Hamgravy was the original fiance of the better-known character Olive Oyl, but was often attracted to other women who were considerably wealthy. Hamgravy was depicted as a slacker who preferred getting rich quick rather than earning money honestly.
In a later strip, Hamgravy hired the better-known character Popeye to man his ship for a treasure hunt. As time passed, Hamgravy was replaced by Popeye as the prize for Olive's affections. Hamgravy made occasional appearances in the later Popeye strips, but never had the fame he once held.