Popeye the Sailor Man is a cartoon fictional character, created by Elzie Crisler Segar, who has appeared in comic strips and theatrical and television animated cartoons. He first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929; Popeye became the strip’s title in later years.

Although Segar’s Thimble Theatre strip was in its tenth year when Popeye made his debut, the sailor quickly became the main focus of the strip and Thimble Theatre soon became one of King Features’ most popular properties during the 1930s. Thimble Theatre was continued after Segar’s death in 1938 by several writers and artists, most notably Segar’s assistant Bud Sagendorf. The strip continues to appear in first-run installments in its Sunday edition, written and drawn by Hy Eisman. The daily strips are reprints of old Sagendorf stories.  popeye04

In 1933, Max and Dave Fleischer’s Fleischer Studios adapted the Thimble Theatre characters into a series of Popeye the Sailor theatrical cartoon shorts for Paramount Pictures. These cartoons proved to be among the most popular of the 1930s, and the Fleischers—and later Paramount’s own Famous Studios—continued production through 1957. These cartoon shorts are now owned by Turner Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and distributed by sister company Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Over the years, Popeye has also appeared in comic books, television cartoons, arcade and video games, hundreds of advertisements[citation needed] and peripheral products (ranging from spinach to candy cigarettes), and the 1980 live-action film directed by Robert Altman that starred comedian Robin Williams as Popeye.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked Popeye #20 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list.

6 stories

1932 King of Popilania
1932 The Eighth Sea
1935 Popeye’s Ark
1935 The Sea Hag’s Sister
1936 Popeye’s Poppa
1938 King Swee’pea




Elzie Segar’s “Thimble Theatre” came out in 1919 for the first time, and his characters continue to experience wide popularity even today. Originally the strip did not center around the favorite “Popeye, the Sailor Man”, but rather around the Oyl family. The Oyl’s featured Olive, the well-known romantic interest of Popeye, Castor, her brother, Nana, her mother, and Cole, her father. Eventually, however, the strip’s regular characters became the ones with which we’re most familiar. The strip was remarkable for its ability to mix the fantastic with the absolutely mundane. The location of the strip’s narratives ranged from everyday America to islands in Polynesia. In fact, it was precisely this ability to closely align fantasy and reality that made Segar such a hit with audiences in the Depression, audiences looking for an escape and a laugh.

11 strips 1919
303 strips 1920


26 strips 1926
188 strips 1928
302 strips 1929


52 strips 1932
15 strips 1935
15 strips 1936
18 strips 1937
19 strips 1938
10 strips various



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