In 2017 and independently-developed videogame was released on Microsoft Windows and Xbox One that became popular enough to be ported to other platforms in the following years. What could have been a basic “run and gun” action game went beyond thanks to its character design and presentation, which evoked the “rubber hose” animation style from the early 20th Century, prominently used in “Popeye the Sailor Man” and even Disney characters before Walt began producing animated movies. Now, “Cupman” by creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer makes its first big step outside the gaming arena by having an animated series produced, by none other than Netflix itself.
USA Today has it that streaming giant Netflix has made the videogame “Cuphead” into another addition to its ever-expanding original content programming. The platform announced this Tuesday, July 9, that they are developing an animated series adaptation called “The Cuphead Show,” which will retell and expand the basic story plot that drives the original game. In a case of going full circle, the executive producers for this project alongside the Moldenhauer Brothers will be King Features Syndicate, creators of “Popeye” and “Betty Boop” which were the most memorable examples of the rubber hose animation technique employed by the “Cuphead” developers.
The game, and upcoming Netflix show, will feature the misadventures of the brothers Cuphead and Mugman, who have anthropomorphized cup and mug respectively as heads. They get into trouble upon losing their money while gambling at the Devil’s Casino, forfeiting their souls as a result. The Devil offers to let them off by having them work as his “debt collectors,” pursuing other people that ran out on the Devil rather than pay up their souls. Here is where the retro styling pays off, with one of the Cuphead brothers’ targets being a dead ringer for Popeye’s antagonist Bluto, for example.
King Features Syndicate and the Moldenhauers, under their Studio MDHR company, will be joined as executive producers by Cosmo Serguson from “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling.” Dave Wasson of Disney’s “Mickey Mouse Shorts” will also bring the new-age rubber hose aesthetic to “The Cuphead Show” as co-producer along with Netflix Animation. This is the latest in a string of videogame adaptations being planned by Netflix, with the earlier “Castlevania” series proving the viewership viability of the concept. No release date has been given for “The Cuphead Show,” but it is confirmed to be in production.
Image courtesy of The Verge