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Popeye the Sailor

By Dodo-bird

“I'm Popeye the sailor man
I've never stepped foot on the land
I like to go swimmin'
With them mermaid women
And float on my back to get tan”

There aren't many sailors who can be entertaining without cursing or shouting for rum. On this day in January 1929, King Features published a comic strip in Thimble Theatre about a clean mouthed but virtually incomprehensible sailor who seemed to have switched out the rum for some healthy spinach. Created by E. C. Seager (SEE-gar), it would spawn one of the most well recognised cartoon characters of all time: Popeye the Sailor Man.

It'd be pretty hard to find a person who hasnt seen at least one episode of Popeye on Cartoon Network. Less informed people may not know, however, that Popeye has his roots in a comic strip rather than on an animation reel.

Seager ran King Features' Thimble Theater since 1919, a good ten years before Seager's career defining work on Popeye saw the light of day. Popeye was hugely popular, and King Features shifted the spotlight from Thimble Theatre to Popeye, as plans were made to turn it into an animated feature, a move which would cement Popeye's fate and bring him into millions of children's memories.

Popeye the Sailor was serialised into an animated cartoon short in 1933 by Paramount Pictures, proving to be insanely popular through the 30's. The producers had hit gold, and the cartoon series continued till 1957, until a change of management meant a modernised and updated Popeye. He still had his spinach and the animosity between Bluto and Popeye remained the same.

Segar died in 1938, but Thimble Theatre was kept alive by several writers and artists, with Segar's assistant Bud Sagendorf doing the most notable work. The comic strip, with a title change to Popeye, continues to appear in its Sunday edition, written and drawn by Hy Eisman. The daily strips are reprints of old Sagendorf stories.

It's not all Popeye, however. Olive Oyl will forever remain a source of envy and jealousy for anorexic brunettes, who would gladly give up even spinach to get a stick thin figure like hers. Bluto wasn't very smart and viewers had every reason to hate him, but like almost every other “baddie” in cartoons, you have to admire his resilience and hard work in trying to get Olive Oyl and destroy Popeye. If only spinach didn't grant Popeye such miraculous levels of strength.

The power of spinach might be a tad bit inaccurate, as spinach is actually extremely low on iron content (which is supposed to give Popeye his strength), and as Dr TJ Hamblin (a haematologist) puts it, Popeye is better off eating the can instead of the spinach to get his daily dose of iron. Oh the iron-y.

Have spinach and be a badass sailor dude, children. Or, if that doesn't work, just start eating the can it comes in.

The Hero In Hiding

By The Kopite

On the 15th of January 2001, slackers all around the world got the best gift since the creation of the internet: Wikipedia. That's right, the quintessential tool in your armoury as you face off against the mighty wrath of assignments and homework and internet arguments where you want to come across as an 'intellectual'. Imagine a life without it, where shouts of 'To the internet' are not really backed by the reassurance that whatever you're looking for, Wikipedia probably has it. And more. This was the day that Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger officially launched Wikipedia. How did we come across this information, you ask? By looking it up on Wikipedia, of course.

That statement right there just about sums up the importance of it to our current generation. But moving past the homework and the research, Wikipedia can also help you learn about whacky stuff that you didn't need to know about but are probably not worse for wear by knowing (observe the probably). From Katy Perry's current relationship status to any observable changes to Kim Kardashian's gluteus maximus. The only place that will tell you both about the price of Roman Abramovich's last expensive screw-up and the Higgs-Boson. The idea for this came up from a Wiki, invented by Ward Cunningham, which basically means a website where users can add, modify or delete content. This gave rise to arguably the biggest internet non-profit organisation, where people could contribute to create an interactive database of knowledge.

They're so awesome that the perennially skint internet-people can overlook the disturbing glares of Jimmy Wales on the homepage asking for your money. That man can stare right through to your soul. But, as serial Wiki-abuser Orin says, “There's probably not many places on the internet that we would bother donating money to. Wikipedia is one of those places where I would probably one day consider donating money. Although that day is still far away and will possibly not arrive before the next Mayan calendar runs out.” Powerful words, there. Thinking about giving money to the internet? That is huge.

Wikipedia does have some well publicised pitfalls lurking around in its dark trenches. The fact that content can be edited and created by everyone gives rise to amusing mistakes and pranks from time to time. The most famous ones include Bill Gates being depicted as a Viking with horns and moustaches drawn on his face and deliberate typos in the names of some unlucky people like John Boehner (his parents really did hate him). This makes it a dreamland for trolls, so what you might like to believe to be certified information may, in fact, have been written by a twelve-year old with too much free time on his hands. Although the effects can be catastrophic for some, it's still pretty hilarious for the rest of us.

Having said that, the good people of the internet do uphold the law and rectify the mistakes/vandalised content from time to time. Our thoughts and prayers go with them, probably because our coursework depends on that information. So here's to Wikipedia, the secret hero that keeps us from failing but never makes it into the award speeches. Carry on being awesome.



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