Grown-up Dave doesn’t think about Popeye the Sailor Man all that much, but kid Dave loved him.
It started with the cartoons, obviously. When I was very young Popeye cartoons were just as heavy in rotation as Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. I don’t know what happened or why the Sailor Man hasn’t remained as relevant as many other animated icons, but for whatever reason he doesn’t have a very high profile nowadays.
The cartoons were one thing, but in 1980 something very peculiar and quite special happened – Robin Williams starred in a musical Popeye movie directed by five-time Academy Award nominee Robert Altman. The same Robert Altman who directed MASH, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, and Nashville. It was surprising to the world and to this day I think film fans are a bit confused, but of course four-year-old me didn’t know any of that when Mom took me to the theater to see this unique cinematic experience.
While my actual memories of Popeye come from later viewings, I do know that I loved that movie and that it reinforced my fandom for the character. One of my earliest memories is of begging Mom for a can of spinach until she finally broke down and got one. I tried it raw – like Popeye – hated it, and switched to a can of Fritos like they used to have back in the day.
HEALTH ADVISORY – Fritos will not make you strong like Popeye, but they also will not make you throw up like raw spinach out of a can.
My Popeye fandom probably peaked right around the movie coming out and has slowly waned ever since. At no point have I disliked him; he just hasn’t loomed large in my pop culture awareness for quite some time.
I have a collection of comic strips that my mom gave me years ago, but I can’t pretend I’ve read it cover to cover. At most it’s been perused a time or two with only a few pages read in their entirety.
Actually, the last time I gave Popeye any real thought was the last time Mezco put out Popeye toys. Popeye the Sailorpedia lists way more figures than I remember actually being released. I just had Popeye, Bluto, and Wimpy from the first wave. I passed on Olive Oyl because she is the worst.
Clearly someone at Mezco is a much bigger Popeye fan than I am. Between those excellent figures from eighteen years ago(!) and this new One:12 Collective figure, they are carrying the torch for an animated hero who deserves much more recognition than he seems to get. This was one of the earliest announced One:12 figures and it’s been clear from that initial peek that this figure is a serious labor of love.
This is a truly weird concept and design – bringing a character whose most remarkable features are incredibly anatomically improbable into the One:12 semi-realistic format resulted in a look that many found off-putting at first, but that has become more acceptable as the line has gone on. I, for one, hadn’t planned on getting this one due to my strict One:12 collecting rules, but apparently at some point I relented and ordered one because it came in at the Local Comic Shop. By that time I was delighted that Past Me had made the decision because reviews were coming in and Popeye seems to be a hit, making many “Best of 2018” lists.
Is the figure worth the wait and worth possibly going outside of your fandom to obtain? Read on and find out! Continue reading “Toy Review – One:12 Collective Popeye from Mezco” →