Artists are drawing their own Popeye comics in honour of the character's 90th birthday — here's a first look

King Features SyndicatePopeye made his debut in 1929 in the New York Journal-America (far left). Here’s how the character has changed over 90 years along with his love, Olive, who is turning 100 this year.
  • Popeye the Sailor turns 90 on Thursday, January 17.
  • In honour of his birthday, artists are creating their own Popeye comic strips, which will be featured on all year long.
  • INSIDER is exclusively debuting five comic strips from artists including Liniers and Erica Henderson (“The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl”).

Popeye is turning 90 and to celebrate comic artists are coming together to draw their own fan strips of the spinach-loving sailor.

Before Popeye was a cartoon on TV or portrayed by Robin Williams in the 1980 movie, the character first appeared in King Features’ “The Thimble Theatre” strip in 1929. At the end of each comic, Popeye creator E.C. Segar started sharing fan art from readers in what was called, “Popeye’s Cartoon Club.”

In honour of Popeye’s 90th birthday (January 17), King Features is bringing the cartoon club back with cartoonists all over the world creating strips of their own featuring the tattooed sailor and his friends. Starting Thursday (Popeye’s Birthday), new comics will appear each Sunday on here.

INSIDER is exclusively debuting five of the new Popeye-inspired comic strips from Argentine cartoonist Liniers, Eisner-winning artist Erica Henderson, and more.

Netflix’s “Queer Eye” gang come in to give Popeye a makeover in Lar deSouza’s strip, but things take an unexpected turn.

Lar deSouza / King Features SyndicatePopeye may be 90, but according to the ‘Queer Eye’ gang, he’s still trendy.

Why you should know Lar deSouza: DeSouza is an online cartoonist known for daily webcomic “Least I Could Do” that he does with Ryan Sohmer, which you can read here, and “Looking For Group.’

You can check out more of deSouza’s work here and follow him on Twitter here.

Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, aka Liniers, used Popeye’s burger-loving pal Wimpy to introduce the character to the world of emojis.

Liniers / King Features SyndicateThe name Liniers comes from one of Siri’s ancestors.

Why you should know Liniers: The artist is known for the South American strip Macanudo, which roughly translates to “everything’s fine.” He has also had his work on the cover of the New Yorker, including this 2014 item on Obama.

Why Liniers wanted to make a Popeye strip: “I’m a big fan of Segar’s world and felt I was a garage band covering The Beatles. Hanging around with those characters for a couple of days was a dream come true.”

You can check out more of Linier’s work here and follow him on Instagram here.

It’s not just Popeye’s birthday. His girlfriend, Olive Oyl, is turning 100 this year. Artist Erica Henderson brings back Olive’s first love, Ham Gravy.

Erica Henderson / King Features SyndicateHenderson imagines Popeye and Olive Oyl as a famous couple trying to avoid paparazzi.

Why you should know Henderson: The Eisner-winning artist rebooted Marvel’s “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” which she worked on for three years. In 2018, Henderson left to focus on other projects and will be releasing an action-comedy, “Assassin Nation,” with writer Kyle Starks in March with Image and Skybound.

Henderson on the inspiration behind her strip: “Like anything this old, Popeye has had many incarnations and since this is a celebration of all of it, I really wanted to reach back and remind people of the crazy origin of Popeye where Popeye didn’t even exist yet,” Henderson told INSIDER.

You can learn about more of Henderson’s work here and follow her on Instagram here.

Artist Jay Fosgitt brought Popeye back to his spinach-loving roots in his comic.

Jay Fosgitt / King Features SyndicateFosgitt says he’s been a fan of Popeye since he was four.

Why you should know Jay Fosgitt: The Michigan-based artist regularly writes and draws his own comic “Dead Duck.” He’s also a Marvel Comics artist who has worked on “Deadpool” and “Rocket Raccoon and Groot.”

Why Fosgitt wanted to make a Popeye strip: “At age four, as I sat in daycare watching an old reel to reel of various black and white shorts, I experienced my first Popeye cartoon – “I Ski Love-ski You-ski.” From that moment, I was as hooked on Popeye as he was on Spinach,” said Fosgitt. “He has always been my favourite cartoon character, and getting to write and draw for him is a true childhood dream come true. With my comic, I wanted to tap into Popeye’s comic strip origins, and hopefully tell story that was as quick and funny as a Fleischer Brother’s cartoon, and as character and plot driven as a Segar Strip-a melding of the best aspects of Popeye and his world!”

You can see more of Fosgitt’s work here and follow him on Twitter here.

Cartoonist Carol Lay also puts the spotlight on Olive Oyl as another woman eyes up her man.

Carol Lay / King Features SyndicateOlive Oyl and Popeye have been together for decades.

Why you should know Carol Lay: Lay’s weekly comic strip “Story Minute” ran for 20 years in newspapers, including LA Weekly. You can now read it online here. Lay has also worked for both DC and Marvel Comics and has had her work in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly.

You can see more of Lay’s work here.

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