Found in the Collection: Early E.C. Segar work

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Mechanical reproduction of early work from Elzie Crisler Segar, for W.L. Evans cartooning correspondence course. From the Mark J. Cohen and Rose Marie McDaniel Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

In 1912 at the age of 18, the yet-to-be-known E.C. Segar signed up for a cartooning correspondence course under a man named W.L. Evans out of Cleveland, Ohio. He would later come to credit Evans as a true mentor, and the lessons he learned in this course as the key to his success in creating Popeye.

“The Jungle Song” pictured above is one of Segar’s assignments from way back then. When enlarged, you can see comments to Segar from Evans including “you have the humorous spirit all right

In June of 1935, Segar gives a nod to W.L. Evans in a Sappo strip in which the character has recently taken a correspondence course to become a cartoonist. Take a closer look at the first panel and you’ll see the initials “W.L.E.” on Sappo’s diploma.

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E.C. Segar’s “Sappo”, June 16th, 1935. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)