In my mad rush to complete this robot comic (Art's done! Just working on the interface now! Avast!), I've found a lot of solace in going back to one of my favorite artist, E.C. Segar, and his daily and Sunday strip, Thimble Theater. Best known as the creator of Popeye, I think his creations are one of those classic examples of a pop culture icon being so coopted by mainstream media, that it becomes a caricature of itself (I know, I know, I talking about cartoons here, but bear with me: the semantics of the artform can be addressed in a later post).
Popeye, just one (and I personally think one of the most banal)of Segar's incredible creations, is known these days as that squinty guy who eats spinach and has forearm gigantism. But the world he inhabited- Wimpy, The Seahag, The Goon (The Goon! Creepshow!), and the rest- is worth another examination, and, as always, I have to recommend the old school funny paper strips: the rehash in comicbook form in the 50s was just bunk. And while the Fleischer Studio cartoon translation of Popeye was interesting enough, it never could capture that dark, stark world of black background and sea monsters.
Below is an sample of the small strip that accompanied Popeye, (back when comic artists had a whole newspaper page to themselves!), called Sappo. It started out about the ever-abused husband Sappo, but rapidly really became about Professor Wotznoszzle and all his weird inventions. Check out that Z-Ray!