The Free Flow of Credit

Today’s Google logo featuring E.C. Segar’s Popeye made me happy, though for a personal and kind of obscure reason.

I have this vivid memory of seeing the movie Annie in ’82, probably with Kurt Busiek and other friends. It was the year we graduated college and were seriously pursuing our hopes of making comics professionally.

Annie was based, of course, on the popular Broadway musical, and the musical was based, of course, on the famous long-running comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray.

The movie was okay (we had low expectations in those days), but there was something missing. Something important that a lot of people in the audience were unlikely to notice, but which Kurt and I were especially attuned to.

The name “Harold Gray” was nowhere to be seen in the credits.

It still pisses me off that they thought to list the screenwriter, and the author of the book for the play, the composer, the costume designer, the frickin Best Boy, but they couldn’t take a moment to add in the name of the man who CREATED the characters.

So when I saw Popeye on the Google logo today, it was gratifying to see that instead of triggering a search for characters or companies or movies or toys, the logo simply took me here.

Discussion (14)¬

  1. cat says:

    I’m TOTALLY geeking out over this. Segar’s one of my all time favorites!

  2. John MacLeod says:

    I suspect that Harold Gray never OWNED the character, therefore no legal obligation for them to mention him. And since they didn’t know him personally, no inclination to “do him a favor” above and beyond the call of law? You’re right, it shows a fundamental lack of respect, but is that really any surprise when it comes to Hollywood?

    • Scott says:

      That’s more or less what I assumed at the time too.

      And the notion that “legal obligations” were the only kinds of obligations that apparently crossed their minds was especially upsetting for the 22 year old me.

  3. I would have expected a tribute to John Lennon today, but was so overjoyed when I saw the E.C. Segar tribute that I proclaimed it out loud at work (which prompted many, “Who the hell is that?” responses from my coworkers of course).

    Ironically today was also my dad’s birthday and the few good memories I have of that man involve his similarities to and appreciation for Popeye.

    • Tom Galloway says:

      Google doodles tend to be done more for birthdays than for death dates. With exceptions (Memorial Day, immediately recent disasters, etc.) they’re intended to celebrate rather than mourn.

  4. Kurt Busiek says:

    Though speaking of credit where it’s due, one thing that interests me about that Popeye logo, which I haven’t been able to find with a Google Search: Who drew it?


    • Kurt Busiek says:

      The Popeye body seen in that logo can also be seen here:


      The head and the spinach, I dunno.

    • Tom Galloway says:

      Well, back when I was still at Google, pretty much all the Google Doodles were drawn by Dennis Hwang, a Google Webmaster. Then, with the spread of international Google sites, I think some of the ones limited to a single, non-US, country were drawn by local Googlers.

      But recently 1) the style of a lot of Google.com doodles hasn’t resembled Dennis’ 2) Google’s again, for the first time in years, using non-Googlers’ art (the first I noticed this was the Jim Lee DC heroes logo during this year’s Comic-Con). and 3) I happened to notice a Google job listing for “Web Artist” which included doing doodles as part of the job description.

      So, I’d guess a doodle’s most likely done by some Googler, but not necessarily Dennis any more and sometimes by an outside artist.

    • Kurt Busiek says:

      There’s something about that can of spinach that makes me think of Steven deStefano and/or Terry Austin.

  5. Scott please forgive me putting a comment on an unrelated post but the post i wanted to comment on is closed… Some time ago you mentioned something about religion and comics, and I had to hold my breath because at the time was unsure of whether this would ever actually happen as a project. Premature announcements can be embarrassing.

    Anyways… I have spent two years (during a teaching job blah blah blah) developing a wordless comic about Jesus’ life based on RE classes I have taught in UK high schools for the last 15 years. It now exists (as of this evening) as an iPhone app called the ‘jesus comic’.

    I know you aren’t passionate about religion, and I also know that religion has different connotations in the US, but if you can see through all the political nonsense and see this as a wordless comic by a passionate comics
    enthusiast (not some cheesy recruitment tool) I would be glad if you could take a look.

    If I say much more it will spoil things and a wordless comic should really speak for itself. 😉


    search for ‘jesus comic’

  6. JFPoulin says:

    We are waiting for a header google with Zoot in it. 🙂

    By the way a nice comic blog from a french guy.. nice http://www.bouletcorp.com/blogen/ he is starting the translation.. go see him

  7. andrewwales says:

    Speaking of comic movies, what about the Popeye movie with Robin Williams. I may be in the minority, but I liked it!