Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Elzie Crisler Segar  

Pen Name: E.C. Segar

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1894 in Chester, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

E.C. Segar was born on Dec. 8, 1894, in Chester.

Biographical and Professional Information

Elzie Crisler Segar worked as a drummer and film projectionist at a local theater while taking a correspondence course in cartooning. He eventually moved to Chicago, and was hired by the Chicago Herlad, which in March 1916 published Segar's first (but short-lived) comic strip, Charlie Chaplin's Comedy Capers. After media mogul William Randolph Hearst bought and closed the Herald, Segar was sent to King Feature Syndicate in New York City, where he created Thimble Theatre, a strip starring a coy flapper named Olive Oyl, her fiance Harold Hamgravy and various members of the Oyl family. It would be another 10 years before the now-legendary Popeye would appear, initially only as a supporting character for one storyline. However, when the sailor bowed out on June 27, 1929, reader complaints poured in; a few weeks later, Popeye was back for good.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Popeye, Vol. 1: I Yam What I Yam
ISBN: 1560977795

Fantagraphics. 2006

This series collects the complete run of Segar's comic strip Thimble Theatre (dailies and color Sundays) featuring Popeye. This striking volume, covering 1928-1930, follows his first adventures. These strips are masterpieces of comic invention.

Fantagraphics' Popeye series will collect the complete run of Segar's Thimble Theatre comic strip (dailies and color Sundays) featuring Popeye, re-establishing Segar as one of the first rank of cartoonists who have elevated the comic strip to art. He was the most popular cartoonist of his day, his sense of humor coming straight out of Mark Twain, who also balanced exaggerated tall tales and a perfect ear for everyday speech with dark themes that undercut his laugh-out-loud stories. The series will consist of six volumes released annual through 2011.

In this first volume, covering 1928-1930, Popeye's initial courtship of Olive Oyl takes center stage while Olive's brother Castor Oyl discovers the mysterious Whiffle Hen. Also, the entire cast meets the Sea Hag for the first time in their pursuit of the "Mystery House" (Popeye's first extended daily narrative), and Castor Oyl attempts to turn Popeye into a boxing champion in a series of hilarious Sunday strips. These strips are masterpieces of comic invention. Popeye's omnipotence pre-figures the rise of superheroes in the 1930s and 1940s, though Popeye is a much more sympathetic character, and his very name announces his vibrant personality. His mangled English pulsated with the vital spirit of immigrant America, its rhythm poetic in its own vulgar way: "I yam what I yam and tha's all I yam."

2007 Eisner Award nominee: Best Archival Collection/Project: Strips

and Best Publication Design (Jacob Covey)

2007 Harvey Award nominee: Best Domestic Reprint Project

Special Award for Excellence in Presentation

Winner: HOW Magazine Design Merit Awards: Covers Color and black-and-white comics

Popeye, Vol. 2: Well Blow Me Down!
ISBN: 1560978740

Fantagraphics. 2007

The second volume collecting the entirety of Segar's original Popeye (Thimble Theatre) covers 1930-1932 and introduces Segar's second greatest character: Wimpy, the most likeable lowdown cad ever to grace the comics page.

Fantagraphics's second volume (of six) of the acclaimed hit series collecting the entirety of E.C. Segar's original Popeye (a.k.a. Thimble Theatre) comic strips begins with a foreword by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker and continues with an introduction by noted film and cartooning critic Donald Phelps. This second volume features work from 1930 to 1932, and most notably includes the debut of Segar's second greatest character: J. Wellington Wimpy. Wimpy stands as a one-of-a-kind icon some 70 years after his creation, the most likeable lowdown cad ever to grace the comics page. Popeye Vol. 2 includes the stories: "Clint Gore" (continued from the cliffhanger last volume)

"A One-Way Bank," in which Popeye opens a bank that allows withdrawals but no deposits

an extended war story featuring King Blozo that begins with "The Great Rough-House War"

and "Skullyville," which wraps up the daily strips for this volume. A 2008 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Archival Collection/Project―Comic Strips

a 2008 Harvey Award Nominee: Best Domestic Reprint Project.

Color and black-and-white comic strips and illustrations throughout

Popeye, Vol. 3: Let's You and Him Fight!
ISBN: 1560979623

Fantagraphics. 2008

Fantagraphics's third volume collecting Segar's original Popeye (Thimble Theatre) covers 1932-1934 includes the never-republished extra-large strips set at the Chicago World's Fair and an insightful scholarly essay.

The third volume (of six) of the acclaimed hit series collecting the entirety of E.C. Segar's original Popeye (a.k.a. Thimble Theatre) comic strips features work from 1932 to 1934. In addition to the daily and Sunday strips, this volume will present a true collector’s item: Segar’s never-reprinted two-week “World’s Fair” continuity. In 1933, in addition to the normal daily and Sunday continuities, Segar produced a special, two-week sequence of extra-large strips (two to three tiers each) in which Wimpy and Popeye travel to Chicago to take in the World’s Fair. Olive Oyl is left behind on account of “she ain’t wide-minded,” but Olive has other ideas and follows Popeye to make sure he isn’t flirting with any pretty girls. This sequence has never been republished since its original publication 75 years ago.

Stories in this volume include "The Eighth Sea," a nautical thriller-diller starring, in his only appearance in the actual Segar Popeye strip, Bluto (plus the shape-shifting detective Merlock Jones)

"Long Live the King" and "Popeye King of Popilania"

"Star Reporter," in which Popeye juggles his career as a newspaperman and a recent adoptive Dad to the one and only Swee'pea. Plus over a year's worth of great full color Sunday strips, many of them focusing on everyone's favorite glutton Wimpy!

This volume also contains the conclusion of Donald Phelps’s incisive and articulate critical essay on Segar’s work “Real People, Real Theatre.”

E.C. Segar blended complex narratives, slapstick traditions, brilliant characterization, and an inimitable cartooning style to create the most exciting and profound humor of his era, rivaling the great film comics of his era, such as Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers. Discover this American treasure in this handsomely designed series perfect for all ages. Color and black-and-white comics and illustrations throughout

Popeye, Vol. 4: Plunder Island
ISBN: 1606991698

Fantagraphics. 2009

Popeye’s most legendary―and epic―adventure highlights this volume of our acclaimed series, pitting the intrepid sailor man against the malevolent Sea Hag and her terrifying, grotesque sidekick the Goon, aided (or hindered) by Wimpy.

With this fourth volume of our beloved series, Segar’s Popeye reaches one of its highest peaks in “Plunder Island,” the glorious, epic-length Sunday-continuity adventure that ran for eight months and pitted the intrepid sailor man against the malevolent Sea Hag and her terrifying, grotesque sidekick the Goon ― helped, and sometimes hindered by, the easily corruptible J. Wellington Wimpy. “Plunder Island” is presented here for the first time in its complete, full-color, uncut glory!

Meanwhile, in the “dailies” section of Popeye Volume 4, Popeye visits “Poodleburg” and gets involved in a quest for both “Romance and Riches.” Other stories include “Unifruit” (featuring the return of King Blozo), the western epic “Black Valley” (with the unforgettable sight of Popeye in drag), “The Pool of Youth” (featuring the return of the Sea Hag... and her sister!)

and the beginning of the extended six-month-long yarn “Popeye’s Ark”!

Comics historian Richard Marschall rounds off this volume with a long article on Segar’s storytelling skills and narrative strategies, focusing in particular on the “Plunder Island” sequence. Rediscover an American treasure in this handsomely designed series to be enjoyed by comic fans of all ages. 84 pages of color comics

84 pages of black-and-white comics

Popeye, Vol. 5: Wha's a Jeep?
ISBN: 1606994042

Fantagraphics. 2011

Popeye meets his Pappy! Plus Swee’Pea and the Jeep!

Remember last volume’s cliffhanger? The penultimate installment of this acclaimed reprinting of E.C. Segar’s masterpiece begins with “Popeye’s Ark: Part Two,” the tale of Popeye’s eventful reign over Spinachovia ― a bleak island populated only by men and lacking all “femininity” ― even as Olive Oyl controls the country of Olivia (not to mention the men of Spinachovia). Then in “War Clouds,” the two monarchies come tumbling down in a furious battle as Spinachovia is attacked by the tyrannical land-hungry King of Brutia, King Zlobbo! This volume’s star is Eugene the Jeep, the rare, friendly, leopard-spotted, and magically-endowed little creature. And Segar makes a great addition to the cast in “The Search for Popeye’s Poppa,” when the ever-cantankerous Poopdeck Pappy is tracked and finally, hilariously found

the title of the follow-up story, “Civilizing Poppa,” speaks for itself, as it tells the classic tale of man taming beast as Popeye guides a stubborn Pappy through table manners.

And as in every volume, this year-and-a-half ’s worth of full-color Sunday strips are as dazzlingly reproduced as ever. The adventures of Popeye, Olive, Wimpy, Swee’Pea and the gang on the top are complemented with the riotously funny bonus strip “Sappo,” including a somewhat self-referential storyline where the titular character becomes a cartoonist and teaches the craft to his friend, Professor Wotasnozzle. 168 pages of black-and-white and color comic strips


Awards

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