a newspaper strip that reads like a comic book, a wonderful addition to any collection of comic strips or comic books.

You can find these on Amazon or I’m sure the Disney website will have links as well if you can wade through all the Star Wars stuff.  Mickey is the mouse who built the kingdom, and this collection will show you how he did it.  Until next time, True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Comic collection reviews: Asterix The Legionary

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This is great adventure series from Sweden by  Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.  This is an English version published in Great Briton and translated into English.

The story follows Asterix and his sidekick Obelix both unconquered Gauls in their little village.  Getafix’s daughter Panacea returns to the village and tells them her finance’ Tragicomix has been forced to join the Romen foreign legion, so Asterix and Obelix go to Rome and then to Africa to find him and free him and bring him back home.

Asterix is the hero and is super strong when he drinks the magic potion made by Getafix.  Obelix is a simple minded strong man who fell into a batch of magic potion as a child and is an army into himself.

Hijinks ensue as they join the Roman army in order to find Tragicomix.  they take on the whole Roman legion and Caesar himself in order to free their friend.

The comic is a fun, adventure tale in the vein of Popeye in his heyday.  it has a lot of slapstick comedy and exotic locals.  It is a great read and well worth picking up.  You can find collections on Amazon for about 10 – 20 dollars.  These were made in the late 60’s and really capture the classic style of adventure comics from that era.  I highly recommend it, it has good artwork and an interesting storyline, so If your in the mood for something unique, than look it up and check it out for yourself.  Until next time true Believers. may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Comic Collection review: The Lockhorns by Bill Hoest

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This is the first collection of The Lockhorns by Bill Hoest.  it is a great collection of the classic bickering couple from the 1970’s.

The Lockhorns are a reflection of the middle class suburban couple and the end of the nuclear family myth of the 1950’s.  The keeping up with the Jones’s mentality of consumerism is reflected in the bitterness and sarcasm that they constantly bicker about with each other.

It lacks the drunken abuse of Andy Capp, but it is a similar style strip.  The comic was extremely popular and still is although it is done today by Bunny Hoest and John Reiner.

One unique quality about the strip is that it is only about the couple Leroy and Loretta.  There are no kids or wacky neighbors in the strip, it is just about the bickering couple and their lackluster marriage.  they both give as good as they get and there is no dominate winner or loser here, no hen pecked husband or brow beaten wife, but a marriage of equal sarcastic wit.

It is a little hard to find the collections in book form, there were only paperbacks published in the 70’s and 80’s and are long out of print.  You can find them readily enough, but for some reason they tend to go for $15 – $20 dollars apiece.  You can find them cheap occasionally and I would recommend picking them up.  They are really funny comics and well worth the investment for any serious comic strip collector.

12 days of Root Beer: Day 10

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Today we have Triple XXX Root Beer.  Apart from the allusion to pornography, this root beer is surprisingly good.  It has a strong flavor or “Bite” as some root beer people like to say, and is lightly carbonated with a mild finish.

This root beer comes from the Pacific Northwest and was part of the XXX drive in and restaurant chain which spread around the country in the 30’s – 50’s.  the original still remains in Washington state and now hosts vintage car shows as well as running the restaurant known as “The Barrel”.

This is a good root beer to check out.  If you live in the Pacific Northwest or you hunt it down on line, it is worth the trouble to find it.  I give it a 9 out of 10.  The finish is a little weak, but that’s really just nit picking.  So check this one out, it is Root Beer Party recommended.  Once again Kim Belding has sent us a new treat, so thanks again for the gift of 12 different root beers.  Until Next Time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for day 11: The Pop Shoppe Root Beer.