In case you’ve had your head in the sand, let us fill you in on the splendour and brilliance that is Cuphead.
With its full title being Cuphead: Don’t Deal with the Devil, the run-and-gun indie video game was first drawn up in 2013 but got its big break on the Windows and Xbox One platforms in 2017. Since then it’s been made available across pretty much all platforms including MacOS, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation, and has enjoyed a rapidly growing following from cult to bordering on the commercial.
The game’s aesthetics are inspired by the ‘rubber hose’ style of animation used in cartoons of the 1930s, most evident in the work of Fleisher and Walt Disney studios. But Cuphead’s characters are far from cutesy and quaint. To start with our main characters, Cuphead and Mugman have to fight all manner of evil in the form of tormenting ‘bosses’ like King Dice and the Devil himself.
What’s brilliant about the Cuphead game is the way in which it simultaneously praises former forms of animation while also take the proverbial piss. Characters die and then are easily brought back to life with a ‘parry’ on their ghost’s head. The soundtrack is often muffled, accompanied by whiz-bang comic-style text so as to let players understand what’s been said (Wallop!). And the colour is oversaturated technicolor-style with many of the characters taking on 1930s style dress codes and gestures.
It’s all great fun, and enough to warrant a full cartoon series which Netflix has just released the first official trailer for.
The trailer for the show is just as effervescent in its illustration, bursting at the seams with colour and calamity. It’s like watching a cross between early Mickey Mouse cartoons and latter-day Looney Tunes, but on acid.
The two-minute trailer opens with Cuphead and his brother Mugman boringly painting a fence before Cuphead decides the two of them need some fun and adventure. Of course it quickly turns to misadventure as the pair practically have their souls sucked into a skee-ball machine, and encounter two main bosses: King Dice and the Devil.
Wild and whimsical, erratic and adventurous it appears the cartoon TV series is going to be in a very similar vibe to the game, which means fans are going to love it.
Interestingly, The Cuphead Show! is produced by King Features Syndicate, the licence holders for Popeye and Betty Boop, so you know they’ve got the look of it all down-pat.
We can’t wait till February 18 comes ‘round to see the full first episode.