Monday, August 25, 2014

That Time Superman Fought Popeye

Not to bore you with the deets of how this little blog keeps a' chugging along after all these years, but the biggest challenge is (as you might imagine) finding something worth writing about.  Even comics from indie publishers from the 1940's, while not technically the best comics out there, aren't always fodder for silly things to point out.  That's also the reason I generally avoid anything published after 1980.

The Silver and Bronze Ages of Comics rule.  One need look no further than Action Comics #421 to see why: 

Yup.  Superman basically fights Popeye.  Mind you, this is the company that sued the publishers of Captain Marvel because, despite obvious differences in tone and appearance, the comics world wasn't big enough for two heroes who were strong and could fly ... and were outselling them.

Hypocrisy aside, this story is nonstop good times.

It's not the first time a publisher used a "homage" to accomplish a character crossover without using the actual character, but the fact that they were giving us Popeye of all things, was just plain fun.

And, we got to see the phrase, "The Mighty Seaman":

But as any good lawyer will tell you when it comes to potential trademark violations, "pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered."  So, it was only meant to be a one-shot:

Yup.  Superman stole the last of the spinach sauncha, putting an end to the fun before King Features could assemble a lawsuit:

That was awesome.  True, there wasn't much to make fun of, but sometimes a story is so great that it deserves some props.  Off to the CMNS Comic Book Hall of Fame (tm!) with you.

Conversely, here's a story that had no potential: 

Yawn.  Besides, this kid has an awesome room.  He has a tv, stereo, and can drink soda in it.  I didn't even have a stereo in my room until I was 14.  The rest of the world doesn't get any better, kid.  Leave well enough alone.

Man, I wish I could find that issue.  You can't go wrong with a fight involving a gorilla.

Finally, here is a dang near perfect cover:

See?  There are some blurbs on top telling you what's in there, but there's nothing getting in the way of the picture, which is incredible.  Off to the Cover Hall of Fame (tm!) with you!

See you tomorrow!


wordsmith said...

Adam, even though I'm a huge Superman fan, I realize that many of the stories he's appeared in are just zany, which is why I love your blog--so if it were up to me, I'd like to read your take on any other Big Blue stories you may have access to (if I recall correctly, you're borrowing the Action Comics from a friend). But you don't have to ridicule every story--reportage is always acceptable in lieu of humor.
And, surprisingly enough, Captain Strong wasn't a one-shot--he made a handful of reappearances even into the mid-eighties.

Adam Barnett said...

Thank you, wordsmith! I may lean towards doing reporting of stories when the humor well runs dry. I also have access (not ownership, sadly) of a lot of Superman's solo book as well. And we're going to start looking at the Batman solo book as well! Captain Strong made other appearances???? I must find them and I shall! Thanks for the tip!

wordsmith said...

You're welcome, and thank you for running your blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And I just took another look at Nick Cardy's art for Action Comics #424--that is one amazing cover.

Adam Barnett said...

I love that cover! The Silver Age had covers that have never been matched, before or since! :-)

Anonymous said...

Adam captain Strong did come back -- it was a private life of Clark Kent Story as I recall -- I'll see if I can find it. Also, the trademarks kept getting ripped off because he had a girfriend named Olive or something.

Anonymous said...

I'll try to find more goodies as well. The silver age and bronze age -- good times! LOVE this site!!!!

Adam Barnett said...

Hey! I've got the next appearance of Captain Strong in my hot little hand! WOOT!

Nathan said...

I wonder when this was in relation to the cartoon where Bluto dressed up as Superman. I think the cartoon rights to the characters were actually owned by the same company. I know the Fleischers were the first to make Popeye and Superman cartoons.