Popeye and “One Piece”: Two Tattoos, One Idea

Take your pick:

A.) Classic Golden Age American cartoon character tattoo

or

B.) Popular contemporary anime character tattoo

In our current age of cultural remix and reuse, cartoon characters like Popeye and One Piece’s Monkey D. Luffy are more alike than dissimilar, their iconic design qualities detached from their original animated context to serve as raw material for gimmicky and interchangeable graphic concepts. The question every artist must ask themselves today is whether they want to be the one who creates the icon or the one who remixes the icon.


  • Pedro Nakama

    Tattoos are a fashion trend like bellbottoms. Permanent bellbottoms.

    • George

      a 5000 year old trend. unlike bellbottoms.

  • kelseigh

    The fact is, the Luffy one is actually more consistent with his abilities than the Popeye one. So it’s certainly better in that sense, and it’s unlikely the artist or the person wearing it knew about the Popeye one in the first place so I’m not sure if you can justify it being a remix.

    Of course, deciding that two characters with different personalities, abilities, motivations, supporting casts and even cultural backgrounds are “more alike than dissimilar” based on two people getting similar tattoos seems pretty thin at best. It has been suggested that one of the supporting characters, Franky, was inspired by Popeye if that helps, but not the main show or protagonist.