Wimpy was created by newspaper cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar. He became one of the dominant characters in the original strips. When Popeye was given an animated cartoon series by Fleischer Studios, Wimpy was made a more minor character in it; Dave Fleischer said that the character in the Segar comic strips was "too intellectual" to be used in film cartoons. The character is soft-spoken and generally cowardly, which did little for their action-oriented approach.
Wimpy is Popeye's friend. In the cartoons he often plays the role of the "straight man" to Popeye's outbursts and wild antics. Wimpy is very intelligent and well educated, but very lazy and gluttonous. Wimpy is also something of a scam artist and, especially in the newspaper cartoons, can be quite underhanded at times.
Wimpy's favorite dish is the hamburger, and he is usually seen contentedly munching on one, but is seldom willing to pay for them. A recurring gag are Wimpy's attempts to con other patrons of the diner into buying him his lunch. Wimpy often tries to outwit fellow restaurantgoers with his convoluted logic. His famous line, which was first carried over into the cartoons in 1934's We Aim to Please, is "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" (which carried over as lyrics to a song in the 1980 movie Popeye, "Everything Is Food"). Wimpy had other frequently used lines in the original comic strip, usually uttered to someone or a group of people who are after him for some shenanigan he pulled. An example would be Wimpy triying to placate the angry person or mob by saying "I'd like to invite you over to my house for a duck dinner..." The angry individuals are usually satisfied with that line, upon which Wimpy moves away to a safe distance and yells, "...You bring the ducks!" The only one not to grow angry in such a case is Popeye. Another line of his: "Jones is my name... I'm one of the Jones boys"--an attempt to defuse a hostile situation with a false claim for mistaken identity.
- During the Second World War, the RAF Wellington bomber was nicknamed the "Wimpy".
- The Wimpy Bar is a chain of restaurants which is named after him, launched in the United Kingdom in 1954 by J. Lyons and Co.
- In the 1980 film directed by Robert Altman, Wimpy is played by character actor Paul Dooley.
- The Italian full name for this character is "Poldo Sbaffini"; his 'surname' refers to his scrounging habits.
- The name of Wimpy in Latin America and Spain is "Pilón" ("Pestle"), which may refer the character's body shape.
- A Detroit tavern called "Wimpy's" is located at the corner of East Warren Avenue and Outer Drive. The eatery contains caricatures and other likenesses of the popular character.
- Popeye | The Home of Popeye the Sailor Man website
- Don Markstein's Toonopedia Popeye page
- J. Wellington Wimpy at the Internet Movie Database