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J. Wellington Wimpy

June 12, 2009


J. Wellington Wimpy, or just Wimpy, is one of the characters in the long-running comic strip Thimble Theater, and in the Popeye cartoons based upon the strip. Wimpy was created by newspaper cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar. He became one of the dominant characters in the newspaper strips. When "Popeye" was adapted as an animated cartoon series by Fleischer Studios, Wimpy was made a more minor character; Dave Fleischer said that the character in the Segar comic strips was "too intellectual" to be used in film cartoons. The character was soft-spoken and generally cowardly, or a "wimp", hence his name. According to fellow cartoonist, Bill Mauldin, Wimpy took his name from one of Segar's instructors at the Chicago Art Institute (Wellington J. Reynolds)

Is it just us or does J. Wellington Wimpy of Popeye fame get a bad rap? He's roundly reduced to the role of slovenly hamburger hound in the long-term remembrance of most casual Popeye fans. But we at Scoop think there's more to Wimpy than meets the eye.

First of all, we think it's safe to assume that Wimpy gets much more iron than Popeye does. Spinach may make you strong, but there's nothing like red meat for strengthening your blood count level-not to mention providing massive doses of bone-toughening protein. Under all that pot belly, that protein has to have kicked in. We like to think that, in a dire situation, Wimpy can wield his girth for good, not gobbles.

Besides, if he was all bad, would Popeye and Olive Oyl really have named him Swee'Pea's godfather? Think about it, folks. Sure, he used his babysitting opportunities to raid Popeye's fridge and make a mess of his kitchen, but never has he returned Swee'Pea back to his parents in any less shape than excellent.

Though he's a calculated moocher, who on more than one occasion has sold out friend and foe for a quality burger, Wimpy has used his wit and charisma with women to charm the cruelty off Sea Hag. He's even got 24 college degrees and an enviable IQ-which is more than we can say for our leaf-loving hero.

So even if we haven't changed your overall opinion of Wimpy with our short defense of him here, we leave you with the immortal words of Popeye: "Frien's is the mos' importink thing on eart', even if ya chan't stan' 'em!"

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