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Popeye Character Trail

Popeye Character Trail


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Popeye has been a staple in the world of animation since 1933; it’s commonly remembered as Fleischer Studios’ magnum opus. However, Popeye was a widely popular comic strip before it was ever animated. Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar, had been drawing a comic strip featuring the Oyl family for years.  Popeye was introduced to the Oyl Family in the “Thimble Theatre” comic strip in 1929. Popeye became such a popular character that Segar shifted the focus to him. Segar was a true innovator in the world of comics, as he brilliantly merged the genres of comedy and adventure to make something that had never been seen before. By 1937, Popeye was second only to Little Orphan Annie in terms of popularity.

E.C. Segar was born and raised in Chester, Illinois, so his work has a particular significance in this town. After all, it makes sense for a town to be proud of being the home of someone who completely revolutionized a genre.  As a fitting memorial to Segar, in 1977 the town erected a bronze statue of Popeye. Since 2006, a new granite statue of one of Segar’s characters has been added to the trail each year.

Visiting the statues to see works of art based on the beloved characters is a great experience for fans of the comic strip, cartoon, and movie–and a chance to get a good look at the town where the creator grew up.


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