AP NEWS

Those Loveable Cartoon And Comic Characters

March 16, 2019

An animal lover since birth, I have been attracted to the animals in cartoons and the newspaper comics. As a child, I routinely watched Quick Draw McGraw. My favorite character was the floating, treat loving dog named “Snuffles,” who would hug himself in ecstasy and float into the air whenever a treat was delivered. Google him, he was adorable. The Road Runner I was also a big fan of the Road Runner cartoons. Road Runner, an American cartoon character, was a speedy, slender, blue and purple bird who continually frustrated the efforts of a coyote (Wile E. Coyote) to catch him. In a series of animated short films, the fleet-footed Road Runner races along the highways of the American Southwest, his legs and feet moving so fast that they form a wheel-like blur, with Wile E. Coyote in hot pursuit. In each episode, the coyote sets an elaborate trap for the bird, usually with the aid of some product ordered from the fictitious Acme company. The scheme always backfires as a result of either the products’ chronic unreliability or Coyote’s own failures. Road Runner, never captured or damaged, responds with a characteristic “Beep! Beep!” (his only communication) and dashes off. Animator Chuck Jones introduced the comedic pair in the 1949 short film Fast and Furry-ous, produced by Warner Bros. for its Looney Tunes cartoon series. More than two dozen more episodes were produced in the 1950’s and ’60s. The shorts enjoyed a long second life in several different television series in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. As explained by Jones in his autobiography, the success of the Road Runner shorts was rooted in their commitment to a set of rules, among them that the audience should retain equal sympathy for both the hapless coyote and his speedy prey and that Road Runner would humiliate, but never harm, the coyote. When I visited California and saw an actual road runner in the parking lot, I was astonished that he looked nothing like the one that I knew! Snoopy The classic Snoopy; who doesn’t love him? As far as I am concerned, Snoopy is the star of the Peanuts Gang. Snoopy was one of Charles M. Schulz’s earliest Peanuts characters, appearing for the first time on Oct. 4, 1950, two days after the comic strip’s debut. Schulz loosely based Snoopy on a black-and-white dog named Spike he had as a teenager. Snoopy got his name when Schulz remembered his mother’s suggestion that the family should name their next dog “Snoopy.” I am such a Snoopy fan that he is all over my Facebook pages, representing the particular day (such as Monday, blech) and holidays. When I was in my twenties, I co-owned a beagle named Jojo. By co-owned, I mean I trained and showed Jojo, but he did not live with me. My Mom did not want two dogs in the house, and I had Cairn Terrier, Casey, at that time. So I know firsthand how sweet and loving the beagle is; therefore, I have had a lifetime admiration of Snoopy. Garfield Garfield, the fat lovable orange cat, is the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Paws Inc., is the company behind “Garfield,” handling creative licensing and business concerns and the Garfield branding empire, from cat food to checks. Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis, was born to Indiana farmers who raised cows and feed crops for cows, along with a passel of 25 cats. Bouts with asthma as a child led Davis’s mother to encourage him to draw, something he could do without exerting himself. Davis looked at other successful comics and realized that people do like dogs like Snoopy and Marmaduke. Why not cats? And Garfield was born, and embraced by his adoring public. Marmaduke Marmaduke made his first appearance in the newspaper comic pages in 1954. Since that time, Brad Anderson, who created the strip, and Paul Anderson, his son, who joined the business in 2004, have never repeated a single panel. Despite a library of 63 years’ worth of daily panels and Sunday strips, readers are given brand new Marmaduke stories daily. Marmaduke makes readers laugh, whether it’s Marmaduke trying to order from the ice cream truck or Marmaduke taking up all the space on the family bed, the Andersons have maintained an unfailing commitment to making the world a little brighter and more fun every day. While Marmaduke is notable for many reasons, one aspect of the cartoon that separates Marmaduke from other animal comics is that Marmaduke is truly a dog. This lovable Great Dane needs no word balloons. The Andersons, both father and son, have perfected the art of dog facial expressions and expressive bodily poses. One glance at the day’s panel, and any reader knows exactly what Marmaduke is thinking about. It’s sure to elicit a grin or even a laugh. I LOVE this big goofy guy! Mutts A favorite comic strip of mine is “Mutts.” Chances are you’ve been stuck in traffic behind some of Patrick McDonnell’s work. McDonnell, the artist and writer of “Mutts,” is the guy who draws Earl, the dog, and Mooch, the cat, who appear on New Jersey’s Animal Friendly license plates. The better place to appreciate these characters, of course, is in McDonnell’s comic strip. Launched in 1994, “Mutts” follows the adventures of Earl, Mooch and a menagerie of other animals and people. Mooch and Earl are connoisseurs of life’s simple pleasures: the long winter nap, the sights and smells of a delicatessen, the joy of playing with a little pink sock and the value of friendship. “Mutts” is a celebration of the everyday, wrapped in a daily gag. And this comic strip has promoted rescue, making it a favorite of animal lovers everywhere. Buckles The Citizens’ Voice features the comic strip, “Buckles.” He’s not the family dog, he’s family! Buckles is a comic strip about a wide-eyed house dog exploring his way through the everyday routines of life. With the guidance from his owners, Paul and Jill, Buckles discovers unique adventures from his backyard to the great unknown beyond the fence. Buckles is not alone in life’s endeavors. He finds companionship through his feathered friend, Arden, a lazy example of the early bird, as well as advice from his live-on roommate, Flea. Other friends around the neighborhood include a car-chasing dachshund who’s bound to a wheelchair, a carefree street dog and an ill-tempered squirrel. Together, this band of misfits illustrates the humorous simplicities of typical days. These fun fictional characters bring smiles to our faces. It is proof positive that we receive and abundance of love and joy from our pets and can’t get enough of them! Count me in. My pets are not animals, they are family, too!! Dog bless. Judy Endo writes about pets. Contact her at judyendo@outlook.com.