Comic Strip / Comics

Who Created the Comic Strip Popeye?

Popeye the Sailor Man is an iconic character that has been entertaining audiences for decades. He’s known for his iconic spinach-eating routine and his signature catchphrase, “I yam what I yam.”

But have you ever wondered who created this beloved comic strip character? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the man behind Popeye and the history of this popular cartoon.

The Creator of Popeye

Popeye was created by cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar, who was born in Chester, Illinois in 1894. Segar began his career as a cartoonist in 1915, working for various newspapers and comic book publishers. In 1929, he introduced the character of Popeye in his comic strip Thimble Theatre.

The Inspiration Behind Popeye

Segar drew inspiration for Popeye from a real-life person named Frank “Rocky” Fiegel. Fiegel was a sailor who lived in Segar’s hometown of Chester and was known for his tough-guy persona and love of fighting. Segar also drew inspiration from other characters in Thimble Theatre, including Olive Oyl and Bluto.

The Evolution of Popeye

When Popeye first appeared in Thimble Theatre, he wasn’t the main character. Instead, he was introduced as a secondary character who helped Olive Oyl rescue her brother from kidnappers. However, readers quickly fell in love with the spinach-eating sailor and he became a regular fixture in the strip.

Over time, Segar developed Popeye’s backstory and added new characters to the strip. One of the most popular additions was Wimpy, a hamburger-loving moocher who first appeared in 1931.

Popeye Goes Hollywood

In addition to appearing in comic strips, Popeye also made his way to the big screen. In 1933, the first Popeye animated short was released by Fleischer Studios. The series was a huge success and continued until 1957.

Popeye also appeared in numerous comic books, television shows, and even a live-action film in 1980 starring Robin Williams as the spinach-eating sailor.

In Conclusion

Elzie Crisler Segar may have created Popeye, but it’s the character’s enduring popularity that has kept him alive for so many years. From his humble beginnings as a secondary character in a comic strip to his status as an iconic pop culture figure, Popeye has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. So next time you hear that familiar catchphrase, “I yam what I yam,” remember the man behind it all – Elzie Crisler Segar.