Friday, September 4, 2015

My Quest For POPEYE

If any of you reading this know me, you know I am a life-long, hardcore Groo fan and Popeye fan. I've been drawing them since I was 7 years old. I read their books, collect what I can afford of their merchandise, etc. My lifelong dream (and I do have a few of those) is to professionally draw Groo and/or Popeye. Since Groo's creator Sergio Aragones and his cohort Mark Evanier have both voiced that if Sergio doesn't draw Groo, NOBODY does, I will never have the chance at the mendicant barbarian. But Popeye the Sailor has been published in recent years, beginning a regular new comic book series that unfortunately ended by its 12th issue, and then "Comic Classics" stories. These books are reprints of Bud Sagendorf's run on Popeye comics in the 50s on. Ok, so I can't draw a regular series. I tried and was not accepted. Well, the "Comic Classics" have variant covers to the issues, and have used artwork of professional cartoonists and fan art. FANTASTIC!!! I was sending samples and submissions since just before the new series began (I think it was 2011 or 2012) up until as recently as June. Nothing. I've been drawing Popeye since I remember drawing! I have studied him, the various E.C Segar creations as well as Sagendorf characters, and thought I represented the character well. That's what was looked for in the series, but I don't recall if I sent sequential art or not (sequential art is artwork that tells a story panel-to-panel or step by step, like a storyboard for a movie. THAT'S one of the biggest things editors and publishers look for in artists, not just art quality). But the variant covers wouldn't require sequential art! I love the character and try my best to show that through my illustrations. I don't want to veer from the classic style. Why mess with perfection (not my drawing of Popeye, the perfection that is Segar's characters)? Then I start to see the variants coming in for "Comic Classics" and they are WILD, abstract takes on Popeye. I find that I cannot do what they're looking for. I am not abstract. Don't get me wrong; I'm not bad-mouthing the covers that grace the covers. It's that they were NOT what I expected to see. The styles are beyond my wheel-house. I don't want to alter my vision of Popeye. I even TRIED to make some "wackier" styles, but they also were not accepted. I also can't get feedback. WHY am I not good enough? I've dreamed my entire life to draw for POPEYE, and when I was hipped to the news that the publisher was going to start a new POPEYE comic and they were looking for artists, I thought I'd be a shoe-in.
 You tell me, and I'm not looking to boost my ego, but what do you think? What is wrong with how I draw Popeye?