Popeye has a language all his own. And while Webster hasn't recognized
words like “digustipated” yet, there are some words that Popeye
creator E.C. Segar did introduce into the English language.
In 1934, When
Segar introduced a bodyguard for his villainous Sea Hag character into his
popular Popeye strip, he actually checked many languages to see if the word he
had in mind already existed. It didn't, so he dubbed his new creation Alice the
Goon. The character was hugely popular and continues to have her following even
to the point of Dark Horse releasing a statue of her in their Comic Classic
Characters series. Goon is defined as a stupid person or a person hired to
terrorize or eliminate opponents, which is essentially how the character started
out. Of course, in strip continuity the odd looking creature didn't stay loyal
to the Sea Hag for very long. Today, while the word Goon has gone out of style,
it was very common and generations of people know it as a word usually
associated with crooked underlings and henchmen.
In 1936, Segar
introduced Eugene the Jeep. A strange little yellow creature who could predict
the future, the Jeep was given as a gift to Olive from her adventuring Uncle.
This odd little yellow creature was a merchandising sensation back in the day.
He was everywhere and clearly impacted the American pop culture. Again, before
the character was introduced, Segar checked many languages to make sure the word
didn't exist. Decades later, the military created a General Purpose vehicle
that could go over any terrain. We Americans love to shorten things, so General
Purpose became known as Jeep. And yet, as a testament to this character's
popularity and influence, the Jeep was never spelled with a G.
popularity and influence on American culture can be seen in many different ways,
even today. But it is few and far between that you can come across a creator
that has enriched our vocabulary as much as E.C. Segar. And to forget what he
did in his lifetime would be disgustipating.