Call it Walt Disney's revenge.
In 1946, Arizona State alum and former Disney employee Berk Anthony drew the iconic image of Sparky the Sun Devil. It has been rumored that Anthony drew the devil in the likeness of his autocratic boss after being fired by Disney.
The rumors swirled around about the resemblance, but Anthony assured that it was merely a coincidence.
The redesign or re-imagination was a collaborative effort between the University and Disney with Arizona State alum Stephen Teglas, the vice president of licensing at Disney Consumer Products, running point.
The new look of the mascot is more cartoonish, is designed to appeal to a younger demographic and will be used in comic books and children's books.
The new mascot has been widely panned by current and former students as well as lifelong fans. Although Sparky has received many redesigns over the years, this is clearly the most drastic and most clearly despised by Sun Devil Nation.
Leave it to Hollywood that spends its time rehashing classic movies and TV shows into movies to make our beloved mascot look like a combination of known characters in the Nasonex bee, Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and the Gothic mask by Guy Fawkes.
The mascot is designed to resemble a superhero with a muscular build and knee-high boots.
There has been severe backlash including a change.org petition, a Facebook page titled Bring the Old ASU Sparky Back and a Facebook group 100,000 Arizona State Fans Against the New Sparky. There was even an unofficial poll run by House of Sparky that showed an approval rating of only 10 percent.
One of the major complaints is the dominance of the black that has been introduced recently and not enough of the traditional maroon. Conversely, the perma-grin is no longer devilish and he actually looks happy, not menacing. This is not a mascot that will strike fear into others, but it will evoke a different reaction—-pointing and laughing.
Former Arizona State running back and team captain Cameron Marshall even spoke up about the new Sparky on Twitter:
This redesign is an outright abomination and complete disaster on the part of the Arizona State athletics department, but it no longer resembles Walt Disney.
Chalk up another one for corporate America, where the almighty dollar can destroy decades of tradition at an institution that has so few.
David is the Featured Columnist of Arizona State Athletics for B/R. Follow him on Twitter at @asudave.
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