The Characters:

  • Popeye the Sailor – a small, scrawny man who becomes strong when he eats spinach.
  • Olive Oyl – Popeye’s girlfriend
  • Bluto – Popeye’s nemesis as he fights for Olive Oyl’s affections

The Plot:
Popeye the Sailor is always fighting to earn and keep Olive Oyl’s affections as Bluto attempts to steal Olive Oyl’s affections. Popeye always ends the battle the victor but not before he’s eaten his spinach and gained the strength to win the battle against Bluto. Bluto is the villain in the Popeye story, Olive Oyl is the damsel in distress, and Popeye comes out the victor thanks to his spinach.

Cartoon History:
A quick search for Popeye on Google shows that more than 85 years ago, the Popeye cartoon show, like most cartoons, began as a comic strip. Created by Elzie Crisler Seger, the comic was first published in 1929. As with most comic strips, the plot changed quite a bit between its release and its promotion to cartoon show. Over the years, however, it gained popularity and eventually became a cartoon show. The comic has also been made into a movie. Some of the changes the cartoon has gone through include changes in character, but perhaps the most interesting change that most people would be surprised to learn is that Popeye didn’t always get his strength by eating a can of spinach. When Elzie first developed the comic strip, Popeye’s strength came from rubbing the head of a Whiffle Hen. For whatever reason, Seger eventually made changes to the cartoon so that Popeye’s strength eventually came from opening a can of spinach and eating the whole thing.

Popeye the Sailor is only one example of a comic strip become a cartoon show and eventually a movie. This is a very common progression for comic strips. Clearly, the creator of the comic strip, Elzie Seger, must have been proud of her accomplishments.

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