Popeye The Sailor to flex muscles in new series of comic strips

In the animated series, Popeye is being recast as a more youthful, environmentally resourceful fellow, who lives in a washed-ashore houseboat, collects rainwater and grows his own spinach.
In the animated series, Popeye is being recast as a more youthful, environmentally resourceful fellow, who lives in a washed-ashore houseboat, collects rainwater and grows his own spinach.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / POPEYE

LOS ANGELES (NYTimes) - Popeye the Sailor, the weathered and quick-with-his-fists cartoon character, is getting a reboot for a series of animated shorts that premiered on Sunday (Dec 2) on YouTube.

The shorts and a new series of comic strips, which will begin in 2019, were created to celebrate the character's 90th birthday next year.

In the animated series, Popeye is being recast as a more youthful, environmentally resourceful fellow, who lives in a washed-ashore houseboat, collects rainwater and grows his own spinach.

"He's younger, but you can't tell how old he is," said Ms C.J. Kettler, president of King Features, which syndicates the Popeye strip.

"He's still tough and fit and resilient and a champion of the underdog."

The animated series will also make other updates.

Olive Oyl has cast aside the role of damsel in distress, and is more independent now.

Popeye, who was created by E.C. Segar, is the latest newspaper comic strip character to undergo a spit and polish.

The schoolgirl Nancy, created in 1933, began referring to Snapchat in April.

And cave man Alley Oop, whose prehistoric adventures began in 1932 and whose strip ended in September, will return in January with an emphasis on humour, including an exploration of his early middle school years.

"People know and love characters like Nancy, Alley Oop and Popeye," Mr Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, said.

"Unlike a long-form story, a comic strip has about three or four panels to grab a reader's attention. If that reader already knows the characters, the strip's going to have that much more impact when you compare it to a new strip with characters whom you've never seen before."