Bulls and cows, known collectively as cattle, play a prominent part in various Popeye stories. J. Wellington Wimpy often becomes fascinated by cows as their meat is the main ingredient of hamburgers, while bulls occasionally function as Popeye's antagonists, with equally comic results.
Like many animal antagonists, when Popeye defeats them, they tend to transform into byproducts associated with their species; in this case, they turn into meat.
Bulls are the animals Popeye has fought and killed the most.
Theatrical shorts featuring bulls
A bull escaped his box in a rodeo event. Bluto tried to rope it but, after a short struggle, the bull was victorious and Bluto was left tied in his own rope.
Popeye proceeded to taunt the bull with a cape and toyed with it for a while as they even changed roles, with Popeye playing the bull and the bull waving the cape around.
Bluto lassoed Olive, but she managed to escape out of the arena, stalked by Bluto. She cried for help and Popeye abandoned his roleplay as the bull to come to her aid. The bull followed them and charged Popeye.
When Bluto got kicked by Olive, he spinned and punched Popeye, who in turn spinned and punched the bull in the face: its horns flew from its head and it collapsed but it was not yet defeated: recovering from the blow, it was left wondering what had just happened.
It was later seen charging Popeye after the sailor ate spinach and defeated Bluto. Popeye punched it, breaking its nose ring and sending it skyward. its horns detached from its head again, but this time it would not recover, as he transformed into a meat market upon falling.
Popeye tried to be injured by a bull to be treated by Nurse Olive, but instead, the bull exploded when he crashed into Popeye.
The bull was part of a bullfighting event. It was defeated and spared by Popeye.
A rodeo bull wrestled with a weakened Popeye, but when Olive cried for help because Badlands Bluto was trying to brand her, Popeye ate spinach and transformed the bull into steaks and sausage links with a single punch.
A prize bull attacked Swee'Pea after the baby entered its pen. Popeye stopped the bull by holding on the rope that held its nose ring. The beast retaliated, but its efforts were in vain as Popeye defeated it with one punch that sent it flying in the form of steaks on the fence of its pen.
Foreman Bluto arranged a boxing match between Popeye and Bully Boy. The bull humiliated Popeye and sent him crashing into a barrel of water. Popeye came back after eating spinach for round two: the mad bull charged at him, but was lassoed and turned into sausage links when the rope tightened.
Popeye attended a bullfight by Matador Bluto. He would quickly join the bull in the arena. This bull was particularly resilient as it was the only one against which Popeye had to eat spinach twice.
In the end, the bull charged at Bluto out of the arena and into the horizon, leaving Popeye victorious.
A bull was peacefully grazing when Popeye crashed into it while chasing a gopher. The bull let it slide, but after Popeye pinned the gopher into a corner, he could not kill the small animal and threw the shotgun, which landed on the bull's head. The bull charged Popeye and went on to trash the sailor's house.
Seeing this, the gopher ate spinach and saved Popeye by holding the bull by the tail and throwing it into a chasm. The bull was left unable to move.
Television episodes featuring bulls
Popeye and Olive ran into a massive bull on their way to a picnic.
Popeye and Olive attended one of Bluto's bullfights. They saw that Bluto was fighting but a mere calf and Popeye decided to intervene and save the young bull.
An adult bull broke into the arena and Bluto used Olive as a muletta. Seeing Olive in danger, Popeye transformed the bull into steaks that he then threw at Bluto's face.
Despite what Popeye did to the other bull, the calf was still grateful to have been saved and kissed Popeye.
- "King of the Rodeo"
Features the largest bull in the entire franchise: El Diablo.
Popeye had to ride him, but Bluto sawed the rope so Popeye had to hang by the fur of the beast.
Olive tried to help, but she ended up buried some feet in the ground. The bull charged at her, Popeye ate spinach, jumped from the bull's back, transformed into an excavator to dig out his love, then charged the bull into a head-on collision. The bull did not seem hurt but obeyed the sailor's command. It was later seen chasing Bluto into the horizon.
A bull wrestled with Bluto on a ring and Bluto lucked out a win by bouncing on a flag and crashing into the bull.
Comics featuring bulls
- Popeye #109
In the comics, J. Wellington Wimpy's obsession with hamburgers would often result in his stalking a cow, even on occasion attempting to perform its slaughter by strangling it with his bare hands. In certain cases, such as with Hortensia, he becomes attached to the animal, as some sort of "pet" with added appeal. Wimpy is not averse to the meat of male bulls, however. In a storyline by Tom Sims and Bela Zaboly, he disposed of the remains of a prize bull that had been unintentionally killed by Lummox.