Last Updated on July 7, 2022
The widely popular and iconic comic strip Popeye is going to start promoting woke progressive values in its characters.
Last week, cartoonist Randal K. Milholland pledged to add “more characters who aren’t heterosexual” and promote ethnic diversity in the comic.
“I [want] to bring in more characters who aren’t heterosexual. I don’t live in that purely straight white world, and I don’t think a lot of other people do either,” Milholland told the San Antonio Express-News.
Milholland explained how he plans to update the comic strip to be more relatable in the non-traditional 21st century.
“My main goal is to make ‘Popeye’ a comic people can enjoy, something they feel a connection to,” he said. “I also want to get back to the family dynamics of these characters. Many don’t have a traditional family, they have a found family instead.”
One of the characters, Cylinda Oyl, who was always presented as a white woman with dark hair has had a complete makeover under Milholland. Now, Cylinda Oyl is portrayed as an Afro-Latina woman.
Also pushing back on gender norms, Milholland said the main character, Popeye, should not be thought of only as a male.
“If you go by today’s definition, Popeye was gender fluid,” the cartoonist said.
The Popeye comic strip has a nearly 100-year-long history, first appearing in a 1929 comic strip publication.
At the end of June, the official Popeye Twitter account announced a “pride month” shirt that bears a graphic of Popeye standing in front of a gay flag-colored anchor and the word “STRONG” on the merchandise.
Ahoy! I’m happy to tell ye me Official Popeye & Olive merchandise is now available on Amazon too!
— Popeye Official (@PopeyeTweetsk) June 22, 2022
Social media users slammed the woke makeover. “Now, these woke, evil people are going after Popeye! They’re saying he’s always been gender fluid. The left ruin everything. It makes me want to scream!!” one individual commented on Twitter.
“Killing the Popeye brand is a poor business decision. Get woke go broke,” another user added.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.