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Popeye at 90 – License to Grow


It’s the 90th anniversary of Popeye‘s debut (and the 100th of Thimble Theatre).

But age isn’t slowing down the Sailor Man. His comic strip continues with reprinted Bud Sagendorf dailies and new Hy Eisman Sunday pages, and this year it was joined by a companion Sunday strip—Popeye’s Cartoon Club by various celebrity cartoonists.

But the funny pages is not his only showcase. Popeye is a licensing powerhouse.

With thousands of comics, a feature film and more than 600 episodes of cartoon content, the iconic sailor is one of the world’s most recognizable characters with millions of fans around the globe.

Retail Merchandiser talks to Carla Silva, VP and global head of licensing at King Features, about King Features licensing in general and Popeye licensing in particular.

“Popeye has evolved from a well-known character in print and on the silver screen into a fashion icon,” Silva says. In recent years, King Features has seen a lot of success for the brand in the streetwear category through partnerships with brands that include Supreme, Joyrich, Iceberg and A Bathing Ape.

The company has also an established partnership with Fun World, one of the three largest Halloween costume creators and suppliers in the world. This year, King Features has also collaborated with the popular streetwear brand HUF and has upcoming anniversary collections with Scotch & Soda, Stradivarius (Inditex Group), GU (UNIQLO’s sister brand) and Zara.

“We expect the celebration of Popeye’s 90th and Olive Oyl’s 100th anniversaries in 2019 to generate a lot of excitement and interest around the brands,” Silva says. “And we continuously seek new partners across multiple categories around the world.”

Yes, 100-year-old Olive Oyl has her own fashion empire.


By the way, if you are in New York City
you still have a couple of days left to get Popeye’s 90th anniversary treat.






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