King Features Celebrates Legendary Global Growth

The company has seen significant advancement across major categories in the past few years, including gaming, publishing, and location-based entertainment.  Some of the most notable recent partnerships and upcoming releases include:

  • GAMING: Gaming has been a priority category for King Features in recent years, resulting in a slew of best-in-class partnerships including Wargaming, which is set to expand later this Independence Day as Popeye the Sailor Man returns to the free multiplayer naval combat game World of Warships. With fully voiced-over Popeye and Bluto at the helm of one of the 800 ships of the game, the anniversary celebration for this American icon will be in full force! Next, comics’ very first costumed hero is coming to console gaming later this year, thanks to Art of Play. The action game stars The Phantom, who faces down crime using his physical strength, skill with weapons and fearsome reputation. Casino slots inspired The Phantom are also in development with Aristocrat, the gaming company who brings joy to life through the power of play. Additional recent partnerships include the launch of online slot games for Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician from Cristaltec and for Popeye from Lucky Games, Cuphead-themed Nintendo Switch controllers from Cidaverte Spa, and Cuphead gaming accessories from collectibles company YouTooz. Gaming continues to be a key area of growth and King Features is excited to explore new partners for traditional and interactive video games, as well as lottery, casino, online slots, mobile games, and in-game marketing collaborations.
  • ADVERTISING & PROMOTIONS: King Features has partnered with Born Licensing to broaden its IP’s reach in promotions. This April, Popeye kicked off a partnership with American sausage maker Johnsonville and was featured in their latest national commercial. Looking ahead, King Features is currently seeking partners for Popeye in the boating insurance and consumables categories.
  • PUBLISHING: In recent years, King Features has debuted an unprecedented amount of original content based on its roster of classic and new properties. Flash Gordon, the first intergalactic space hero, returns to the page this year in a new FLASH GORDON comic book series from master publishing partner Mad Cave Studios and in the family-friendly series Flash Gordon Adventures from its Papercutz imprint just to name a few of the new releases in the queue. Additionally, fans will find three new Cuphead books on shelves this year from Dark Horse Comics: The Art of The Cuphead Show, The Art of Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course and a new graphic novel. Helping take the publishing program to the next level is Habro-veteran and publishing expert Michael Kelly from Extensive Enterprises who has joined the team as a consultant.
  • EXPERIENTIAL & LOCATION-BASED ENTERTAINMENT: Many of King Features’ most popular characters can be found at Toon Lagoon within Universal Studios Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, including Popeye and Olive Oyl, Blondie and Dagwood, Hagar and Beetle Bailey. King Features has also brought fans in China and Hong Kong new ways to engage with Popeye through activations at shopping centers throughout the country. King Features is exploring new and creative ways for their IP to expand in the space and is open to conversations with potential partners in LBE at this year’s Las Vegas Licensing Expo.
  • ADDITIONAL KEY CATEGORIES: King Features has also experienced further success in the food & beverage category, including the recent Silver Slice Bakery partnership for Olive Oyl cake mix, which will be followed by mixes for Popeye pizza and Wimpy burger buns, in addition to craft beers inspired by Popeye from Brazilian brewery Bodebrown and for The Phantom from Arkidesign in the Nordics. Other categories on fire include collaborations and collectibles with numerous partnerships across the portfolio.
  • APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES: Popeye continues to lead as a fashion icon with a string of continuous releases in the category, most recently Facer dropped a new collection of Popeye digital watch faces in April and a new streetwear collaboration out of Asia will be announced this Spring.

As the company enjoys a year of tremendous expansion for its brands, the King Features team is also growing to help meet the demand and bring in new expertise to open categories for additional development.

  • PROMOTIONS: Earlier this year, King Features announced the promotion of Carla Silva to Senior Vice President/General Manager, Global Head of Licensing, as she continues to lead King Features’ licensing division. Other key team members celebrated promotions as well, including Christina Nix Lynch, who was elevated to Senior Director of Licensing, Berit Ginsberg, who was elevated to Brand Marketing Manager, and Sam Scholl, who was elevated to Licensing Associate.
  • NEW HIRES: King Features also welcomed several new hires, including Jolie Roberts, VP of Domestic Licensing, who joins the company after spending three years as Director of Content & Creator Acquisitions at Twitch, and Sunjana Varma, who has taken on the role of Brand Marketing Coordinator.
  • FRESH CREATIVE: At this year’s Licensing Expo, the company will debut a new trend guide for Popeye as he celebrates his 95th birthday this year along with a new brand sizzle for the iconic sailor man. The first-ever trend guides for Flash Gordon (celebrating 90) and The Phantom will also make their debut at the event.
  • The team is supported by a growing arsenal of category experts and consultants across gaming, publishing, promotions and advertising, and location-based entertainment.

“We are incredibly proud of the work our team has done to open new categories and territories as we work to super serve fans of our properties across the globe,” said Carla Silva, Senior Vice President and GM, Global Head of Licensing, King Features. “As we grow our team with some of the industry’s leading experts in their categories, I am confident that our legendary brands will continue to prove their truly limitless potential.” 

In addition to massive growth across categories for its stable of IP, King Features is also celebrating an exciting period of growth for the beloved children’s brand Moomin with a robust offering of US licensing and retail partnerships for American fans. New domestic deals for Moomin span categories including apparel and accessories, plush, stationery, and more, while the brand is also poised to expand its pilot program with Barnes & Noble from 20 stores to more than 300 later this year. King Features is also preparing to debut the first deals for global girls’ empowerment brand, Rebel Girls, which joined the company’s roster in December 2022.

King Features’ internal and external growth is complemented by an expansion into new territories around the world, including the Middle East, India, China, Japan, and within European markets Germany, Spain, Italy and France.