Michael Cavna, at The Washington Post, broke the news that Hy Eisman, the Sunday Popeye cartoonist since 1994, will retire* at age 95 and Randy Milholland will take on the chore of continuing the new adventures of The Sailor Man on Sundays.
The cartoonist also arrives forearmed with an enthusiastic knowledge of Popeye’s history. “He’s bringing back characters who haven’t been seen in [nearly] a century, like Olive’s sister-in-law, Cylinda Oyl,” Fougner says. “He’s also focused on reminding readers that in addition to the tough guy and defender of underdogs they know and love, Popeye is also sentimental and kind — the type of guy we all want on our side.”
Milholland, speaking by Zoom from the San Antonio area, laughs when considering why King chose him: “Probably because I’m an obsessive! I do love the characters a lot.”
He and syndicate leadership talked at length about where to steer possible “Popeye” plots — should they bring back more monsters? — as well as at what ages to place these characters today. “Olive Oyl is a millennial at this point,” he says of the sailor’s forever love interest. “And Popeye is a tail-end Gen-X’er.”
June 7 edit: If you can’t get The Washington Post story
it is now available from The Philadelphia Tribune site.
Randy became a favorite of King Features with his contributions to the Popeye’s Cartoon Club, their online supplement to the comic strip of a few years ago.
Randy has a great love for the Popeye comic strip and a deep knowledge of its history. Randy will update the comic strip for modern sensibilities without upsetting we fans of the classic characters. His plans include going in a more adventurous direction than has been seen in the recent Sundays.
The daily Popeye will continue with Bud Sagendorf reprints.
Kudos to King Features Syndicate for not going Sunday reprints.
* edit: Michael Cavna informed me, and as Donnie Pitchford in the comments below notes, Hy has retired from the Popeye comic strip but has not gone inactive. He is still accepting and working on commissioned drawings and personal projects – with quite a library to work from.