Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Popeye’s Creator is Gone

Popeye’s Creator is Gone
October 13, 1938
Winona Republican-Herald

There was something Olympian about Elzie C. Segar. Like Jove, he created a child of his brain which became a great public personality.

A rather small, tired-looking man, he dwelt in a world of his own making, a world which combined perhaps a whimsical translation of a gently satirical view on human life, a shy but sturdy belief in basic ethical conduct and a secret longing for the physical strength denied him in real life.

His Popeye is the best known of the comic invincibles. When this character goes into action you know that no matter what he encounters he will be victorious in the end. Toar, King Cabooso and other he-man characters go down before him.

Segar possessed an eerie imagination too, as shown by the Goons, the Men from Mars, the Sea Hag with her buzzard and other characters. But his strips always were comic, and J. Wellington Wimpy, Olive Oyl, Swee’pea and the rest always relieved any situation with their mirth.

Always he preserved the fundamental morality of his outlook on life. ‘I yam what I yam,” said Popeye, and further exhorted his readers to be kind, to scorn lying and dishonesty, to fight for the right. The impact of his creations could be economically proved by the rise in popularity of spinach as food among young Americans. But he also left deeper and less measurable influences. To millions of boys and girls, and their elders too, he sleeps in a Valhalla all his own, peopled by the personages of the strange and pleasing world he created.

1 comment:

  1. I love Segar. I discovered Popeye in the stories of Bud Sagendorf (I liked), but when I could read the works of Segar, an ocean of beauty and weird sense of humor discovered a new univers to my eyes!
    One of the greatest, without a doubt.