Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Comic Book Legends Revealed

There's a particularly good edition of Brain Cronin's Comic Book Legends Revealed over on Comic Book Resources. Below is just one of the "comic book legends" he examines this week.

COMIC LEGEND: Bluto was changed to Brutus in the 1960s Popeye animated series because Bluto was owned by the company that did the previous Popeye animated series.

STATUS: As it turns out, False

This is technically about an event that occurred during the Silver Age, but it’s about a character from the 1930s, so it still counts, consarnit!!

Popeye, the break-out star from Elzie Crisler Segar’s classic Thimble Theatre comic strip, was developed by Fleischer Studios as a cartoon serial series to debut in 1933. The Studio asked Segar if he could help them by introducing a recurring villain for Popeye to fight.

Segar then introduced “Bluto the Terrible” in 1932. (see the utterly brilliant Popeye Vol. 3: "Let's You and Him Fight!" - R.C.)

Bluto popped up in the Fleischer cartoons and he then became a major sensation as Popeye’s famous arch-rival.

Fast-forward to the late 1950s, and Fleischer Studios (now known as Famous Studios) were finished with the Popeye serials.

King Feature Syndicate decided that they would then make cartoons of Popeye of their own.

When it came to Bluto, however, since Segar had created the character for Fleischer, King Features figured that Paramount (who now owned Famous/Fleischer) had the rights to the character, so they introduced a “new” character named Brutus, who was like Bluto, but fatter and, well, named Brutus (the voice actor, Jackson Beck, was even the same).

However, after the fact they realized that no, since Segar introduced the character first in the comic strip, King Features owned the character themselves! So they introduced a “new” character for no reason!

He’s been back to Bluto ever since! But for a whole generation of kids, there’s that big confusion over what exactly is the difference between Bluto and Brutus!

No comments: