This article is about the comic strip. For the title character, see John Sappo.
Sappo, or, The Five Fifteen, or, Professor Wotasnozzle is a comic strip begun in 1920 by E. C. Segar (as The Five Fifteen), then renamed after protagonist John Sappo as early as 1923. The strip was made into the "topper", or complementary strip, to Segar's better known Thimble Theatre (later Popeye). Sappo characters sometimes have supporting roles in Popeye stories.
Sappo revolved around titular protagonist John Sappo and his everyday misadventures, such as the struggle to catch the 5:15 train or confronting his imposing wife Myrtle. However, the focus of the strip soon changed when, in May 8, 1932, the Sappos rented out a room to eccentric inventor and self-described genius O. G. Wotasnozzle, who arguably became the strip's new star. However, John Sappo still retained much protagonism as the testing of the Professor's inventions usually involved his participation and invariably ended in disaster. Stories of experiments gone awry would be continued from Sunday to Sunday (aside from a period when Segar retooled the strip as a series of drawing lessons). At one point, Wotasnozzle himself also got married, but the two protagonists' wives eventually stopped appearing altogether.
Comic book version
Sappo was subsequently published in the line of Popeye comic books begun in 1948 with story and art by Bud Sagendorf. Aside from giving protagonism to Ham Gravy and other secondary characters such as Wimpy for the book's supporting tales, and employing new characters like Sherm! and Axle and Cam, Sagendorf adopted Sappo in this capacity beginning in 1949, later to become the back-up feature of choice. Renamed again, this time bearing Professor Wotasnozzle's name, the strip became a mainstay of Popeye comic books in short, self-contained episodes.