One of those trivia questions that people ask about Popeye is:
What's the name of the comic strip that Popeye first appeared in?
The name of the strip was not POPEYE. The comic strip was titled THIMBLE THEATRE. THIMBLE THEATRE was in its 10th year before the character of Popeye appeared in 1929.
Here are fifteen dailies from a year before he arrived, just to show that the pre-POPEYE strips by E.C. Segar are great fun.
It's especially fun because Segar pokes fun at his own profession. In these comic strips we learn is that cartoonists are highly paid, and they are crazy.
Background: THIMBLE THEATRE regular Castor Oyl (Olive Oyl's brother) found himself in charge of a newspaper, The Evening Breeze. How do you boost circulation? What does every paper need? You need a cartoonist. Castor hires a couple of them in the below pre-Popeye THIMBLE THEATRE continuity strips below:
These comic strips were from the Bill Blackbeard collection, with an accompanying article by Rick Marschall in NEMO Magazine #3, October 1983. Thanks to John Klossner for a copy of the magazine.