The 40 Best Cartoon Characters of All Time
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5. Snoopy (Peanuts)
Creator: Charles M. Schulz
Voice: Bill Meléndez
Not every character survived the move from print to the TV screen, but Snoopy absolutely came to life through a handful of TV specials, dancing his way into our hearts, beginning with a 1961 commercial for the Ford Falcon. His Red Baron dreams, his friendship with Woodstock and crush on Lucy. But mostly his boundless enthusiasm cements his place on this list.
4. Eric Cartman (South Park)
Creator: Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Voice: Trey Parker
Who else but Eric Cartman could inspire 10 parallels with Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary? This selfish, foul-mouthed, hippie-hating, cartoon brat is the antithesis of political correctness; an Archie Bunker for a new generation. Over the last decade, he’s been the perfect vehicle for broaching taboos Americans are too terrified to engage in polite conversation.
3. Tom and Jerry
Creators: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Silent film mostly went away with the advent of the talkies, but Hanna and Barbera’s Tom and Jerry didn’t need dialogue to enrapture generations of children. The 114 shorts were created between 1940 and 1958, but they feel like they belonged to my childhood in the late ‘70s, just like they’ll feel like a part of my kids’ childhood when they grow up.
2. Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes)
Creator: Tex Avery
Voice: Mel Blanc
The coolest cat in cartoon history is a rabbit. Or a hare. That slight taxonomic difference was never addressed during his many antics, but he held an enviable insouciance through them all, whether being hunted with Elmer Fudd’s shotgun, Yosemite Sam’s pistols or Marvin Martian’s ACME Disintegration Pistol. His only flaw: a poor sense of direction (especially when tunneling through New Mexico).
1. Homer J. Simpson (The Simpsons)
Creator: Matt Groening
Voice: Dan Castellaneta
The first two seasons of The Simpsons were focused on Bart, but as it became Homer-centric, the show became something truly special. He’s the everyman at our laziest, hungriest, dumbest and drunkest. Yet thanks to good heart buried under all those doughnuts, he’s also the hero that repeatedly saves the day—or at least restores everything to a status quo which has endured for two decades and more than 450 episodes.