Popeye 90th Anniversary Celebration
February 25 – October 6, 2019
E.C. Segar (1894–1938) was one of the classic American cartoonists of the 1920s and ’30s, best known for creating the beloved comic character Popeye. Hailing from Chester, IL, Segar had an unconventional path to cartooning success. He started out providing musical accompaniment for movies and vaudeville acts at his local theater, eventually becoming a film projectionist. At 18, interested in cartooning but lacking formal training, Segar took a correspondence art course. Years later, he created a comic strip, Charlie Chaplin’s Comedy Capers, which was published by the Chicago Herald. Throughout the 1910s, he would work on two short-lived comic strips, Barry the Boob and Looping the Loop, until he created the popular Thimble Theater.
Debuting in 1919, the strip would run for nearly a decade before the January 17, 1929 strip that introduced Popeye. This eccentric sailor man soon became the star of the strip, which exploded in popularity thereafter. Segar’s hilarious, wildly imaginative creation has influenced generations of artists and cartoonists and his characters still appear in popular media today.
Popeye’s Cartoon Club
In the 1930s, E.C. Segar added a new feature to the end of the Thimble Theatre Sunday comic page called “Popeye’s Cartoon Club.” In it, he offered quick drawing lessons and invited fans to submit their own cartoons to be published alongside one of the most famous comic characters of all time—Popeye!
Now, to honor the legacy of Thimble Theatre, King Features Syndicate is bringing “Popeye’s Cartoon Club” back, but with a twist! This time, they’ve invited artists of all kinds to write and draw their own Sunday comic strip featuring Popeye and his friends. King Features will be publishing one strip a week for the full year of 2019.
Come share your love of Popeye with your favorite artists and help us wish everyone’s favorite Sailor Man a very happy birthday!