There's a theory that Bluto and Brutus from Popeye are twins
Most fans think of them as the same character, but not everybody agrees. Whose side are you on?
In the Popeye comics and cartoons, Bluto is a big guy with a big chip on his shoulder, known by a lot of nicknames.
Through different cartoons, we occasionally heard Bluto referred to by vague references other than his name, like "Mean Man," "Sonny Boy," "A Big Brute," and even "The Big Guy That Hates Popeye." But for the most part, we knew him as Bluto, Popeye's biggest foe and his rival for the heart of Olive Oyl.
That's why in 1960, when Popeye suddenly had a new "Mean Man" to cope with named Brutus, some fans got confused.
Who was Brutus? And where did Bluto go?
It's a funny story that created a lot of unnecessary confusion.
The story goes that when the Popeye theatrical cartoon series ended and producers were preparing to kick off the Popeye TV show, they got paranoid that Paramount Pictures owned the rights to Bluto.
They were so convinced this was the truth that they changed Bluto's named to Brutus without even looking into it at all.
So in 1960, when the Popeye cartoon series debuted on TV, audiences met a new Popeye baddie, Brutus.
Stepping on eggshells around Paramount's copyright, the producers also directed some changes in the character's physical appearance, changing the muscular, bodybuilding sailor into a pudgy, scruffy bully whose shirt buttons nearly popped around his belly.
Well, it turned out that the character name and appearance changes were completely unnecessary. Paramount didn't own the rights to Bluto — the Popeye producers were free to use the original character with his original design.
That's why when Popeye returned in 1978 for The All-New Popeye Hour, Bluto was back in and Brutus was eliminated, leading many to see the characters as interchangeable.
But lacking an explanation for the two characters with different names and different appearances, some fans have decided that Bluto and Brutus, rather than iterations of the same character, are twin brothers in the Popeye universe.
This became further confused when, in 1987, a pair of special Popeye comic books featuring young Popeye was released that actually portrayed Bluto and Brutus as twin brothers.
The first, called Popeye Special #1: Borned to the Sea takes fans from Popeye's birth to the moment he meets Brutus and forms a fast rivalry in the Navy.
The second book, Popeye Special #2: Double Trouble Down Under, introduced the twin-brothers theory, showing Popeye and Brutus traveling to Australia, where they meet Bluto.
In case you were wondering, of the two twins, Bluto is definitely the meanest.
Checks out, right? He has been the one who's been taking spinach-fueled punches from Popeye the longest!