Sailing Cowboy Mathematics comics

The day’s arrived! Elzie Segar’s Thimble Theater reruns on ComicsKingdom have reached the 17th of January, 1929. Castor Oyl picked the first guy he saw as he readied to sail to Dice Island, the notorious gambling den. He’d figured to use the magical Whiffle Hen, a good-luck-bringer, to make his fortune. The good fortune for everybody — except Ham Gravy, Olive Oyl’s soon-to-be-forgotten beau, and slightly less for Castor Oyl, soon to lose primary-male-protagonist status — was found right here, though. If he’d spotted some other sailor first the comic strip would be another of those forgotten 1920s humorous-adventure strips, surely.

Castor Oyl asks Popeye: are you a sailor? Popeye answer: Ja thinks I'm a cowboy? Popeye is hired.
Elzie Segar’s Popeye for the 19th of January, 1929. Rerun the 1st of July, 2015. Popeye is about fourteen panels away from just taking over everything.

Also, as promised the other day, I had another edition of mathematically-themed comic strips on my other blog. It’s called the Fumigating The Theater edition, because I’m not exactly at my best. My computer suffered a major video card failure Sunday night, and I’ve been carrying on with my old, old prior computer while waiting for repairs. You forget just how awful web sites are when you aren’t using a circa-2010 operating system to view them. Sorry. I hope to be back to normal soon.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

2 thoughts on “Sailing Cowboy Mathematics comics”

  1. He looks more like Robin Williams here than he did later.

    I honestly don’t know what this hastily dashed-out character had that made him become one of the more iconic cartoon characters of the 20th century. Of course, now, he’s playing shuffleboard with Andy Panda and Heckle and Jeckle, but man, once upon a time…


    1. It is a fair mystery why he got so iconic and so quickly. It’s easy to argue that in the Depression his unbeatable nature and relentless energy appealed to people who felt defeated and powerless. But he was nearly full-formed in 1929, before the stock market crash, and popular in 1930 when things were getting bad, yes, but there wasn’t particular reason to think things would be catastrophically bad for years to come.

      I’m unsure about the argument Popeye was the first comic strip superhero, although he’s certainly got many of the traits: superhuman strength, invulnerability, outstanding moral character, slyness, compassion. That should always be popular, although many superheroes combine those traits without getting any pop cultural traction.


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