October 7, 2013 posted by

Sagendorf’s Popeye

Popeye-classics2Artist and editor Craig Yoe – current president of the secret “Society of Sagendorks” and perennial keeper-of-the-flame that continues to light Popeye’s pipe – has a new book and a continuing series of comics that are in serious need of a plug.

Craig has just published volume 2 of his hard-cover series of Popeye Classics (IDW Publishing). These restore and collect the Bud Sagendorf Popeye comic book stories of the 1950s (originally published by Western under the Dell imprint).

Bud Sagendorf was mentored by E.C. Segar, the creator of Popeye, as his art assistant from 1931 (at age 17) till Segar’s passing in 1938. From that point, young Sagendorf was assigned to draw Popeye for various licensing merchandise – all of which eventually led to him getting the job of creating new Popeye comic book stories in 1948. For the next 14 years he created an amazing wealth of material – faithfully building upon Segar’s universe of characters and situations that are some of the best comics (Popeye or otherwise) ever published. Not to mention, they are a helluva lot of fun – both to look at and read.

popeye13-classicIt’s rare that the comic book version of a popular comic strip is as good or better than the original. This is one of those rare exceptions. Sagendorf is immersed in Segar’s world. His storytelling abilities are superb and his cartooning is a joy to behold. Sagendorf owned this universe as much as Segar – other artists have been able substitutes, but Sagendorf knew these eccentric personalities inside and out.
Vol. 2 contains imaginative stories such as Moon Goon, Misermites and Sound Pills and a classic J.W. Wimpy tale of “hunger and desert madness entitled “Food! Food!” or “May I Borrow Your Duck, Mister?“.

popeye13-fleenerFor those who need their fix of Sagendorf on a regular basis, Yoe and IDW are also publishing a continuing monthly series of classic Sagendorf Popeye reprints. On real paper – none of this download nonsense. You can buy them at your local comic book store. Issue #14 just came out with an alternate cover by Jack Mendelsohn (Yellow Submarine, Jackys Diary, Mad Magazine, 1960s Paramount cartoons, etc.).

Pictured at above is #13 (Sagendorf), at right the alternate cover of #13 by Mary Fleener. Great stuff. Below is a sample of one of Sagendorf’s merchandising pieces, and below that a sample of his comic strip (he did the daily and Sunday Popeye strip from 1959 thru 1986).

Hop on the Sagendorf boat. It’s a cool ride!




  • Damn right! Sagendorf occupies the same pantheon as Barks and Stanley as far as I’m concerned.

    Craig, you keep printing ’em, and I’ll keep buying ’em.

  • Great to have these books available but I hope Segar’s other successors get the same treatment someday. Bela Zaboly was an outstanding cartoonist and he drew the strip from 1939 to 1958 (plus his work appeared on a lot of merchandise).

  • I have become quite fond of Sagendorf’s work through the various Yoe Books featuring Popeye’s comic book tales. While Sagendorf’s stories seem to be more lightweight reading compared to Segar’s newspaper strips, it would be unfair to compare the two, as Sagendorf was writing the books for an audience of kids (which probably accounts for Swee’pea’s prominence in many of these tales) . Sagendorf’s art is very well-drawn, lively and just plain fun to look at. Wimpy really threatens to steal the show in many of these stories. The two-page text stories which have been included in these reprints are an interesting look at the comic books of yesteryear. They may have been printed to try to make the books more “parent friendly”, but these stories manage to keep the personalities of the characters right, and are livened up by illustrations by Sagendorf.

    • The two page text stories so widespread in the early days of comics actually had to do with postal regulations. To qualify for the lowest postal rates, periodicals were required to contain at least two pages of text material. Eventually some comics solved that with letters pages. (For awhile, Archie Comics even ran Hollywood gossip pieces as their text features.)

  • beautiful stuff.

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