Out of all cartoon super heroes, some stand out due to the lack of clichés included in their creation. Such is the case of Popeye the Sailor, who has delighted millions of viewers for as many as eight decades. Created by Elzie Crisler Segar for comic strips, Popeye has soon revealed his potential and was transposed into a cartoon shorts protagonist, appearing in many types of entertainment productions ever since.
Popeye is unique as he does not incorporate the usual features of a typical superhero; he is not young, not handsome in the least, and not even eloquent, as he as a speech difficulty and grammar is not one of his main strengths. His gallantry towards the ladies, one in particular, named Olive Oyl, consists of proper action, as he often rescues her from dangerous or inconvenient situations.
Far from being Prince Charming, Popeye is a middle-aged sailor, always seen wearing his uniform, and looks as if he’s been through some struggles in his time. He is never without his pipe, which sometimes makes a noise similar to the whistle of a steam ship coming into the harbour. He is almost bald and one of his eyes is missing, hence the name Popeye, although the circumstances he lost it in still remain a mystery to this day. His stature is not grand, yet his arms are slightly deformed and his muscles overemphasized, especially his biceps, to indicate physical strength. That strength is trebled when consuming spinach, his secret elixir for amazing resilience. Spinach has got Popeye out of many troubles, and though he might seemed helpless and doomed before he swallows it, he always manages to find a way to get it into his system, a few times even sucking it through his pipe. As soon as he does, his already huge arms become even more massive, as if they’d been inflated with a pump, and Popeye turns into an unstoppable force.
The spinach is always reliable and at hand, normally stocked in a metal can he carries along wherever he goes. This super-strength is essential in confrontation, as his enemies are often much larger and tougher, such as the corpulent Bluto, who’s size is a few times the one of Popeye, and yet Popeye always manages to defeat him in the end.
As any proper sailor, his challenging adventures involve travelling all over the world. He lacks the refinement of more urban cartoon legends such as Superman or Batman, and is less classy but in a good way, having limited patience and when angry not hesitating to start a fight. His dainty sweetheart, Olive, appears in most of the cartoon shorts, as she is the one Popeye goes out of his way to rescue. Though not a charmer with words, he always intervenes when necessary and spares no effort to protect her and set her free when she is held against her will.
As much as one loves the intellectual and more peaceful techniques used by other heroes in solving altercations, one must admit that Popeye’s approach, the power of the fist, is more worldly and realistic, and plies itself on today’s society as it did eighty years ago.