Sea Hag
Popeye character
Created by E. C. Segar
Portrayed by Kathy Bates
Gender Female
Occupation Witch

The Sea Hag is a fictional character owned by King Features Syndicate. She is a tall, masculine looking witch featured in comics/cartoons as a nemesis to the character Popeye. The Sea Hag was created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1929 as part of the Thimble Theater comic strip.

Character history

The Sea Hag is one of the central enemies of Popeye the Sailor. She is the last witch on earth, and a pirate who sails the Seven Seas in her boat "The Black Barnacle". She also has a deep knowledge of magic artifacts, and has used many of them to great effect over the years. She is able to practice Voodoo magic and powerful enough to capture the equally magical Eugene the Jeep (Though in the 1961 cartoon, "Myskery Melody", she declares her magic is powerless against him, and is subsequently shown running as Eugene attacks her with magical electricity from his tail.), and on one occasion Santa Claus. She can even alter her appearance to that of her alter ego Rose of the Sea. Besides having a pet vulture named Bernard as her familiar, she also commands an army of Goons. The most famous of the Goons is Alice the Goon.

Because she is a woman, Popeye cannot physically attack her. His honor says that he would never hit a woman, even someone as evil as the Sea Hag. In such cases, it is Olive Oyl herself who steps in and does physical damage to her. One notable exception to this however,is in the 1960s cartoon, "Old Salt Tale" where Popeye grabs her whip and uses it to fling her into the sea. However this is during a story being told by Popeye, and therefore is not technically him.

Upon meeting Popeye, she falls madly in love with him. Discovering that Popeye already has a girlfriend named Olive Oyl she tries her best to be rid of Olive and win Popeye over to her favor. Popeye makes it clear to her though that under no circumstances would he be interested in a relationship with her. Enraged, on one occasion she gave Popeye's archenemy Bluto a potion to become young and handsome as a means to win over Olive Oyl. Later after thinking that the Sea Hag had died, Popeye had this to say once he discovered that she wasn't: "I yam glad she ain't dead even if she is a exter bad woman. If they wasn't no bad women, maybe we wouldn't appreciate the good ones. Anyway, she yam what she yam!" Despite this, the Sea Hag has tried to kill Popeye on occasion when upset that Popeye remains uninterested in her romantically.

Other media

  • In the 1960s, the Sea Hag made her television debut in Popeye the Sailor.
  • In 1978, the Sea Hag appeared in The All-New Popeye Hour animated series. She was voiced by actress Marilyn Schreffler, who also provided the voice of Olive Oyl.
  • The doom/sludge band Burning Witch has a song called "Seahag" in their 1998 album Crippled Lucifer.
  • In 2004, actress Kathy Bates performed the voice of the Sea Hag/Siren for the 3-D CGI animated feature Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy. The storyline follows Popeye's journey to find his long lost father Poopdeck Pappy in time for the holidays. As he sails the treacherous Seas of Mystery, he encounters the villainous Sea Hag who is smitten by the hulking seaman and vows to stop at nothing until she steals him away.[1]