I don’t know that enough is happening in Shadia Amin and Randy Milholland’s Olive and Popeye to make it a regular part of my What’s Going On In … writing. I’ve limited these columns to the story strips. And particularly the ones where the story is involved or long enough that a new reader would need months to catch up.
Olive and Popeye has had stuff happen. Not so much action and adventure, although there’s a few with that. It’s rather a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take on Olive and Popeye’s own life. One of the bits of action the past several months was Popeye having to beg off a date to go punch a sea monster, for example. With Milholland starting to do short stories in the Popeye Sunday strips perhaps between the two of these there’ll be enough for me.
Whatever does happen I’ll bundle all my Olive and Popeye plot recaps here. I’ll figure on doing at least one more of them, which should come around June of 2023, and we’ll see what follows from there.
Olive and Popeye.
27 December 2022 – 27 March 2023.
In the first several months of Olive and Popeye we mostly had characters get back together. This includes the return of Ham Gravy, one of the original cast of Thimble Theatre. He was set out as Olive Oyl’s beau, but couldn’t hold his own against the pillar of charisma and intrigue that is Castor Oyl. When Popeye took over the strip he didn’t have a chance.
And we also meet some new characters. Whaler Joe was, created by Elzie Segar himself back in 1931, as part of a newspaper feature explaining Popeye’s past. As far as I know he’s not been on-screen so he’s effectively a new character. Unmistakably new is his daughter Petunia. She’s an aspiring marine biologist who’s up for learning what Popeye knows of the sea. This is a lot of trouble with monsters and such.
Meanwhile Poopdeck Pappy wonders why Wimpy is being so nice to him and hanging around all the time. This is because Popeye’s paying him to keep Pappy away from Whaler Joe. Popeye’s not worried about his mother Irene or his Aunt Jones (wife of Davy “Locker” Jones) knowing him. They get along great, in fact, with the worst that happens digging out old photos of Popeye’s teen goth phase.
Still, Pappy is jealous and he won’t take any of the abundant good advice he gets to back off. I know it’s the mode of modern cartoons and comic strips to have emotionally aware characters. Still, when you think of how many Popeye adventures have depended on bonkers headgames it’s odd to see Olive and Popeye being mature. It fits well enough, moreso on Popeye, but still.
And it turns out Pappy and Whaler Joe knew each other anyway. Pappy had used a young, naive Whaler Joe as lackey on the first ship Joe ever sailed on. That ended when Pappy accidentally got Whaler Joe fired. It’s a gag solid enough that it feels more like a stroke of Dickensian plotting than a shrinking of the Thimble Theatre world. Pappy leaves, wondering why everyone treats him as the jerk. Whaler Joe is gracious and we learn Popeye’s taken up that same good grace.
Stuff’s been happening with Olive Oyl too, although I’m less sure there’s a story there. Some avoiding of the new flirtations by Ham Gravy (who, with Castor Oyl, had a fun five-week sequence in the Sunday Popeye strips failing to vanquish all, or any, of Popeye’s foes). Some getting-together with her family and with Petunia and offhandedly vanquishing Susie the Sea Nymph. Rolling her eyes and sneering at Bluto. Being nice to Brutus, and the Sea Hag’s intern, for a Pi Day strip. A lot of the stuff that would be the thing going on when an adventure starts. I don’t know that it’s going anywhere but it’s all fun to see.
I get serious about our favorite time-travelling cave people and how they encounter a claimant to the throne of Schenectady. Also the oceans. Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop gets some love from me next week, if things go to plan.
2 thoughts on “What’s Going On In Olive and Popeye? Is it enough to make a regular feature of this? December 2022 – March 2023”
And it turns out Pappy and Whaler Joe knew each other anyway. Pappy had used a young, naive Whaler Joe as lackey on the first ship Joe ever sailed on. That ended when Pappy accidentally got Whaler Joe fired. It’s a gag solid enough that it feels more like a stroke of Dickensian plotting than a shrinking of the Thimble Theatre world.
Not unlike Will Decker’s feelings after Kirk accidently killed his father,Matt all those years ago.
There’s some resemblance, sure, although … say, now, who did raise Will after Matt was busy being dead? Come to think of it?