Genre: humor

Created in: 1929

Popeye the Sailor had an inauspicious debut as a walk-on character in the “Thimble Theatre” newspaper comic strip, created by E.C. Segar that starred Castor Oyl and his sister Olive, on January 17, 1929 with the following exchange:

CASTOR OYL: “Hey there! Are you a sailor?”
POPEYE: “ ‘Ja think I’m a cowboy?”

As the continuities of Thimble Theatre progressed, Popeye moved to the forefront, becoming a co-star along with Castor Oyl, eventually taking over as the strip’s main attraction, with Castor fading away.

Already a newspaper strip sensation, Popeye soon conquered theatrical animation with a popular short subject series beginning in 1933. First appearing as a co-star with Betty Boop and, from that one guest shot, quickly helming his own series produced by Max Fleischer and later Famous (Paramount) Studios, running thru 1957.

Popeye ran as a component feature (in Thimble Theatre reprints) as part of King Comics (David McKay, 1936 Series) for 155 issues (1936-1949).

Beginning in 1941, Popeye began a long and unbroken comic book run as the title character over several publishers: Dell, Gold Key (first series), King Comics (1960s), Charlton, Gold Key (second series), and Whitman that lasted into 1984. Other, later publishers sporadically offered Popeye comic books as well.

The Dell series began with several issues of Thimble Theatre strip reprints by E.C. Segar and some of his assistants such as Bela Zaboly (in both the “Large Feature” and “Four Color” series), then followed by original material primarily by Bud Sagendorf (1940s-1960s) and George Wildman (1970s-1980s).

First comic book appearance: King Comics (David McKay, 1936 Series) #1 (1936).

First comic book appearance as the title character: Large Feature Comic (Dell, 1939 Series) #24 – Popeye (1941).

The David McKay and Dell series seem to have run concurrently, perhaps owing to Popeye’s great popularity.

1929; breakout character; comic strip; E.C. Segar; Max Fleischer; theatrical animation; Thimble Theatre

Feature Logos

Logo Name Year Began Year Ended
Popeye ? ?
Popeye an' Pappy
Popeye an' Swee'Pea ? ?
Popeye an' Swee'pea
Popeye an' Wimpy ? ?
Popeye and Swee'pea
Popeye the Sailor ? ?
Thimble Theatre Presents – Popeye [Dell Logo 1 by Bud Sagendorf]
Popeye Starring in Thimble Theatre 1950

Feature Relations

as feature in other language: Braccio di Ferro (Italian)
as feature in other language: Popeye (Spanish)
as feature in other language: Popeye (Dutch)
as feature in other language: Popeye (German)
as feature in other language: Popeye (French)
as feature in other language: Schifferkarl (German)
as feature in other language: Skipper'n (Norwegian)