Popeye the Sailorpedia

Wimpy meets a cannibal tribe in "Plunder Island"

Cannibal tribes are communities of primitive people (as portrayed in Popeye media) living in isolated areas, such as jungles or islands, who engage in cannibalism (the consumption of other human beings) either for ritualistic purposes or due to a unique dietary lifestyle.

In Popeye media

A controversial example of cannibals portrayed as blackface caricatures in the now-banned short Pop-Pie a la Mode

Cannibals' inclusion and portrayal in early 20th century Popeye media was recurring and consistent, appearing in Thimble Theatre, comic books and most notably during the Famous Studios run, where they were portrayed as dark-skinned islanders or isolated African natives who served as antagonists who wanted to eat Popeye or his friends, wore leaf skirts along with some modern apparel such as fancy hats and vests (usually implied to have been acquired from victims), and were usually shown to speak good (if not refined or eloquent) English despite their isolated status. One short in particular, the now-banned Pop-Pie a la Mode, actually featured a tribe that had modern conveniences and even ran a hotel. However, during the mid-to-late 20th century, cannibal tribes became increasingly rare or nonexistent in most Popeye media, mainly due to their original portrayals resembling the controversial "blackface" (a portrayal of Black people with large pink lips and in highly-exaggerated caricature overall) and also occasionally featuring other potentially offensive humor not suitable for modern audiences (as was the case with the ex-cannibal, Friday, from The Island Fling, which featured examples of both offenses). Cannibal tribes fell into disuse for the most part to avoid recalling the more offensive shorts, and, if they did appear, it would be in a way where their appearance was not so blackface-like or they would remain obscured; the first instance of this manner of censorship was seen in the episode "Jingle Jangle Jungle" of the Popeye the Sailor series, where said episode's cannibal tribe was constantly obscured by tall grass.


Thimble Theatre

Pop-Pie a la Mode

The Island Fling

Popeye's Pappy

Jingle Jangle Jungle


  • The cannibal child from Pop-Pie a la Mode would later be recycled into a brand new character with a less offensive physical appearance in the short Wigwam Whoopee, where he is instead a Native American child who would try to "scalp" Popeye's few hairs this time, not eat him.

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