|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2012)|
Disney's Pluto consistently exhibits dog-like behaviors, like digging, barking, and chewing bones. Funny animals like Goofy, however, behave more like humans. They often walk upright, wear clothes, hold jobs, etc. While other characters acknowledge that Goofy is a dog, he is still treated as if he were human.
|This topic covers comics that fall under various genres.|
Funny animal is a genre of comics and animated cartoons in which the main characters are animals who live as humans, also referred to themselves as "funny animals". Funny animals are typically bipedal, wear clothes, live in houses, drive vehicles, and have jobs, which distinguish them from other animal cartoon characters who nonetheless display anthropomorphic characteristics such as speaking in human language or displaying facial expressions.
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 anthropomorphics 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 entertainment, and satire.
The funny animal genre evolved in the 1920s and 1930s, at a time when blackface became taboo and 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, 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 such as Huckleberry Hound, Pixie and Dixie, Yogi Bear, Hokey Wolf, Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Snooper and Blabber, Loopy De Loop, Snagglepuss, Yakky Doodle, Top Cat, Wally Gator, Touché Turtle, Lippy the Lion & Hardy Har Har, Magilla Gorilla, Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse, Ricochet Rabbit & Droop-a-Long, Peter Potamus & So-So Monkey, Breezly and Sneezly, Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey, Atom Ant, The Hillbilly Bears, Secret Squirrel, Squiddly Diddly, Cattanooga Cats, Motormouse and Autocat and It's the Wolf!. Jay Ward Productions also produced Rocky and His Friends (also known as The Bullwinkle Show or The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show), a series starring a flying squirrel named Rocky and his incompentent moose sidekick and best friend, Bullwinkle J. Moose. The series was a representative of the genre (albeit with much stronger Cold War overtones than the shows of Hanna-Barbera exhibited).
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. 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 Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi). The subsequent years also had numerous successful animated feature film franchises that featured funny animal characters like DreamWorks Animation's Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Animators have created increasingly more unusual examples of funny animals in this era, including Perry the Platypus (from Disney's Phineas and Ferb), Dudley Puppy (from Nickelodeon's T.U.F.F. Puppy), Mordecai and Rigby (from Cartoon Network's Regular Show), Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (from the Disney's TV series of the same name), SpongeBob SquarePants (from the Nickelodeon's TV series of the same name) and The Watterson Family (from Cartoon Network's The Amazing World of Gumball).
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. 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.
Comic strips have long been an outlet for funny animal characters. U.S. Acres is a popular comic strip (that originally ran in newpeapers from 1986 to 1989 from 1986 to 1989 and currently in reruns as webcomic) featuring a group of a group of barnyard funny animals, with the main character being Orson, a pig. Krazy Kat was a popular early comic strip featuring the titular cat and its companionship with a mouse named Ignatz. Snoopy, from the Peanuts comic strip, was frequently used as comic relief.
- American comic book
- Furry fandom
- List of anthropomorphic animal superheroes
- Golden Age of American animation
- Markstein, Don. "Toonopedia: Funny Animal". Retrieved 2006-12-27.
- Williams, P. and Lyons, J. (2010), The Rise of the American Comics Artist: Creators and Contexts, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 9781604737929
- Meskin, A. and Cook, R.T. and Ellis, W. (2011), The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 9781444354829
- Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels, ISBN 9780313357473
- Reading Room Index Guide Screen: Funny Animal - a list of funny animal comics, hosted by Michigan State University's library