To kick off Popeye’s 90th Anniversary celebration in 2019, Hearst Entertainment’s King Features Syndicate has announced the debut of Popeye’s Island Adventures. The original animated short series will introduce the classic character to younger audiences. The series launch was announced by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication President Neeraj Khemlani and President of King Features Syndicate C.J. Kettler.
Originally appearing in 1929, E.C. Segar’s Popeye character first debuted in The Thimble Theatre comic strip in the New York Journal-American, which was at that time owned by Hearst Founder William Randolph Hearst. The much-loved character developed alongside his cast of friends before making his film debut in 1933 and television debut in 1960. For nearly 90 years, Popeye has resonated in print and on screen for audiences of all ages.
Popeye’s Island Adventures introduces the spinach-loving sailor man to the younger generation by combining the original squash and stretch animation style with a fresh update on the original characters and storyline. The new Popeye has a youthful appearance and more eco-friendly position, growing spinach on the roof of his dieselpunk style houseboat and collecting rain water in barrels. Olive Oyl, the original damsel in distress, is now a shining example of feministic ideals that fans new and old will want to emulate. No longer sitting on the sidelines, Olive is now a strong, independent, and resourceful woman who is at the center of every adventure. Bluto remains the series’ antagonist, but his motives have changed as he pursues Popeye’s spinach in a quest for strength.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Popeye to YouTube and a new generation of kids,” Swartz said.
“It is fitting that Popeye, one of King Features’ original animated characters, is the first of our brands to be reintroduced through short form video content created specifically for the YouTube audience,” Khemlani added. “King Features has a deep library of IP.from Flash Gordon, Mandrake and The Phantom to partner properties like Blondie, Hagar the Horrible and Beetle Bailey.and Popeye is taking the lead with development of new entertainment, merchandising and e-commerce to serve a new generation of fans.”
“Popeye is an iconic pop culture character and the responsibility to serve his fanbase while introducing him to a new audience of multiple generations is enormous,” Kettler said. “The Popeye 90th Anniversary celebration will include not only the short form animation on YouTube but a relaunch of E.C. Segar’s Popeye Cartoon Club in print, digital and social media featuring some of the most notable talent in cartooning and illustration as well as key partnerships for streetwear apparel and trend setting collaborations. We look forward to further developing Popeye with additional retail partners, licensees, and longer form storytelling in the future.”