Comic Spotlight

Inside the Kingdom with Olive & Popeye: A Heartfelt Chat with the Creators of the New Comic Sensation

By Nadya Martinez
Inside the Kingdom with Olive & Popeye: A Heartfelt Chat with the Creators of the New Comic Sensation

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Olive & Popeye are back with a new twice-weekly webcomic here at Comics Kingdom, where fans are family. The strip stars two of the most iconic and classic characters that have been around for nearly 100 years, with a rich history in comics.

Olive and Popeye, published twice weekly, is done alternately by webcomic creator Randy Milholland and comic writer and artist Emi Burdge (following Shadia Amin’s departure).

The new weekly comic was originally penned by Shadia Amin (Aggretsuko, Spider-Ham) and Randy Milholland (Popeye, Something Positive) and centers on both beloved pop-culture characters and their adventures, including Olive’s yoga classes, or Popeye’s messy family dynamic, which usually leads to brawls.

This exciting comic shares what Olive and Popeye are up to when they’re not together— from Olive’s yoga classes with her pal, Mae, to Popeye trying to keep his parents from challenging each other to a death match!

Did you know that Olive Oyl had a life before Popeye? That’s right! Ten years before Popeye stepped onto the scene and stole her heart, Olive Oyl was the star of Thimble Theatre, a comic about the entire Oyl family. Olive, her brother Castor, parents Nana and Cole, sister-in-law Cylinda, countless cousins, and Olive’s terrible (ex) boyfriend, Ham Gravy.

Popeye also has a great big family! There’s his absentee father, Pappy, his two adoptive dads, Whaler Joe and Davy Jones (yes, THAT Davy Jones), his Ma, his Granny, his Aunt Jones, and his beloved adopted boy kid, Swee’ Pea. 

Leaf through, laze, and linger as the delightful series takes readers on exciting adventures and explores Olives’ and Popeye’s peculiar families. We see familiar faces from the original comics and television and additional new characters. The series returns to characters we haven’t seen in nearly a century, like Olive’s sister-in-law, Cylinda Oyl. 

We also see familiar foes like Bluto and are introduced to new characters like Joe’s daughter, Petunia. She is the biological daughter of Popeyes’ foster father, Joe, and is studying to become a marine biologist. She joins Popeye on many of his adventurous voyages, encountering sea monsters, and has become a fun addition to Popeye’s lore.

Olive and Popeye dig deeper into Popeye’s childhood and family dynamics. It lightly touches upon themes of abandonment, the importance of family, and why Olive & Popeye are the perfect match while still letting Olive shine. Popeye is more than just a spinach-eating brawler, and Olive is more than a damsel in distress. In this strip, the creators share their deep appreciation for the characters, are very knowledgeable about their rich history, and creatively tell new stories while staying true to the characters.

What the strip successfully conveys is its portrayal of Olive, which is more like her original debut. Olive first appeared in E.C. Seagar’s comic strip Thimble Theatre in December 1919. Olive has always cared deeply about Popeye, but in the original cartoon, she was a groundbreaking female character who did not conform to traditional stereotypes. Tough and independent, Olive Oyl’s return to the spotlight is more than just Popepye’s girlfriend and a damsel that needs saving.

Let’s look at the strip in this exciting collective of enlightened entertainment as we chat with the creators. The cartoon strip is great for bringing in new readers and surprising long-time fans from all generations. There is a somewhat sequential reading order with some previous events recurring or referenced in earlier strips, but readers can pick up at any time. Subscribers can always go back and enjoy more of the strips.

We spoke with creators Randy Milholland and Emi Burdge about taking on the iconic characters. LISTEN BELOW

Randy, best known for the Something Positive webcomic, which has been running since 1999, is also the latest cartoonist to write and draw Popeye for King Features after creating a special Popeye series for Popeye’s Cartoon Club in 2020. He has loved Popeye since childhood, and his knowledge of the Popeye universe is encyclopedic!

Emi Burdge graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Sequential Art. They’ve worked professionally as a freelance artist for 15 years, working in various styles. They’ve done work with many groups promoting Girls’ and women’s empowerment, and they see Olive Oyl as a beacon of feminine strength. Some of their fondest memories are watching their grandpa drawing cartoons in the sand during beach trips, including Popeye.

Catch us discuss their first introductions to Popeye and how the character has evolved over generations. Emi and Randy tell us about the challenges of taking on an iconic IP, their creative process, and adapting characters from Olive and Popeyes’ lucrative history in comics, animation, and film. We delve into how they both creatively made an inventive mark on the comic while respecting Popeye’s true nature and exploring more of Olive’s life. 

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Olive & Popeye is available every Tuesday & Thursday on, with Tuesdays focus being Olive and, created by Emi, and Thursdays focusing on Popeye’s family and created by Randy!

There are plenty of free strips of Olive & Popeye to catch up on now. However, a subscription is required to unlock the full suite of comics (as well as other content). Start reading here.