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Stephen Kroninger
POPEYE
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The Fleischer Popeye cartoons were a big part of my childhood. When Craig Yoe of Yoe books asked if I would like to do a cover for a series of Popeye comics for publisher IDW I jumped at the chance. Actually I didn't jump. It took me a few days to decide. I agreed to do it after running into Craig through a chance meeting at the Society of Illustrators. Being an illustrator is a rare treat. Here I was at age fifty-seven with Fleischer Popeyes playing on my computer screen and spending time re-reading a pile of Elzie Segar's Popeye comics. It was like being five again except Sally Starr wasn't presenting the cartoons as she did in my single digits. Sally was the Popeye kids show host in Philadelphia on one of the three channels we watched in the small 1060s Pennsylvania village I grew up in. I first read Elzie Segar's Popeye in The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics in the 70s. Come the eighties Fantagraphics began republishing the complete run of Segar's Popeye. I ate those up. To this day Popeye is my favorite comic strip. Craig's only art direction was to "do what you want" which is often my favorite kind of art direction. After I sent him a file of the finished artwork he wrote back, "IT'S SO FUN, WILD, CREATIVE, DIFFERENT--everything I hope for on these covers--you did it aces, Stephen!" Just the kind of feedback I like.


“We are finishing up the acclaimed Popeye mini-series, and we’ll go out with a goggley-eyed bang when Popeye meets Barney Google. One of the most popular aspects has been the variant covers by celeb artists. So we are now going to continue that aspect in our reprints of the hilarious Bud Sagendorf’s* Popeye classic Comics. We are ecstatic that the first Popeye Classic variant cover will be by the justly famed New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. We’re looking for other awesome artists who want to do a variant cover..."---Craig Yoe (source Cartoon Brew: Popeye Comics Get Cool By Jerry Beck)
 
*Sagendorf was the long-time assistant to the creator of Popeye, Elzie Segar. From 1948 to 1962, Sagendorf was the writer-artist of Dell's Popeye comic book. In 1959, he finally assumed command of the Thimble Theatre comic strip. He continued the strip until 1986.
 In addition to Roz Chast, artists who created variant covers for the series include Al Jaffee, Jules Feiffer, Mary Fleener, Tony Millionaire, Jack Mendelshon, Craig Yoe, Shawn Dickinson, Shawn Pacheco, Chogrin Munoz and others. Some of these names may be more familiar to comics afficianados than the illustration crowd.




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