We’re fans of the rock group Wilco group. Possibly one of the best live bands on tour today, Wilco are constantly rocking our iPod. But there’s another reason we’re fans – why? Well they’re fans of Popeye! Just take a look at the awesome video below that Wilco just released:
Here it is – the first hand-drawn Popeye cartoon in more than 30 years.
“Dawned on Me” is from the Grammy-nominated 2011 album, The Whole Love. For the music video, Wilco worked directly with King Features (the folks who own the Popeye franchise) to make the vintage black-and-white Popeye cartoon, directed by Darren Romanelli.
Wilco are an awesome live band and they obviously had a lot of fun and input making a music video like this. The video is hosted on wilcospinach.com and it’s worth checking out – even the webpage has been redesigned to look like a classic Popeye cartoon.
The Origin of Popeye
Popeye, the spinach-eating sailor, made his first appearance in comics on January 17, 1929. He was one of several characters that appeared in the old King Features daily comic strip, Thimble Theatre. Popeye became so popular, the strip was renamed in his honor.
Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar got the inspiration for Popeye when he and his assistant would take afternoon fishing trips to the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California. At the pier they met a local fisherman named Olaf “Cap” Olsen, a squinty-eyed retired Norwegian sailor who operated a tiny fleet of fishing boats from the pier. The character of Popeye was born shortly after.
Neither Olsen or Seager would have probably never guessed the creation would become such as huge star – in fact, Popeye has become a huge animation franchise. Popeye has found his way into everything from toys, games, chicken restaurants and, of course, spinach. And he even has a connection with the king of video games, Popeye’s Nintendo Arcade Game was a huge hit a well. You can play Nintendo’s Popeye online.
Popeye has even done time on the big screen, with Robin Williams as crotchety seaman opposite of Shelly Duvall’s delicate Olive Oyl.
Hand Drawn Animation
Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar is regarded as one of the most influential cartoonist in the history of cartooning. An award was even named in his honor by the National Cartoonists Society in 1971. Charles Schulz, Bil Keane, Al Capp, Bill Gallo and Mort Walker received the award before it was discontinued in 1999.
Popeye is an animation superstar. He ranks with Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in the cartoon hall of fame. Popeye comes from the hand-drawn age. Hand drawn animation is becoming a lost art, thankfully there are still young artist that want to learn how to make cartoons.
Today, Animation is a $950 billion plus industry, now Spongebob Squarepants and Pokemon rule the roost. New animators like Steven Hillenberg and Brad Bird are creating the future of cartoons but there’s still plenty of room on the playing field for new cartoonist and animators too – just like when Popeye’s creator E.C. Segar beat the odds against big studio animators like Walt Disney to introduce a cartoon sailor who ate spinach:
The classic 1956 Popeye cartoon “I Don’t Scare.”
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