28/08/2021 Popeye the Sailor Man

Popeye is a pugnacious, pipe smoking, indestructible sailor with superhuman strength obtained by rubbing his head with the Whiffle Hen.  

Created by Elzie Crisler Segar. Popeye first appeared in the daily King Features strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929. ( The top image is of his first appearance)

His popularity led eventually to his becoming the strips central protagonist and took over the title. Segar died in 1938 and though the strip continued with several writers and artists it was Segar’s individual imagination that made the Popeye the great comic book it continues to be.

The publisher Fantagraphics are to reprint the Popeye Sunday newspaper strips. Popeye Volumne1 : Olive Oyle and her Sweetie which covers the years 1932 -1932. It will not be on sale until November 2nd 2021 but is worth making note of.

I used to own The Complete E. C. Segar Popeye, published in the 1980s and containing all Segar Sunday strips featuring Popeye which so can recommend this new collection from personal experience.

After Segar's death in 1938, different artists drew the strip and Popeye appeared in film and television cartoons, theatre, a live movie, video games, and many advertisements. But Segar’s was the original and best - recounting Popeyes adventures and encounters in an eccentric, funny and engaging style never really matched.

A list of characters created by Segal gives an idea of his humour and range of invention.

  • Popeye the Sailor Man
  • Olive Oyl
  • Swee'Pea (Popeye's adopted baby son)
  • J. Wellington Wimpy
  • Bluto/Brutus ( Popeye’s rivals )
  • Eugene the Jeep (vaguely doglike animal from 4th dimension)
  • The Sea Hag (pirate and the last witch on Earth
  • The Sea Hag's vultures ( including her favourite, Bernadette)
  • Goons ( Sea Hags heavies)
  • Alice the Goon ( became Swee'Pea's babysitter)
  • Rough House (a cook who runs the Rough House restaurant)
  • George W. Geezil (the local cobbler who hates Wimpy)
  • Ham Gravy (full name Harold Hamgravy, Olive Oyl's original boyfriend)
  • Castor Oyl (Olive Oyl's brother)
  • Cole Oyl (Olive Oyl's father)
  • Nana Oyl (Olive Oyl's mother)
  • King Blozo
  • Oscar)
  • General Bunzo
  • Bernice the Whiffle Hen
  • "Salty" Bill Barnacle
  • Bill Squid
  • Bolo (a humanoid slave of the Sea Hag)
  • Bullo Oxheart and his mother (a boxer rival of Popeye)
  • B. Loony Bullony (a depressive cartoonist)
  • Battling McGnat (Popeye's boxing manager)
  • Johnny Doodle
  • The Mars Men (coming in various forms)
  • Mary Ann (Popeye's adopted daughter for a few strips)
  • Poopdeck Pappy (Popeye's 99-year-old long-lost father)
  • Pooky Jones (a dwarf and Poopdeck Pappy's best friend)
  • Professor O. G. Watasnozzle
  • Toar (a 900-pound caveman)

There may be more.



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