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Exhibition Geppi Gems

Elzie Segar. Thimble Theatre Starring Popeye, series no. 1, 1931. New York: Sonnet Publishing Co. Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts, Serial and Government Publications Division, Library of Congress (002.00.00) © King Features Syndicate © Sonnet Publishing Co.
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Thimble Theatre Starring Popeye

Popeye originally debuted in Elzie Segar’s syndicated newspaper strip Thimble Theatre on January 17, 1929. Popeye’s popularity exploded, and within five years, he became one of the most well-liked comic strip characters—with comic strip reprints, theatrical cartoon shorts, radio programs, and advertisements circulating the character to fans. This collected reprint edition of black and white comic strips from 1930/1931 is a beautiful example of the early predecessors, sometimes referred to as “proto-comics,” to what we know as comic books today.