Earthworm Jim Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim, the spacefaring invertebrate you may remember from 1990s video games, supports trans rights. That may surprise fans since his creator, Doug TenNapel, has a history of transphobic comments.

TenNapel will play no part in an upcoming animated series based on the franchise. Interplay Entertainment, which owns the rights to the character, said so on Twitter: “We’ve assembled a whole new creative team for [the series] Earthworm Jim. The original creator is not involved at all.”

Interplay, which is producing the show, gave no reason for TenNapel’s absence. But the artist, who is also the creator of animated series Catscratch for Nickelodeon and Project G.e.e.K.e.R. for CBS, has a history of controversial statements on issues like trans rights and gay marriage, both of which he has publicly condemned. In 2017, he was criticized for misgendering a journalist who had written a critical article about Earthworm Jim for Kotaku.

In contrast, a recent tweet from the official account of the new animated series said in Earthworm Jim’s voice, “I say Trans Rights are Human Rights, baby!”

TenNapel replied to Interplay’s tweet about his non-participation: “A whole new creative team that didn’t create the main characters. The bench is welcome to handle the rest.”

In response to another user who criticized the style of the new series’s trailer, he added: “I think it’s fine. It’s not what I would make, but that doesn’t mean the cartoon won’t be good. The animation production is already better than most, so that’s a positive. And it’s HARD to make any series. It’s grueling work. Just let it be its own thing.”

Earthworm Jim appeared in four platform games and a Kids’ WB animated series in the 1990s. A new installment in the franchise, for the upcoming Intellivision Amico console, was announced in 2019. TenNapel was among the original creative team said to be returning to work on the game.

After games news site GamesIndustry.biz published a report detailing racist and homophobic comments made by TenNapel on his podcast, both TenNapel and Intellivision clarified that he is an “unpaid consultant” on the new game.

Interplay recently launched an in-house tv and film studio under Michel K. Parandi. The company has partnered with APA on the upcoming series, which will be animated at Passion Pictures with Aaron Billet as producer and Marc Bodin-Joyeux as animation producer. Variety first reported the news about the series.

Below is test animation for the new series that Interplay released last week:

Animation news you can use
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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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