National Popeye Day
Popeye the Sailor Man first appears in Thimble Theatre comic strip
The Thimble Theatre comic strip was rather like a variety show in newspapers – a revolving cast of characters in a variety of misadventures rotated in and out. The shockingly thin Olive Oyl was one of them, along with brother Castor Oyl and fiancé Harold Hamgravy. It was Harold’s hunt for buried treasure that introduced Popeye.
On this day, January 17, in 1929, Popeye first appeared in Thimble Theatre. He accompanied Olive and Harold on their sea voyage and then disappeared, only to be brought back due to popular demand.
Soon after, Popeye replaced Harold as a main character, earning the affection of Olive as well as the the title role in the comic strip. He has remained perpetually popular since, creating a indelible mark on American popular culture: sales of his favorite food, spinach, shot up in the ensuing decade after his appearance, and Popeye was favorably compared to his contemporary, Superman, who also made his appearance around the same time.