Cuphead (character)

Cuphead is the 13-year-old title character and main protagonist of the 2017 game Cuphead, developed by StudioMDHR.[1] Cuphead is an anthropomorphic teacup who lives on Inkwell Island with his brother Mugman and the Elder Kettle. After accidentally losing his and Mugman's souls gambling with the Devil, Cuphead is forced to act as a soul collector for the various colorful criminals who have made deals with the devil.

Cuphead character
Cuphead (pictured above)
First appearanceCuphead (2017)
Created byChad Moldenhauer
Jared Moldenhauer
Designed byChad Moldenhauer[citation needed]
Voiced byTru Valentino
In-universe information
PositionSoul Collector
WeaponFinger Bullets
RelativesMugman (brother)
Elder Kettle (caretaker)
OriginInkwell Island

Developed over the course of several years by Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, the art style of Cuphead is designed as a homage to 1930s Rubber hose animation, particularly the early works of Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks and Fleischer Studios.[2][3][4] During the course of three years of game development, the studio heavily promoted the character to build audience interest. The strategy was ultimately successful as the game sold one million copies in two weeks.[5]

Concept and creationEdit

Cuphead was primarily developed by brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. The Moldenhauers watched 1930s-era cartoons in their youth, which Chad Moldenhauer describes as happenstance, based on gifts and VHS compilations.[6]

After having tried and failed to develop a game with similar visuals in the early 2000s, the brothers began work again after the success of Super Meat Boy in 2010. During the decade long development, the character of Cuphead underwent over 150 character redesigns including a kappa in a tophat and characters with a plate or fork for a head.[2]

The character that eventually became Cuphead descended from a 1936 Japanese propaganda animated film where a man with a teacup for a head morphs into a tank. The Moldenhauers emulated the animation because they found it strange, and "right away it stuck." [2]


As his name suggests, Cuphead's head is a wide cup with what seems to be some sort of liquid inside, topped with a red and white striped bendy straw. He is mostly seen wearing a black, long sleeved shirt, white gloves, red shorts (slightly similar to Mickey Mouse's iconic short overalls), and brown boots. To emulate the way characters were drawn in the game's time period, his coloring is inconsistent; he is sometimes depicted wearing red or yellow boots, and/or yellow gloves instead. As an anthropomorphic cup, his skin is a light gray and made of porcelain, so enough hits could break and kill him, leaving behind his apparition.

Once he dies, Cuphead briefly appears as a ghost. His ghost still has the cup head and gloves, but his appearance is now a ghostly blue. His shorts and legs are now replaced with a ghost tail, his bendy straw is now a halo.

As seen in the intro to his game, he is shown to be a confident, fun-loving and slightly cheeky type. He often takes a large amount of risks. His personality was mostly inspired by the "charming, yet trouble-making" character archetype, as seen in the protagonists of early cartoons such as Mickey Mouse, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and Bugs Bunny.

He is also seen to be greedy and slightly stupid such as when he recklessly gambled his and his brother's soul for the promise of riches and glory.[7]

Other appearancesEdit

In January 2020, Cuphead was revealed to be an alternate costume for the Mii Gunner character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The costume came packaged with a music track from the Floral Fury battle.[8] Four spirits from Cuphead, including Cuphead himself, were later added the game's spirit board.


Cuphead's brother, Mugman, acts as an alternative skin and potential co-op partner within the game. In game play, the two are identical.

His appearance is a nearly identical color swapped version of Cuphead, with Mugman being blue instead of red. His unique features are that he has a larger and rounder nose, eyes shaped like ovals instead of semicircles, and he has a different shape of straw.

Mugman is typically more cautious and thoughtful than Cuphead, which can be seen when he tries to warn Cuphead of danger in the opening.

In other mediaEdit

In July 2019, Netflix announced The Cuphead Show!, an animated series based on the game. It will feature adventures of Cuphead and Mugman across Inkwell Isle, exploring areas and characters beyond those in the video game. While the series will be targeted for children, StudioMDHR also anticipated that they will include humor and gags for adult audience appreciation. Chad and Jared Moldenhauer from StudioMDHR will be executive producers along with CJ Kettler from King Features Syndicate. Dave Wasson and Cosmo Segurson will co-executive produce, while Clay Morrow and Adam Paloian will be supervising directors.[9][10]

On June 26, 2020, it was revealed that Tru Valentino will voice Cuphead and Frank Todaro will voice Mugman.[11]


  1. ^ Studio Mdhr (2020). The Art of Cuphead. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 9781506713205.
  2. ^ a b c Purdom, Clayton (2014-07-14). "Where did Cuphead come from?". Kill Screen. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  3. ^ "1930s cartoon-inspired Cuphead targeting late 2014 on PC". Engadget. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  4. ^ "Cuphead review". Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  5. ^ Marshall, P. David; Moore, Christopher; Barbour, Kim (2019). Persona Studies: An Introduction. Wiley. ISBN 9781118935071. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  6. ^ "See How 'Cuphead's' Incredible Cartoon Graphics Are Made". Time. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  7. ^ September 2017, Lucas Sullivan 29. "Cuphead review: "Stands tall among the best 2D shooters of all time"". gamesradar. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  8. ^ "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Is Adding Cuphead As A Mii Fighter Costume". GameSpot. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  9. ^ "Netflix to Adapt 'Cuphead' Into Animated Comedy Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  10. ^ Cuphead Netflix TV Show Details - IGN, retrieved 2020-04-14
  11. ^ "tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-06-28.