There’s no Genndy Tartakovsky Popeye film coming out anytime soon, but fans of the E.C. Segar creation got some good news today.
Hearst-owned King Features Syndicate, which recently revealed an aggressive growth of Betty Boop merchandise, announced big plans for the character at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas.
King announced a new deal with digital kids’ network and studio Wildbrain to manage and produce original Popeye content on Youtube. The agreement will introduce the first original Popeye content in over 10 years, setting up a brand relaunch in 2019 for the character’s 90th anniversary.
Wildbrain will work closely with King Features to enhance existing programming on Popeye’s newly-launched Youtube channel, which currently has around 33,000 subscribers. New animation will also be created for the channel in “the popular squash and stretch animation style” (the original Popeye shorts produced by the Fleischer Studios were strongly associated with a rubber hose animation style).
Wildbrain, which is assuming worldwide management of Popeye’s Youtube presence, will also produce new compilations of classic Popeye theatrical shorts, as well as Popeye and Son and The Continuing Adventures of Popeye.
“Popeye is a truly iconic character with fans that span generations. We are looking forward to expanding Popeye’s presence on YouTube with Wildbrain as our partner and reaching new audiences in the process,” said C.J. Kettler, president, King Features. “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.”
In addition to the expanded Youtube presence, King recently redesigned the Popeye brand logo and pcakaging, and launched a redesigned website, Popeye.com. They have also announced more than a dozen new global merchandising partners ahead of the character’s anniversary. Popeye first debuted in January 1929 in Segar’s comic strip The Thimble Theatre.