Funny animal

A funny animal is an anthropomorphic animal character who lives like a human. Funny animals typically are bipedal, wear clothes, live in houses, drive and ride vehicles, and have jobs or may even be recognized citizens of countries, which distinguish them from other animal characters who may nonetheless display anthropomorphic characteristics such as speaking or showing facial expressions. Funny animal (also talking animal) is also the genre of comics and animated cartoons which primarily feature funny animals.[1]

While many funny animal stories are light-hearted and humorous, the genre is not exclusively comedic. Dark or serious stories featuring characters of this sort can also be grouped under the "funny animals" category, sometimes referred to as anthropomorphic characters[2] to avoid confusion over the range of genres. These stories may intersect with any other genre or group of genres, including historical fiction, science fiction, superhero, western, slapstick comedy, children's/family entertainment, and satire.[3]

Funny animal
Pluto and Goofy - Cartoon dog vs. funny animal
Disney's Pluto consistently exhibits canine behaviors, like digging, barking, and chewing bones. Conversely, Goofy is a funny animal; he engages in behaviors such as walking upright, wearing clothes, and riding bicycles. Other characters acknowledge that Goofy is a dog, but he is still treated as a human.
 
This topic covers comics that fall under various genres.

History

Print media

Alice par John Tenniel 02
The White Rabbit, illustration by John Tenniel (1865)

Early examples of funny animal characters in literature can be found in Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Grandville's Les Métamorphoses du Jour (1828-1829), a series of illustrations which anthropomorphized humans as animals [4] and in the 1865 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with characters such as the White Rabbit and the March Hare.

The oldest funny animal comic strip is James Swinnerton's The Little Bears, which debuted in 1892. [5] The earliest example of funny animals in a British comic strip was Arthur White's Jungle Jinks (1898-1947), which featured a group of school children, anthropomorphized as animals. The comic strip ran in Playbox, a supplement of Home Chat, for years. [6] Jungle Jinks in particular paved the way for a whole stream of British comics about cute animal characters: Tiger Tim, Teddy Tail, Rupert Bear,... and so on. [7]

An early example of a novel which made exclusive use of funny animals was the 1908 children's book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This story featured the character Mr. Toad who is human in almost every sense. Other characters in the book, such as a mole, water rat, and otter, are also very human with the exception of preferring their species' native habitats. The mole, for example, lives underground, but in a finished home.

In the United States the most well known funny animal comic was Krazy Kat (1913) by George Herriman. It featured a cat, a mouse Ignatz and a dog police officer named Offissa Pup. [8] Animated cartoons also inspired a whole industry of comics based on funny animal characters like Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker,...

The 1945 novel Animal Farm by George Orwell notably features several talking animal characters who transition to bipedal, clothes-wearing funny animals by the end of the story.

In the 1940s, Fawcett Comics published a comic book entitled Funny Animals, featuring such characters as Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, an anthropomorphic rabbit version of Captain Marvel.

Charles M. Schulz's dog character Snoopy from Peanuts and the title cat character of Jim Davis's comic strip Garfield are non-speaking pet characters, so are not strictly funny animals by the above definitions; however they are depicted with some funny animal traits, such as bipedalism and understanding of human language. Snoopy in particular writes books, plays baseball as a shortstop, and sometimes wears clothes when he indulges in his various fantasy lives, such as his college student persona known as Joe Cool.

Instead of verbalizing as humans would with speech balloon, Snoopy and Garfield instead use thought balloons to convey messages. This tactic allows for the relationship between human and animal to be ambiguous, as it may not be clear if the human can understand what the animal is thinking. When the Peanuts specials were adapted for television, producers opted to make Snoopy mute, just as a normal dog would be, and act out his thoughts in pantomime. The ambiguous relation between Garfield and his owner, Jon Arbuckle, inspired a number of derivative works, among them being Garfield Minus Garfield, a collection of strips with the title character edited out and Arbuckle effectively speaking to himself.

Since the mid 1960s subversions of the innocence of funny animal stories have been generated by the underground comix movement, with Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat and Kim Deitch's Waldo the Cat as prime examples. Here the funny animals are portrayed doing drugs, having sex and acting far more violently than what mainstream media would dare to portray. Beginning in the 1980s, there was a subgenre of original funny animal comic books with subject matter that were created largely for mature readers. These creations included the political science fiction allegory in Albedo Anthropomorphics, the sexually explicit serial drama of Omaha the Cat Dancer, the noir style of Blacksad and the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic Holocaust narrative, Maus.

U.S. Acres is the other comic strip created by Jim Davis, featuring a group of barnyard animals, such as Orson the pig and Wade the duck. They are closer to traditional funny animals than Davis' other character, Garfield, and they are shown to be able to operate manmade items,[9] speak with normal speech bubbles and converse with humans.[10] Pearls Before Swine features various funny animals each named after their respective species, such as the characters known as Rat and Pig.

Animated cartoons

The funny animal genre evolved in the 1920s and 1930s, at a time when blackface became less socially acceptable. Early black-and-white funny animals, including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, Foxy the Fox, Felix the Cat and Flip the Frog, maintained certain aspects of the blackface design, including (especially with the advent of sound film) heavy emphasis on song and dance routines. The increased use of Technicolor and other color film processes in the 1930s allowed for greater diversity in the ability to design new "funny animals", leading to a much wider array of funny animal shorts and the near-total demise (except for Mickey Mouse and a few other Disney characters of the era) of the blackface characters. Song and dance fell out of favor and were largely replaced by comedy and satire. The Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts by Warner Bros. Animation, for instance, introduced dozens of funny animals, many of whom have reached iconic status in American culture. Other notable funny animals from the color film era included Universal's Woody Woodpecker, Wally Walrus, Chilly Willy and Andy Panda; MGM's Tom and Jerry, Screwy Squirrel, Barney Bear and Droopy; and Terrytoons' Heckle and Jeckle, Gandy Goose, Dinky Duck and Mighty Mouse.

Television changed the dynamic of animation, in that although budgets were much smaller and schedules much tighter, this prompted a shift from the physical comedy that predominated film shorts to more dialogue-oriented jokes (including celebrity impressions and one-liner jokes). Hanna-Barbera Productions focused almost exclusively on these kinds of funny animal TV series, creating an extensive line of funny animal television series starring characters such as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss and Top Cat. Jay Ward Productions also produced Rocky and Bullwinkle (also known as Rocky and his Friends, The Bullwinkle Show or The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show), a series starring a "plucky" flying squirrel named Rocky and his incompetent moose sidekick and best friend, Bullwinkle J. Moose, as they fought against Eastern European (human) espionage. The series was a representative of the genre (albeit with much stronger Cold War overtones than the shows of Hanna-Barbera exhibited); Ward was also responsible for the lighter funny animal series Super Chicken and Hoppity Hooper, and his contemporary Total Television (which used the same Mexican animation studio) produced a complementary string of animal cartoons of its own, famously Underdog.

By the 1970s, most funny animals had lost their lead status and had been relegated to members of an ensemble cast of mostly humans or supporting characters; the Scooby-Doo franchise, for example, inspired several ensemble mystery-comedies with funny animals existing alongside humans. During this period there were standout creations like Ralph Bakshi's iconoclastic feature animated film, Fritz the Cat. Funny animals and animal-like characters made a brief comeback in the late 1980s and into the 1990s (most notably through various Warner Bros. and Disney television creations, and through the decidedly cruder work of Bakshi and John Kricfalusi). The subsequent years also had numerous successful animated feature film franchises that featured funny animal characters like DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda series, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Zootopia and Illumination Entertainment's Sing. Artists have created increasingly more unusual examples of funny animals in this era, such as SpongeBob SquarePants from the Nickelodeon's TV series of the same name, who is unusual as he is a sea sponge, an animal that is seldom anthropomorphized; and the fish characters from Disney's Fish Hooks, who live similar lives to those of humans while living in a pet store aquarium. Netflix's BoJack Horseman features adult themes played out by a mixture of animals and humans who rarely mention their differences, and when the differences are mentioned it is sometimes taken as a racial slight.

See also

References

  1. ^ Katalin Orban, Ethical Diversions: The Post-Holocaust Narratives of Pynchon, Abish, DeLillo, and Spiegelman, New York, London: Routledge, 2005, p. 52: "'funny animal' or 'talking animal' type of comics, such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse or Krazy Kat."
  2. ^ M. Keith Booker (ed.), Comics through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas, Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2014, p. 177.
  3. ^ Markstein, Don. "Toonopedia: Funny Animal". Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  4. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/g/grandville_jj.htm
  5. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/s/swinnerton.htm
  6. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/white_arthur.htm
  7. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/w/white_arthur.htm
  8. ^ https://www.lambiek.net/artists/h/herriman.htm
  9. ^ https://garfield.com/usacres/1987/05/17
  10. ^ https://garfield.com/usacres/1986/03/30

Further reading

All-American Publications

All-American Publications is one of three American comic book companies that merged to form the modern day DC Comics, one of two largest publishers of comic books in the United States. Superheroes created for All-American include the original Atom, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Wonder Woman, all in the 1940s' Golden Age of Comic Books.

Andy Panda

Andy Panda is a funny animal cartoon character who starred in his own series of animated cartoon short subjects produced by Walter Lantz. These "cartunes" were released by Universal Pictures from 1939 to 1947, and United Artists from 1948 to 1949. The title character is an anthropomorphic cartoon character, a cute panda. Andy became the second star of the Walter Lantz cartoons after Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He achieved considerable popularity until being eventually supplanted by Woody Woodpecker.

Animal tale

An animal tale or beast fable generally consists of a short story or poem in which animals talk. It is a traditional form of allegorical writing.Important traditions in beast fables are represented by the Panchatantra and Kalila and Dimna (Sanskrit and Arabic originals), Aesop (Greek original), One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) and separate trickster traditions (West African and Native American). The medieval French cycle of allegories, Roman de Reynart is called a beast-epic, with the recurring figure Reynard the fox.Beast fables are typically transmitted freely between languages, and often assume pedagogic roles: for example, Latin versions of Aesop were standard as elementary textbook material in the European Middle Ages, and the Uncle Remus stories brought trickster tales into English. A more recent example, in English literature, was George Orwell's allegorical novel Animal Farm, in which various political ideologies were personified as animals, such as the Stalinist Napoleon Pig, and the numerous "sheep" that followed his directions without question. In American cinema, there is also the Academy Award winning film, Zootopia, that serves as a fable about prejudice and stereotypes where the funny animal characters experience both social problems with their species serving as an analogy to racial groups.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! is a DC Comics comic book about a team of funny animal superheroes called the Zoo Crew. The characters first appeared in a special insert in The New Teen Titans #16 (February 1982), followed by a series published from 1982 to 1983. The Zoo Crew characters were created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw. Although the series, which was the last original funny animal property created by DC Comics, proved short-lived, it is still fondly remembered by many comic fans of its generation, and the characters appear occasionally in cameos in the mainstream DC Universe (this is made possible due to the existence of a "multiverse" in the DCU, which allows the Zoo Crew characters to exist on a parallel Earth).

The series was introduced in a 16-page insert in The New Teen Titans #16. The series was cancelled after twenty issues, with six issues still in preparation. These six issues were eventually published in three double-sized issues as Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew in the Oz-Wonderland War Trilogy, with the indicia title Oz-Wonderland Wars (plural). The series did not, in fact, depict a conflict between the Land of Oz and Wonderland, which plotter E. Nelson Bridwell considered antithetical to Ozite politics, but rather depicted the Nome King retrieving the magic belt and using his powers against both Oz and Wonderland, with the Zoo Crew coming in as reinforcements against him. The series was praised for its artwork, by Carol Lay, for its close emulation of the work of John R. Neill and Sir John Tenniel, but the story, scripted by Joey Cavalieri, was seen by many to be too close to the plot of Ozma of Oz to reach its full potential. The series featured cameos from Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and the Inferior Five.

A Showcase Presents reprinting of the entire series was slated for September 2007, but was postponed along with several other Showcase editions due to royalty issues in DC's contracts of the 1980s. The book was finally released in September 2014.

After years of absence, the Zoo Crew was reintroduced in Teen Titans in 2005. In October 2007 a three-issue miniseries called Captain Carrot and the Final Ark featured the Zoo Crew picking up from the Teen Titans storyline.

Chilly Willy

Chilly Willy is a funny animal cartoon character, a diminutive anthropomorphic penguin living in Alaska, but lives in Antarctica in the New Woody Woodpecker Show. He was created by director Paul Smith for the Walter Lantz studio in 1953, and developed further by Tex Avery in the two subsequent films following Smith's debut entry. The character soon became the second most popular Lantz/Universal character, behind Woody Woodpecker.

Comic Cavalcade

Comic Cavalcade was an anthology comic book published by DC Comics from 1942 to 1954.

Most American comic book publishers in the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age of comic books published anthology titles that showcased a variety of characters, usually with one star—such as Green Lantern in All-American Comics or Wonder Woman in Sensation Comics. Comic Cavalcade, however, featured both those star characters as well as the Flash, a star in his own namesake title as well as the spin-off All-Flash.

At 96 pages initially, Comic Cavalcade was about one-and-one-half-times the length of the average comic book of the time. It was priced at 15 cents, when the average comic cost a dime.

Many stories in Comic Cavalcade were scripted by other than the characters' regular writers, for deadline reasons. Batman writer Bill Finger, for example, would occasionally write Flash stories for Comic Cavalcade when regular Flash writer Gardner Fox was preoccupied with other projects.

One non-superhero ongoing character introduced in Comic Cavalcade was newspaperman Johnny Peril. His roots, prior to his first appearance, came in the one-off story "Just a Story" in issue #15 (July 1946), by writer-artist Howard Purcell. With issue #22 (Sept. 1947), the anthological "Just a Story" series gained Peril as, generally, a witness or narrator rather than as an integral part of the narrative. With this issue, the series title became "Johnny Peril Tells Just a Story", eventually changed to "Johnny Peril's Surprise Story" as Johnny became the series' two-fisted hero until the series ended with issue #29 (Nov. 1948). The character went on to appear in his own feature in All-Star Comics, Danger Trail and Sensation Comics through 1953. He returned in the Silver Age of Comic Books in 1958, in The Unexpected.Initially published quarterly, the title went bi-monthly beginning with #14 (April–May 1946). It was revamped completely with #30 (December–January 1948), becoming a funny-animal humor book when superheroes faded from popularity in the post-war era. Featured were animator Frank Tashlin's movie-cartoon duo The Fox and the Crow, along with cartoonist Woody Gelman's creations, The Dodo and the Frog and Nutsy Squirrel. The book's length by this time had been reduced to 76 pages.

The title would later be referenced with DC's 1970s Cancelled Comic Cavalcade series.

Critters (comics)

Critters was a funny animal anthology comic book published by Fantagraphics Books from 1985 to 1990 under the editorship of Kim Thompson.

Prior to Furrlough and Genus, this was the longest running funny animal anthology comic book series. The title lasted for 50 issues. Furthermore, it served as the flagship title of Fantagraphics' line of funny animal series in the 1980s.

The last 12 issues were switched to revolving features of issue-long stories, rather than the anthology format. Declining sales, due in part to the 1980s black-and-white comics market overload (many titles of which were funny-animal comics aiming for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles market) led to this title's cancellation.

Alan Moore released a single "March of the Sinister Ducks" as a flexi disc in the comic issue 23.

Hoppy the Marvel Bunny

Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is a fictional comic book superhero and funny animal originally published by Fawcett Comics as a spin-off of Captain Marvel. He was created by Chad Grothkopf (1914–2005), and debuted in Fawcett's Funny Animals #1 (Dec. 1942). Hoppy later became a property of DC Comics, and has made periodic appearances in stories related to Captain Marvel, today also known as Shazam.

I. W. Publications

I.W. Publications (also known as Super Comics) was a short-lived comic book publisher in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The company was part of I.W. Enterprises, and named for the company's owner, Israel Waldman. I.W. Publications was notable for publishing unauthorized reprints of other publishers' properties. Usually these companies were already out of business — but not always.

I.W. Publications published comics in a wide variety of genres, including crime, science fiction, Western, horror, war and romance comics, as well as funny animal and superhero titles. The company was known for its low-budget products: most of I.W.'s comics were sold in grocery and discount stores, often in "three comics for a quarter" plastic bags. The numbering of most of the company's titles is misleading, often not starting at issue #1 and skipping issue numbers. Incredibly, the company produced 118 separate titles, but only 332 individual issues — many titles only published a single issue.

The company published one comic book with original material: Marty Mouse #1 (1958), featuring funny animal stories by Vincent Fago, among others.Some I.W./Super Comics titles used original cover art: illustrators included Jack Abel, Ross Andru, Sol Brodsky, Carl Burgos, Mike Esposito, and John Severin, with lettering by Ben Oda.

John Costanza

John Costanza (born August 14, 1943, in Dover, New Jersey) is an artist and letterer who has worked in the American comic book industry. He has worked for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He was the letterer during Alan Moore's acclaimed run on Swamp Thing. The bulk of Costanza's art assignments have been for funny animal comics and children's oriented material.

Just'a Lotta Animals

Just'a Lotta Animals is a fictional superhero team that appeared in stories published by DC Comics. The team is an anthropomorphic funny animal parody of the Justice League of America.

Omaha the Cat Dancer

"Omaha" the Cat Dancer is an erotic comic strip and later comic book created by artist Reed Waller and writer Kate Worley. Set in fictional Mipple City, Minnesota (derived from "MPLS," the old postal abbreviation for Minneapolis) in a universe populated by anthropomorphic funny animal characters, the strip is a soap opera focusing on Omaha, a feline exotic dancer, and her lover, Chuck, the son of a business tycoon.

The strip debuted in the funny animal magazine Vootie, and a number of underground comix in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "Omaha" the Cat Dancer became the subject of the eponymous comic book series published from 1984 to 1993 by Kitchen Sink Press; it was relaunched by Fantagraphics Books through 1995. The final chapters of the strip's storyline were published in Sizzle magazine, beginning in 2006.

"Omaha" the Cat Dancer was the first of several comic books published in the early 1980s which integrated explicit sex into their storylines, rather than utilizing sex for shock value. The comic was the subject of a number of obscenity controversies, and was nominated for multiple Eisner Awards in 1989 and 1991.

Pooch the Pup

Pooch the Pup is a funny animal cartoon character, an anthropomorphic dog, appearing in Walter Lantz cartoons during the studio's black-and-white era, and is the first recurring character to be made by Walter Lantz. This character, however, only appeared in thirteen shorts, and only two are available on video so far.

Rowrbrazzle

Rowrbrazzle is an Amateur Press Association magazine devoted to funny animal cartoon illustration.

Stanley and His Monster

Stanley and His Monster was an American comic-book humor feature and later series from DC Comics, about a boy who has a monster as his companion instead of a dog. Created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Winslow Mortimer as a backup feature in the funny-animal comic The Fox and the Crow #95 (Jan. 1966), it went to its own 1960s title and a 1990s revival limited series.

Super Rabbit

Super Rabbit is a fictional, funny-animal superhero in comic books published by Timely Comics, a predecessor of Marvel Comics, during the 1930s and 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. Created by cartoonist Ernie Hart, he first appeared in Comedy Comics #14 (cover-dated Feb. 1943).

The character appeared after Fawcett Comics' funny-animal superhero Hoppy the Marvel Bunny (debut: Fawcett's Funny Animals #1, cover-dated Dec. 1942), and before the Bugs Bunny theatrical cartoon short "Super-Rabbit" (released in April 1943)

Terrific Whatzit

The Terrific Whatzit (real name Merton McSnurtle, also known as McSnurtle the Turtle) is a funny animal superhero who appears in stories published by DC Comics. DC's first funny animal superhero, the Terrific Whatzit first appeared in Funny Stuff #1 (Summer 1944), and was created by Martin Naydel.

The Three Mouseketeers

The Three Mouseketeers is the name of two separate funny animal comic series published by DC Comics.

Vincent Fago

Vincenzo Francisco Gennaro Di Fago (; November 28, 1914 – June 13, 2002), known professionally as Vince Fago, was an American comic-book artist and writer who served as interim editor of Timely Comics, the Golden Age predecessor of Marvel Comics, during editor Stan Lee's World War II service.

Fago headed the Timely animator bullpen, which was largely separate from the superhero group that produced comics featuring the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner and Captain America. This group, which featured such movie tie-in and original funny-animal comics as Terrytoons Comics, Mighty Mouse and Animated Funny Comic-Tunes, included Ernie Hart, David Gantz, Chad Grothkopf, George Klein, Pauline Loth, Jim Mooney, Kin Platt, Mike Sekowsky, Moss Worthman (a.k.a. Moe Worth) and future Mad cartoonists Dave Berg and Al Jaffee.

Later in his career, Fago oversaw Pendulum Press' Now Age Books line of comic book adaptations of literary classics.

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