This time I have two Popeye issues to review. First up, POPEYE #9. This issue features artwork by Ken Wheaton, and is some of the finest artwork to appear in the series so far. Wheaton's art is fluid, not stiff like what has become the unofficial IDW house style for Popeye. He also shows a slight influence of the Max Fleischer character designs, which is very welcome. The story, written by regular writer Roger Langridge, is an adventure that deals with a mysterious but delicious and nutritious vegetation based meat substitute, named Schtuff. Alice the Goon seems to find something troubling about it, which leads Popeye to investigate, discovering Bluto, assisted by a hypnotist named Kazam, has developed the recipe by mixing a mushroom native to Goon Island with the tears of hundreds of hypnotized Goons. As typical of Langridge, he does a good job spinning an adventure, but he's a little light on the humor. There is also a Sappo back up feature that is very enjoyable. The artwork on this issue gets an A, but the writing a C+, for a total grade of a B.
Next is MARS ATTACKS POPEYE, a one-shot crossover. The artwork is by Terry Beatty, and shows some influence of Bill Zaboly, and Barbecue For Two, the pilot episode of the 1960s TV cartoons. The story, by Martin Powell, is fairly standard stuff considering this is a crossover of such two unlikely continuities. The Sea Hag teams up with the martians to invade earth, and its up to Popeye to stop it. A little too much sci-fi mixed in with Popeye for my taste, but it accomplishes its goal. It earns a C.