Math Comics and the Quintessence of Wimpy


Once again over on my mathematics blog there’s a group of comic strips with mathematics subjects. It’s also got a bit of talk about the Rubik’s Cube, which based on the tweets of my friends today turns 40 years old, ah, today. I had no idea and if I had, I’d probably have still fumbled doing something interesting about it. Anyway, I mention the Rubik’s Cube cartoon but don’t watch it because I just know I shouldn’t have watched it to begin with.

Hy Eisman's _Popeye_, 18 May 2014: Wimpy speaks of developing a social networking algorithm. Honest.
A quintessential moment of J Wellington Wimpy: he’s exactly the person who’d decide to develop an algorithm for a social network.

Meanwhile, in other Popeye-based news: while the weekday Popeye comic strip has been in reruns for over two decades now, King Features has for some reason contracted Hy Eisman to draw new Sunday panels. I don’t know why. I guess they just like Hy Eisman and don’t want him to go completely unemployed — they also have him drawing The Katzenjammer Kids For Some Reason on Sundays — but don’t quite like him enough to have him write and draw a daily strip that’s run in like six newspapers worldwide, three of which are the fake newspapers that police officers in cop shows pick up to see that there’s been a new murder or a politician has said something about their case.

Anyway, here is the May 18th installment, in which — with his talk of having “made up my mind to develop an algorithm for a social network” — you just see how Eisman has captured the essential worldview and rhythms of speech and patterns of plotting that really make J Wellington Wimpy, and for that matter, the whole Thimble Theater universe. It’s just perfect Wimpy.