ASU drops new Sparky mascot after criticism - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

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ASU drops new Sparky mascot after criticism

The new Sparky has a more smiling face than the previous one, with much larger eyes and less sinister-looking eyebrows. (Source: Arizona State University) The new Sparky has a more smiling face than the previous one, with much larger eyes and less sinister-looking eyebrows. (Source: Arizona State University)
TEMPE, AZ (CBS5/AP) -

Arizona State University has decided to scrap the new look of the school's mascot, "Sparky."

The university released an updated version of the costume on March 1 that was designed by an ASU alum who was an ex-Walt Disney Company illustrator.

The plan is for the new Sparky to make its first appearance during the annual ASU spring football game in April. On Tuesday, university officials announced that after receiving feedback it has decided not to change the official image of Sparky to the one released earlier this month.

Instead, the university said Tuesday it's developing an online program that will enable members of the Sun Devil community to pick the features of the costume's head and face. For example, the program is expected to offer a choice between maroon and black horns, different sizes and shapes for the eyes, face shape choices that include a less prominent chin, and options for the mustache and goatee, according to the university's news release. All features offered will be consistent with the identity of Sparky.

ASU officials said they'll continue to use the iconic 1946 drawing on facilities, banners and on some merchandise and apparel.  ASU spokesperson Terri Shafer said an updated, contemporary version of the character will be used in comic books, children's books, animated films and on merchandise and apparel designed to reach younger audiences.

Sparky has been the university's mascot for six decades and is a popular fixture at football games and promotes the university at other public events.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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