Quick: Popeye vs Mario?
On one side we have our favorite alcoholic, stalkerish, spinach chugging sailor. On the other we have our racist caricature of Italians who have persistent hallucinations about dinosaurs.
But this is a little bit of a trick question. In a classic odd couple story, one story would not be the same without the other’s. Mario only came to be, it turns out, because Nintendo couldn’t secure the licensing it needed to make a Popeye-based game.
Was Mario a bench warmer who got his chance? Was Popeye a ‘roided up All-Star whose handlers got too big for their britches?