Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Elzie Crisler Segar  

Pen Name: E.C. Segar

Genre: C:ADULT C:CHILD C:YA Fiction Illustrator

Born: 1894 in Chester, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Segar was born in Chester and also lived in Chicago.

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 Herald, 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 Books. 2006

by E.C. Segar
Completing the run of Segar's Thimble Theatre comic strip (dailies and color Sundays) featuring Popeye. 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.

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

Fantagraphics Books. 2007

This second volume 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, which 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 Volume 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

a long war story featuring King Blozo that begins with "The Great Rough-House War"

and "Skullyville," which wraps up the daily strips for this volume.

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

Fantagraphics Books. 2008

Our third volume (of six) of the acclaimed hit all-ages 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. This sequence has never been republished since its original publication 75 years ago. This volume will also contain the conclusion of Donald Phelps's incisive and articulate critical essay on Segar's work "Real People, Real Theatre," and Richard Marschall's insightful analysis of Segar's continuity and story techniques. 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.

Popeye, Vol. 4: Plunder Island
ISBN: 1606991698

Fantagraphics Books. 2009

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 sailorman against the malevolent Sea Hag and the Goon - helped, and sometimes hindered by, the easily corruptible J. Wellington Wimpy. "Plunder Island" is presented here for the first time in its full, full-color, uncut glory! Meanwhile, in the "dailies" section of Popeye Volume 4: Plunder Island, Popeye visits "Poodleburg," gets involved in a quest for both "Romance and Riches," and much more. Comics historian Richard Marschall contributes an 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.

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

Fantagraphics Books. 2011

  • Remember last volume's cliffhanger? The penultimate installment of this acclaimed reprinting of E.C. Segar's masterpiece, Popeye Volume 5: "What's a Jeep?", 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. 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.