As this new collection from Fantagraphics amply demonstrates, there’s a fairly standard script to your typical Popeye cartoon. A Plutocrat/Stick-Up Man/Conniving Dandy, etc. messes with Olive Oyl/An Orphan/Wimpy, et. al, and a few panels later gets laid out by the big man himself. There are slight variations to be sure: sometimes it’s Olive Oyl that sparks the brawl; occasionally, Popeye’s ever-tenuous grasp of the language is to blame. Regardless, though, at the end of the day, somebody’s taking one in the kisser. Certainly it’s not the most brilliant of formulas, and I’m not sure we needed a full book of the stuff, but Popeye’s act has been remarkably successful — 70-plus years in celluloid and print — and those interested to see how it all began can get their insight here. On a not-unrelated note, it turns out spinach’s muscle-building properties have been vastly overstated. As it happened, back in the 1930s some FDA bureaucrat misplaced a decimal point, citing the vegetable’s iron content as ten times the true value. The mistake has since been corrected, but the myth, like the comic that so famously appropriated it, abides.