90 years ago on January 17, 1929…
E. C. Segar introduced Popeye into his comic strip. Popeye was only intended to be in this one episode of Thimble Theatre and disappear, but by the end of the adventure Popeye had become too popular to ignore. After a brief absence Popeye returned and stayed.
Segar was a genius cartoonist with a superior comic strip, but the sailor man brought both worldwide acclaim and success. Unfortunately Segar only had until 1938 to work with Popeye before dying at the early age of 43. By that time Popeye was too big to fail. A number of cartoonists carried on the strip for King Features, while animated cartoons, comic books, advertising, and more furthered the fame.
For those interested in the original Popeye Fantagraphics’ collection of the Segar years is a “must have.” Where you can learn that before spinach Popeye had the Whiffle Hen.
The above firsts are from First Versions, where they feature more Segar Thimble Theatre firsts.
At the other end of this year, on December 19, 2019, the Thimble Theatre will be one of the few comic strips to celebrate being around for 100 years, joining The Katzenjammer Kids, Gasoline Alley, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not (later this year Barney Google and Snuffy Smith joins Club 100).
Until then – The Wit and Wisdom of Popeye:
Most of the above, and more, at Popeye Panels.
And don’t forget to catch Hy Eisman‘s 90th year tribute in the January 20, 2019 Sunday Popeye strip.