Created by Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye is a cultural icon that found his roots in the King Features comic strip Thimble Theater. Popeye debuted in January of 1929 and became the most popular character in the series, eventually making his way to his own comic strip, comic books, animated television and movies, and even a live-action musical featuring Robin Williams.
The series' main thrust was that Popeye, a sailor, was enamored with a svelte woman by the name of Olive Oyl. Often Popeye's main enemy, Bluto, would come between them. Bluto's strength was such that Popeye would be beaten to a pulp by the violent and aggressive Bluto until Popeye ate spinach, usually from a can. This spinach then gave him super abilities, which he used to trounce Bluto and win the day.
The limitations of Popeye's relationship to the power of spinach is never explored, as the episodes or comic strips usually ended before the power diminished. It is assumed that Popeye did not experience from any of the real, healthy benefits of spinach, nor the negative aspects, which include calcium-binding oxylates, which can cause kidney stones and kidney disease, and the high iron content, which in high doses can lead to premature oxidation of body materials which increase the risk for cancer.
One of his contemporaries, Wimpy, has a fondness of hamburgers, but this fondness, as with many dependencies, results in spending beyond his means. His famous line is "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" exemplifies this tendency.
(see Popeye's character description for more details)
Popeye can be called a video game franchise only by virtue of there being several games which used Segar's licensed characters. There were very few games, and they had little to do with each other by way of developers or game concepts.