It’s hard to believe, but Popeye the Sailor has been out of the public eye for nearly 15 years. The character’s last notable outing was in 2004’s Mainframe Entertainment produced CG TV-special Popeye’s Voyage: The Quest for Pappy. King Features is looking to rectify that and has partnered up with DHX’s WildBrain to produce new animated web content true to the original’s “squash and stretch” animation style.
Through the partnership, WildBrain will take control of the Popeye and Friends YouTube channel. The new initiative will start with compilations of Classic Popeye, Popeye and Son and The Continuing Adventures of Popeye.
The fresh animation comes as the spinach-chugging sailor is prepped to celebrate his 90th Anniversary next year.
“Popeye is a truly iconic character with fans that span generations,” said C.J. Kettler, president of King Features. “We are looking forward to expanding Popeye’s presence on YouTube with WildBrain as our partner and reaching new audiences in the process. WildBrain has the secret sauce that will help Popeye connect with his audience of millions around the world while growing his fan base exponentially through fresh new animation as we head into his anniversary year.”
“Such an iconic brand as Popeye is a wonderful addition to the WildBrain network,” said Jo Parkinson, head of operations at WildBrain. “WildBrain is delighted to build on King Feature’s global brand program for Popeye, using our expertise in developing, launching and managing digital content and channels on YouTube, which is an ideal platform for connecting with today’s fans and growing brands worldwide.”
The dearth of Popeye content isn’t due to a lack of trying, though. Sony Pictures has been trying to get a CG-animated big screen feature based on the character for years – since 2010! Unfortunately, animation legend Genndy Tartakovsky’s vision doesn’t seem to be on the cards.