Popular cartoon characters, right from the silent black and white ones to ‘glorious’ technicolor, with music and exaggerated sounds to 3D animation, have taken us into another dimension. Cartoons have been an art that has made us giggle and laugh, with some admirable cartoon characters having entered our world and hearts so effortlessly and entertainingly. Have a read about some popular comic characters in the article below.
With eyes popping out, jaws dropping like an asparagus stick and tongues unrolling out about a mile, cartoons have for generations stepped into our lives, hearts and young minds of the young-at-heart. Here are some popular cartoon characters, not quite in a particular order.
I want to share something with you – the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, ‘Cover for me.’ Number two, ‘Oh, good idea, boss.’ Number three, ‘It was like that when I got here.’
Homer Simpson is the main fictional character from the famous show ‘The Simpsons’, created and designed by Matt Groening. Living in the town of Springfield, having a suburban blue-collar routine, the crudely incompetent, wisest and obese soul in the universe, Homer Simpson has his creatively stupid yet ignorantly funny views about life, realizing all the ‘answers to life’s problems are on TV’. He works/slouches/sleeps at a nuclear power plant, where he is often ignored by his boss, Mr. Burns, whom he despises. He also hates his ‘holier than Jesus’ neighbor, Flanders, and yard work.
Homer is, however, most devoted to belting down Duff beer at Moe’s Tavern, gorging on donuts and Marge’s pork chops and does love his family. He has proven himself to be a very caring and loving father in quite some episodes; though, once he has introduced the five of them as: Marge (his wife), Bart (his son), Girl Bart (his daughter, whose real name is Lisa), the one who doesn’t talk (Magi) and the fat guy (himself).
I’m Bart Simpson, who the Hell are you?
Bartholomew Simpson, famously known as Bart, the rebellious 10 year-old, misunderstood, disaffected son of Homer Simpson, opens every episode with a chalkboard scene. And, so what if he has declared his whole life based on the teachings of his idol, the cynical and addictive smoker, Krusty the Clown? And, so what if he has befouled the Springfield Church with dodgy hymns? And so what if he’s a troublemaker and a relentlessly entertaining prankster (he couldn’t have done it all without Santa’s Little Helper, a scrappy race hound) and has most of his mischief ingrained forcefully by his favorite violent TV cartoon, ‘The Itchy and Scratchy Show’?
All this doesn’t quite get in the way of his love to his mom, Marge and despite the ongoing sibling rivalry, there are some bouts of affection towards his sister, Lisa, in some episodes. He does go to Lisa for advice and, admittedly, considers her his superior. And did I hear someone yell ‘underachiever’? To begin with, he’s starred in his own short-lived TV series with his idol, and then he’s sighted and named a comet that could have destroyed Springfield, and has almost starred in the movie ‘Radioactive Man’. I can, now, almost hear him say, Eat my shorts!
Baloo, the Bear, and Mowgli (Walt Disney’s ‘Jungle Book’, 1967)
Baloo, Mowgli’s mentor, has a blatantly carefree, fun-loving and laid-back nature that rumbles with innocuous pleasure in the song, ‘The Bare Necessities’ (sung by Phil Harris), where he’s trying to lug little Mowgli into knowing that life is easy-going and can be full of leisure if you know a few harmless tricks of the land. His version of character appeared in some other Disney productions too, such as ‘Robin Hood (1973)’ and later in the popular television series ‘Talespin’.
Mowgli weaves through the jungle in India, with colorful songs, meeting idiosyncratic characters, such as the megalomaniac orangutan, King Luey. The overly protective and cautious Bagheera and fun-loving Baloo, who are Mowgli’s constant companions, want to take the reluctant ‘man-cub’ to the ‘man-village’ for fear of Shere Khan, who’s convinced that men are all hunters with guns and hates them. Mowgli, though, thinks he would simply explain to him that I’d never do something like that, and later with innocent braveness, when threatened by Shere Khan, he tells him, You don’t scare me! I don’t run from anyone! Brought to life by Walt Disney, the most famous feral child from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’ has disarmingly charmed audiences with his vulnerable friendliness.
Felix the Cat
Before the advent of ‘glorious technicolor’, Felix the Cat, made his first appearance in the early 1900’s in a short film called, ‘Feline Follies’. Soon he made his way into print. With humble beginnings, Felix the Cat, began merely as an impish, naughty cat with large eyes and wreathed in grins, all the characteristics which won audiences over and made him hard to forget.
Don’t let it worry ya, Skipper. I’m just a crazy, darn fool duck. Hoo-hoo Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo…!
Bringing about all that is loony in the Looney Tunes, Daffy Duck, with his pointless zany behavior that all points at the pantless Porky Pig, and like Porky’s gun, is ever-readily set to trigger out a tumble of gags to sink the shy, stuttering pig into a quagmire of confusion and the audience into uncontrollable peals of laughter, since his first appearance in the short film ‘Porky’s Duck Hunt’ in 1937.
With his hopping around madly and woohoo-ing, this little mad black duck with a white ring around his neck, has seen some ‘quacking’ (cracking) years since 1937, and through the Second World War where he hit Adolf Hitler on the head with a mallet in ‘Daffy the Commando’, in 1943. Daffy Duck has evolved straight from, and through, the talents of Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, and Chuck Jones from his being purely ‘cwazy’ to having more nutty wordiness added to his unpredictably explosive antics. You’re desthpicable!
Now, wait a cotton pickin’ minute! Who else can teach you to walk through life’s little setbacks, such as being hunted down, with aplomb and a cool carrot-crunching air? There’s quite a bit of suave ‘wascawwy wabbit’ wisdom involved here. Bugs has appeared with innumerable other Looney Tunes characters and always ends up winning all conflicts without any maliciousness at all, often outwitting the pea-brained Elmer Fudd, whose main aim is to hunt Bugs and is, hence, wanting everyone to be ‘vewy vewy quiet’ as he’s ‘hunting for wabbits’.
Though, earlier he emerged in 1940, beginning as manically as Daffy Duck, being just a bit more immaturely crazy and wildly quick, to becoming a little trickster, until he finally got his brash quick-wittedness, saying his famously cool, disarming and unimpressed line, ‘Ehhh… What’s up, Doc?’
Sylvester and Tweety
Though sloppy-mouthed, red-nosed Sylvester is all of a domestic cat (except that he looks like a goofy, loony clown-cat in a tuxedo and talks with a lisp), his name is actually a play with the Latin name for wild cat, which is Felis silvestris. Created by Friz Freleng for the 1945 cartoon, ‘Life With Feathers’, he uttered his trademark words Thuffrin’ thuccotash! for the first time, that dogged his persona and were attached to him through the rest of his career.
Sylvester is persistent and proud, persistently proud and proudly persistent, so that his losing largely, most of all the time has no suggestive effect on him whatsoever, and has “died” in a lot of his episodes, thanks to the infamous little adorable Tweety. In one of the episodes, he mistakes a baby kangaroo for a rather large mouse and goes about trying to teach his annoying son, Sylvester Junior, with forced expertise about how to catch mice, making a perfect dysfunctional son-and-father team.
I tawt I taw a puddy tat.
And yes, you probably have! Tweety, a yellow canary – adorable, sweetly saucy, and quite a little brutal – didn’t quite look or behave the way we know him now. He first appeared in 1941 in Bob Clampett’s ‘A Tale of Two Kitties’ against two cats, Babbit and Catstello, where he was rather hyperactively violent with both felines. Though, in later years he talked in the same baby-voice and got less aggressive. The little innocuous-looking yellow canary, who loves to sing and swing in his cage, is capable of escaping the tomcat’s schemes without a scratch, and is no stranger to bringing the mallet down on Sylvester’s head from time to time. But, usually it is Sylvester who bears the brunt of his own hunger and relentless pursuits and schemes to eat Tweety up.
Awww! The poor puddy tat fall down!
Morticia Addams & Uncle Fester
Though she wears a black dress with extending tendrils, is macabre and not without wit, Morticia Addams, from the ‘Addams Family’ by Charles Addams, is certainly not evil. She is the head of the Addams family and has two woeful children, Wednesday and Pugsley. She speaks French sometimes, or any other foreign language, sending her husband, Gomez, into an ecstatic romantic spell, under which he continually plants kisses on her hand. The low-voiced, raven-haired, pale, ruined beauty who loves gardening carnivorous plants and enjoyably beheads roses to stalk up her vases, exclaiming with the same pleased, cold detached air, how beautiful the thorns look.
Hunchbacked and stooping, sunken, yellow racoon-eyed Uncle Fester is Morticia’s sister’s husband, and is just as happy to blow himself up with dynamites as he is to shrink his severely migraine-affected head, by putting it into a screw-press, tightening it to deadening levels. He can laugh through his funny broken-toothed mouth, having a cannon ball bounce off his bald head and give a deranged, hopeful smile whilst releasing an eagle on the neighbor’s homing pigeons and can illuminate a light-bulb, that then threateningly crackles, by inserting it in his mouth. So, he’s quite happily good-natured almost all the time.
For about 50 years, apart from his personality, the very essence that became Donald Duck, entering easily into the hearts of many, was the distinct voice of Clarence Nash, who had learned as a child to imitate the bleating of his pet goat. Donald Duck made his first appearance (in precisely the same sailor outfit, with more oblong features and shorter legs) in the Silly Symphonies cartoon, ‘The Wise Little Hen’ on June 9, 1934, and has only got duckier ever since. There have also been quite some shorts in the time of the war, though they were banned in parts of Europe which was occupied by the Nazis. His girlfriend, Daisy Duck is always the one making Donald frantic in his attempts to being impressive.
In spite of the inflammable impatience, ill-tempered words and squawking annoyance from a bright yellowish-orange bill, and closed white, frowning fists bobbing up and down, verging on the line of vengeful viciousness in his middy blouse of a sailor suit and sailor hat, ducky Donald Duck is all forgivable when he begins to talk and sing in his endearing innocuous duck voice.
Tom and Jerry
Though the cat-and-mouse theme may seem limited, Hanna and Barbera have, with a lot of creativity, come up with an almost inexhaustible list of episodes. Tom’s constant, almost merciless banter, only by way of violent action with axes, guns, dynamites, traps, reciprocates Jerry’s generosity with his whiskered cunning and mischief, makes the pair run around, tumble, have large conical red bumps raised along with synchronized music, sound effects and the sound of the audience’s laughter (not recorded).
It was in 1939, Thomas Cat made his first appearance in ‘Puss Gets the Boot’, where he is Jasper and Jerry is unnamed. Except for Tom’s singing while wanting to woo feline females, or his leather-lung scream, with Tom and Jerry, talking is a rarity. William Hanna has plied both characters with their various gasps, squeaks and screams. Boris Karloff eyebrows further Tom’s fiendishness. The tawny Jerry usually emerges sweetly triumphant in every episode. This world-famous and massively iconic duo of enemies/cartoon-stars have very vehemently proved in plenty of episodes that they absolutely cannot live without each other; though, with impatient arduous acceptance of the fact on behalf of them both, portraying their love-hate relationship.
SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Starr
I’M READY! I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready!
‘SpongeBob SquarePants’, an American TV animated series is created by the talented marine-biologist and animator, Stephen Hillenburg. Waking up every morning to the sound of a fog-horn alarm clock, SpongeBob, usually begins his day in Bikini Bottom, bounding about with boundless energy along with an endless beam of enthusiastic optimism, happy-talking through his buck teeth. He works as a fry-cook at the Krusty Krab restaurant, owned by the money-obsessed, stingy crab Eugene Krabs, where Spongebob is employee of the month time and over again. He lives in a pineapple-shaped house with his pet snail Gary who meows like a cat.
SpongeBob is blissfully oblivious to the fact that his sour, neurotic, self-centred neighbor and co-worker, Squidward Tentacles, dislikes him to the marrow of his ‘exoskeletal’ bone. A lot of times, genial-aired SpongeBob with his innocent intentions tries to do some things so right that he gets them all tartar-saucedly wrong!
All right! Which one of you flatfoots stole my lollipop?
SpongeBob’s best friend, a noseless pink starfish, Patrick Starr, lives under a rock. It’s no wonder he’s not the brightest star in Bikini Bottom. He wears green trunks with printed purple flowers on them usually that sport a silly navel just above. Who you callin pinhead?! Well, though not necessarily full of the wisest advice, well-intended, loyal Patrick always encourages SpongeBob, as they both go on several adventures in Bikini Bottom, the moon and everywhere in between and around.
SpongeBob: ‘Patrick! Your genius is showing!!’
Patrick: (covers his “area”) ‘*GASP!* Where?!’
In the heart of Transylvania
In the Vampire Hall of Fame, yeah
There’s not a vampire zanier than Duckula!
He won’t bite beast or man,
Cause he’s a vegetarian,
And things never run to plan for Duckula!
If you’re looking for some fun
You can always count upon
The wild and wacky one they call Duckula!
Created by the British animation studio, Cosgrove Hall, and appearing as a bad guy on ‘Danger Mouse’, Count Duckula managed to set his webbed foot into his own animated TV series. Apart from being a short green, vegetarian duck who loves broccoli sandwich, Count Duckula is pretty much, well, a vampire who talks with a stuttering and squawking lisp. He lives in a castle, Castle Duckula, that travels wherever he wishes to go, with his large-bodied and horribly unintelligent, small-brained nanny, who’s a gigantic hen and always has her arm in a sling, and with his evil butler, a hunchbacked vulture, Igor. Igor is appalled by the ways of his master and would be quite pleased if his master were more ghastly, biting, maiming and torturing people with brutality to return all of them to the ‘good old days’.
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble
Yabba dabba doo!
The animated sitcom, ‘The Flintstones’, is a Hanna-Barbera production, that ran from 1960-66. In his leopard-skin tunic with a scruffy-looking blue collar, the naive, impulsive and rotund Fred Flintstone, is quite a modern stone-age man, who drives a foot-powered car. He works in a quarry as a bronto-crane operator, and lives in the town of Bedrock, with his wife, Wilma, daughter, Pebbles and his energetic pet dinosaur, Dino, who has all the canine qualities any dog can afford.
Fred yelling at the top of his voice and immature, Wilma is peeved by his behavior often. Fred is always on a fevered look-out of getting out of his working-class life, wanting to make a quick buck! He always makes a loving and caring husband and father.
Fred’s next-door neighbor and best friend is the pint-sized Barney Rubble, whose mental bulb is slightly dimmer than Fred’s. He is pretty satisfied with his own life with Betty and his adopted son, Bamm-Bamm. Barney’s lugged into all of Fred’s schemes, as Fred is his best friend, with whom he always agrees with a silly laugh. Both love bowling, playing pool, poker, and golf, and toying around in Fred’s garage. They work at the same quarry and share a devotion to pleasures of the table, having an appetite that goes with it.
Johnny Bravo: [running] “Did you see a gorilla around here?”
Johnny Bravo: [running and stops] “Did you see a gorilla around here?”
Johnny Bravo: “Did you see a gorilla around here?”
Gorgeous woman: (flirtatious tone) “No.”
Johnny Bravo: “Did you see a…” [pauses, looks back and runs backwards]
Old woman: “Gorilla?”
Johnny Bravo: “Hey there hot mama, you wouldn’t happen to be hiding a gorilla under them clothes, would you?”
[gorgeous woman grabs Johnny by the arm and entangles him into a battered down victim with little effort]
Johnny Bravo: “Yeah. She wants me.”
Pumped-up beefcake, pompadour-haired, square-chinned, narcissistic Johnnie Bravo, with his suave-aired Elvis Presley like voice has a notorious inability to attract women despite all of his desperate attempts. His best friend, Carl, is a nerd whom Johnny despises, and he lives with his mother, Bunny Bravo. This cartoon TV series, which began in July 7, 1997, was made by Van Partible for Cartoon Network.
Johnny Bravo: [looking in a mirror] Who’s this handsome guy?
[grabs a phone]
Johnny Bravo: Hello, 911 Emergency? There’s a handsome guy in my bathroom! Hey, wait a second. Cancel that, it’s only me!
Asterix and Obelix
From René Goscinny and Alberto Uderzo’s comic books, Asterix and Obelix are the two main characters from the village of Gaul. Unlike American superheroes, these two inseparable friends don’t want to save the world, but just their little village and their friends.
Unlike a lot of main cartoon-heroes who’re robustly built with a muscular physique, plucky little brain-over-brawn Asterix boasts of undertaking a set of various quests and adventures with his friend, the oversized, clumsy and lovable Obelix. Dear old sensitive Obelix is NOT fat (you know he’s offended deeply at the word), but he’s got a powerful physique and an undying love for eating lots of roast-boar, and is most definitively a sweet, good-hearted (though the boars wouldn’t quite agree) glutton (this, they would). He fell into a cauldron of magic potion as a child. Often, he is carrying around a menhir, fighting the ‘crazy’ Romans with undaunted enthusiasm, without knowing his own strength, or falling in love. He loves his little dog, Dogmatix. Asterix is quick and ace at outwitting Julius Caesar and the Roman Legions. He couldn’t have done it without the superhuman strength derived from the concocted magic potion of their old beloved druid-friend, Getafix.
The first time, Astérix was serialized in the magazine called Pilote, on 29th October, 1959. The comic books, with a lot of punny names and culture-focused humor, have been translated into more than 100 different languages and dialects and several movies have been made on the adaptation of the same.
Scooby dooby dooooooo!
Scooby Doo, a Great Dane with a speech impediment (pronouncing most words as though they begin with an ‘r’), has been solving mysteries with his colorful, curious clue-finding teenage gang. Raggy? Snack-munching, ever-hungry, lanky Shaggy shares his relentless appetite of Scooby Snacks and other food, Velma, who is as blind as a bat the very moment she loses her glasses, Fred, the leader, who’s oblivious to the romantic interests of another member of the gang, Daphne, who’s fashionable with bright orange hair and has a knack of getting into danger all the time and is top-notch at freaking out and still maintaining her line in plenty episodes, ‘There is no such thing as ghosts (monsters)!’
This animation series was started by Hanna Barbera around 1969, in which all these characters were loosely based on the American sitcom, ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’. Scooby’s relentless enthusiasm despite his fear is quite funny, treading carefully through old, abandoned and eerie theme parks, where prolific masked men are on the prowl. Root rints! There, the good old boy’s done it again! Footprints!
I am hungry. Therefore I am.
Created by Jim Davis, named after his grandfather and published since 1978, the lasagne-loving, lazy, wise-cracking, fat orange tabby cat, Garfield has quite selfishly trained his owner, Jon Arbuckle, with a time-table of being fed and eating every meal as if it were his last and of course, sleeping (would be a shame to call it catnapping at all) as he might have ‘overslept and is late for his nap’, and somehow he manages to fit in his oblong hours of laziness.
Anybody can exercise, but this kind of lethargy takes real discipline.
Right! And it’s okay, as he isn’t overweight but is just ‘under-tall’. He hates Mondays, spiders and vets, doesn’t chase mice and, very often destroys Jon’s ferns and curtains and doesn’t quite spare flowerbeds. So, the only thing remaining is to dodge the thick-headed, lovable, loyal, continually slobbering dog, Odie, on whom Garfield relishes playing practical jokes, and to get enough food and sleep in the course of the day.
All I do is eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. There must be more to a cat’s life than that. But I hope not.
Created by the cartoonist, Walter Lantz (1900-1994), this little brazen, off-the wall, screwball comedic woodpecker has a famous, unforgettable, trademark, staccato laughter Ha-ha-ha-HAA-ha! The idea of Woody Woodpecker came out of a bothersome woodpecker who bored holes in their lakeside cottage roof while Lantz and his wife, Grace Stafford, were on their honeymoon. Lantz, later, was known to say that the woodpecker was trying to drill holes in the shingles. Their roof was made of asbestos and not wood, and the woodpecker put in an acorn in the hole. A worm would develop and then the smart woodpecker would come back in a week’s time and get the acorn, flying away with a loud triumphant screeching.
Though originally it was the profound gurgling talent of the voice of Mel Blanc, Gracie plied Woody with his voice and laughter until her death in March, 1992, when she was 88 years old. She didn’t want any screen credit, as she thought that children would be quite disappointed to find out their favorite puckish woodpecker’s voice is that of a woman.
Each cartoon has been estimated to have around a staggering 5000 drawings, taking nearly 4 months to finish. The cartoons never quite lost their charm, as they didn’t involve any popular dated catch-phrases, but had their themes perched mainly on physical and visual gags and a third of a dialog. Released by Universal Pictures, the first time Woody appeared in 1940 with Andy Panda in the animated short, ‘Knock Knock’, looking shoddier and cruder than what he did in his later years. With his wide-eyed silliness and his famous laughter, the ‘Woody Woodpecker Song’, which became one of the biggest hits in 1948, was used in the short ‘Wet Blanket Policy’. It became the first and only song from an animated short to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song.
Maury, I am out of control. Yeah, I use drugs. I can do what I waunt, biatch! Yeah, I have sex, and I don’t use protection! It’s my hot body; I’ll do what I waunt! I don’t go to school and I kill people! What-evah! I’ll do what I waunt!
From the American animated series, South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and with his blatant profanity, meanness coming from being spoiled and selfish, junk food-eating third-grader Eric Cartman is one of the most popular cartoon characters. Along with his friends, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski and Kenny McCormick, whom he’s opposed to, his insensitively racist, anti-semitic and lazy behavior gets him a lot of extraordinary experiences in an otherwise run-of-the-mill town, South Park, filled with stupid people who say stupid things (abundant with profane jokes and racist slurs).
Jewish Kid: ‘Is anyone else having problems concentrating on this? I just can’t seem to concentrate.’
Cartman: ‘Maybe we should send you to a concentration camp.’
This fat, dyspeptic, 8 year old considers ‘Gingers’ as ‘diseased and inhuman’ and inherently evil without souls, hates Kyle because he’s Jewish, and often pokes at Kenny’s being poor, loves toilet humor, hates hippies and Jews, and wonders ‘why poor people always smell like sour milk’. He has a sweet single mother who gives him whatever he wants. This kid has none of the flower-like, rainbow innocence and loveliness, which is generally associated with children; but is a morbidly obese, obnoxious-mouthed, raging bastard.
Screw you guys… I’m going home!
Ren and Stimpy
Created by the Canadian animator, John Kricfalusi, the cynical, emaciated, psychotic chihuahua, Ren Höek and the dimwitted, dopey, blue-nosed feline, Stimpson J Cat, with his trademark expression of tongue lolled out idiotically, have ample of poopy, farty and snotty jokes, ‘toilet-humor’ in shorter words, and rather harsh language for laughs. These two, with their distorted bodies and emphasized facial expressions, are unlike any of the glossy sheen, crisp charm of Walt Disney cartoons. Well, quite far from it, really!
In an absurd world, all they have is their own absurd selves for each other. Some of their episodes have, undoubtedly, been a bit disconcerting to senses not quite adaptable to the way cartoons have been and to minds knowing far too well for themselves how cartoons should be. Monolithic-toothed Ren, violent, insecure, paranoid, delusional, in a nutshell: pretty much off his rocker, with his diabolical laugh and raving, Stimpy you EEEEdiot! and You sick little monkey! and flat-footed Stimpy with his incorrigibly ignorant, purple-eyed blissful face gets hit and verbally abused by Ren in plenty episodes. He certainly knows ignorance is bliss. Or does he know anything at all? Well of course, Happy Happy Joy Joy, which is a lot to know!
I know there is an almost inexhaustible list of plenty more admired cartoon characters which I have not quite included here, for which I may be hunted down. There are a lot of other incredible favorites. But you can see a vast list of cartoon character names here, and I cringe at not having included some of these.
All the pomp and magic of visual art, made to sing and talk and jump across our television screens, has taken form in our hearts by continually entertaining us with various gags and some exaggerated yet subtle truths. Cartoonists from all over the world have gone on to create a new funny world through nothing but keen observation of the one we live in, pure talent and raw creativity. I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these popular cartoon characters (as incomplete as the list might seem) as I have enjoyed writing about them.