Tuesday, February 15, 2005

He Yam What He Yam

Ever wonder exactly what it was that Popeye the Sailor might have
been puffing on in his pipe? Well, the investigators at AlterNet have
a theory.

Now, I have to admit that I didn't think too much about Popeye's proclivities
as a wee lass -- my favorite funnybook icon in those days was the wholesome,
clean-living Mary Marvel -- but when I grew up and got all jaded and disillusioned,
I discovered reprints of the original E. C. Segar "Popeye" comic strips
from the 1930s, and immediately fell in love. Segar's characters inhabited
a cold-blooded, cynical world in which one half of the population seemed
perpetually out to swindle the other half, with only Popeye himself standing
as the voice of civil order.

Imagine my dismay, then to learn that Popeye is a pothead.

Sigh. But then, in retrospect, Olive Oyl's no-account brother Castor
always did have the sneaking, fishy eyes and furtive manner of the neighborhood

And I guess with all this revisionism of the beloved characters of our
youth I supposed it's only a matter of time before I pick up a comic book,
for old times' sake, and encounter Mary Marvel with a boob job, a belly-shirt,
and stillettos, locked in a passionate embrace with Wonder Woman while
chained to a bedpost.

Hey sailor -- pass that pipe over here.

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