Popeye Concept Art Reveals the Horror Reboot You Didn’t Know You Needed

In recently released concept art by Kelley Jones, Popeye is thrown into a horror story that’s so amazing that it needs to be a series.

A recently revealed piece of concept art is making the rounds as it shows Popeye the Sailor in a horror reboot no one knew they wanted until now. Kelley Jones is a comic artist who has showcased his craft in countless well-known comics. From well-known characters like Batman to more niche titles like The Sandman, Jones has highlighted shadow to depict darker moments in comics. What’s incredible is that he can take even the most family-friendly characters and give them an interesting twist with his style, and that’s best shown through his recently unveiled concept art for Popeye.

Popeye the Sailor is an old cartoon and comic character from the 1920s. The character was created by EC Segar and is a brawny sailor that is constantly finding himself in trouble while trying to win the affection of his sweetheart, Olive Oyl. If he ever finds himself in a bind, he turns to his handy can of spinach which gives him the strength he needs to save the day. Popeye has become a pop culture icon for decades because of his charming stories and likable characters that surround him. Recently Popeye’s original run of comics was just released through Fantagraphics. What’s interesting though is that Kelley Jones’ proposal for a horror-themed Popeye comic shows he’s going to need more than spinach to survive.


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Kelley Jones recently revealed concept art on his twitter featuring Popeye in a pretty horrific scenario. He’s in a room full of treasure, but he’s not alone. There are creepy figures in the darkness, preparing to strike the hero as he preps for what will likely be a gruesome fight for survival. The use of shadow in this concept art is what really sells it because it casts the traditionally happy and comedic comic in a new horrific light. It’s not unheard of for classic cartoons to find themselves in a horror setting, but something about Popeye just fits the tone so well. He’s a character that’s known to be a sailor, so crossing the seas to a place of unspeakable horrors with only his fists as weapons against an onslaught of creatures can make for an enticing story.

Jones mentions in his tweet that he “came close to doing a scary Popeye comic,” showing that this was nearly a reality. The most amazing part though is that he’s not wanting to give up on it. Jones mentions that it’s still something that he would like to do, and perhaps his idea for a horror story featuring Popeye could happen sometime in the future. Given that horror based on Rubber Hose animation is big due to the success of the video game Bendy and the Ink Machinethere’s certainly a market for this idea to come to light.

Of course, until the day that these Popeye comics hit the stand, it’s all up in the air. This isn’t the first time that a Popeye project has been cancelled. Genndy Tartakovsky was originally going to make a Popeye film, but the release was scrapped until recently even after test footage was released. Hopefully, Jones’ idea to take the iconic sailor on a more horrific route won’t meet the same fate. Based on his astounding concept artwork, Popeye was made to become a hero in a horror story, and it would serve as the perfect reboot that fans would never realize they wanted until they read the first page.

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Source: Kelley Jones

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