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Saturday, January 16, 2010

POST # 22 - CENSORED "POPEYE" SUNDAY STRIP by Elzie Segar (original artwork)

Today's post is a bit of a diversion from the usual.
In my travels across the inter-web searching for beautiful and thought provoking black and white artwork, I came across quite a number of original pages and strips selling at auction houses and private galleries. As the last post, this entry comes from the Lewis Wayne Gallery.

Elzie Segar (1894-1938) was a platinum age cartoonist. In 1920 he created The Thimble Theater, a strip that started running in the New York Journal. The Thimble Theater featured a beanpole-thin heroine named Olive Oyl and her brother Castor. About ten years later Segar introduced a character that became a huge hit, that's right, you guessed it  --  Popeye the Sailor was born.

The strip below is notable in that while it was accepted by King Features Syndicate, it was censored by a great number of the nations newspapers, being deemed too grisly. Today's readers wouldn't bat an eyelash at the work, although it is remains a hilarious cartoon from one of comics greatest creators. From the POPEYE Sunday strip dated 10-1-33.


  1. Actually, I'm quite sure that this cartoon would cause an uproar were it run to-day.

    In any case, I thank you for providing a scan of the uncolored original image. I'd only seen a scan of a newspaper reproduction.

  2. When a man's just got to have his hamburger, I guess. At least Wimpy is man enough to do what he's got to do.
    Thanks for this cool post Apocolyte!
    your pal

  3. Hey! Great cartoon indeed!

    And real, straight like a punch.
    Meat consumers usually leave behind the source of the hamburgers as they're eating them, right?

    Those are the harsh facts: too much for the Popeye readers of those days, I suppose.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Apocolyte: Then or Now . . . Dude, that's one violent comic. Damn! I think it was the severed head with the tatters of neck flesh that got me; or maybe it was the torn off foreleg with the exposed bone. Wow!

    Great art, though. I love Segar! Character design to the max! Great post. -- Mykal

  5. Maybe I'm a bit de-sensitized after all these years of hardcore comics, but Wimpy eating that cow was the only logical solution to his problem...in fact, I'm surprised he took as long as he did! Now, if that cow had a personality, or could talk or something, then that would be shocking, more like murder! As if, say, Mickey Mouse had to eat Pluto or Goofy after the plane crash...!

    Thanks for your comments, everyone!