Craig McCracken

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Craig McCracken
McCracken in 2012
Born (1971-03-31) March 31, 1971 (age 53)[citation needed]
Occupation(s)Cartoonist, animator, director, writer, producer
Years active1990–present
Known for
(m. 2004)

Craig McCracken[1] (born March 31, 1971)[2][3] is an American cartoonist, animator, director, writer, and producer known for creating the Cartoon Network's The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Disney Channel and Disney XD's Wander Over Yonder, and Netflix's Kid Cosmic.

Regarded as "one of the most successful creators of episodic comedy cartoons",[4] his style was "at the forefront of a second wave of innovative, creator-driven television animation" in the 1990s, along with that of other animators such as Genndy Tartakovsky,[5] and has been credited as "a staple of American modern animated television".[6]

Early life and education[edit]

McCracken was born March 31, 1971,[2][3] in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. He began drawing at an early age. He attended California High School in Whittier, California and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he met his friend and future collaborator, Genndy Tartakovsky. During his first year, he created a series of short cartoons featuring a character named No Neck Joe, which were picked up by Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation.[7][8][9] While at CalArts, he also created a short entitled Whoopass Stew!, which would later become the basis for The Powerpuff Girls.[7][8]


In 1993, McCracken was hired by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons as an art director on the Turner Broadcasting System series 2 Stupid Dogs, alongside Tartakovsky. As his first job in the animation industry, he was "never really happy with how that [show] worked".[10] While McCracken was at Hanna-Barbera, studio president Fred Seibert began a new project: an animation incubator consisting of 48 new cartoons running approximately seven minutes each. Dubbed What a Cartoon!, it motivated McCracken to further develop his Whoopass Girls! creation.[11] He recalled that the network could not market a show with the word "ass" in it, so two of his friends came up with The Powerpuff Girls as a replacement for the original title.[12] His new pilot, "The Powerpuff Girls in: Meat Fuzzy Lumkins", premiered on February 20, 1995, on Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons-In,[13] and a second short, "Crime 101", followed on January 28, 1996. The first short to be picked up by the network was Tartakovsky's Dexter's Laboratory, which McCracken would contribute to in early seasons. McCracken's Powerpuff was the fourth cartoon to be greenlit a full series, which premiered on November 18, 1998, with the final episode airing on March 25, 2005. The show has won Emmy[14] and Annie awards.[15] In 2002, McCracken directed The Powerpuff Girls Movie, a prequel to his series. The film received generally positive reviews but was a box office failure.[16][17]

McCracken and Lauren Faust at the Emmy Awards in 2008

McCracken left The Powerpuff Girls after four seasons, focusing on his next project, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.[7] It premiered with the 90-minute television special "House of Bloo's" on August 13, 2004, on Cartoon Network. He developed the series with wife Lauren Faust and Mike Moon. The show ran for six seasons, all directed by McCracken, and concluded on May 3, 2009. It also won Emmy[18] and Annie awards.[19]

In April 2008, he became executive producer of a new Cartoon Network showcase project called The Cartoonstitute.[20] After 17 years of employment, he resigned from Cartoon Network in 2009, after it shifted focus to live-action and reality shows.[21] He created Wander Over Yonder for Disney Television Animation and Disney Channel in August 2013.[22] After Wander Over Yonder was cancelled, McCracken pitched a new show to Disney, based on his 2009 comic strip The Kid from Planet Earth.[23][24] Disney ultimately passed on the project,[25] and he eventually left the company in 2017.[26] He then pitched his idea to Netflix and it was greenlight under the name of Kid Cosmic. The show premiered on February 2, 2021, and ended on February 3, 2022.[27][28] It is the first of McCracken's original works to have a serialized format and his return to the superhero genre since The Powerpuff Girls.[4][29] He pitched 10 projects to Netflix in August 2021,[30] but eventually left by April 2022 due to mass layoffs at Netflix Animation.[31][32]

On July 18, 2022, it was announced that McCracken began developing reboots of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends at Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. Foster's Home will take form in a pre-school show focused on new characters.[33] In 2023, McCracken received the Winsor McCay Award at the Annie Awards ceremony for his "unparalleled achievement and exceptional contributions to animation".[34] The Hollywood Reporter also named him one of the most powerful people in kids entertainment, in pair with Lauren Faust.[35]

Style and influences[edit]

Since his early years of career, McCracken has chosen to design characters in a simplistic way (as opposed to the realism of Warner Bros. or Disney feature films) because it is more practical for television production, as money and time limits what the animators can do.[36] In addition to this, he claimed that the crew at Hanna-Barbera wanted their shows "to be different than what was on Nick and Disney".[36] Some of his main inspirations were comic book artists such as Charles M. Schulz, Bill Watterson and Hergé.[37] All of his series have had diverse influences in terms of design, comedy and storytelling. To mention some: 1960s Batman, Underdog and Rocky and Bullwinkle in The Powerpuff Girls,[38] The Muppet Show and SpongeBob SquarePants in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (which also has a visual style inspired by 60s psychedelia),[39][40] Yellow Submarine and Looney Tunes in Wander Over Yonder,[41] and Dennis the Menace and The Adventures of Tintin in Kid Cosmic.[42]

During his time at CalArts, he discovered the cartoons of United Productions of America (UPA), which also heavily influenced the visual style of his creations.[37] His shows often present the underdog as the main focus.[37] For example, Kid Cosmic is about a group of "punk rock" characters who "may not have the skill or the talent, but they have the determination and conviction" to create a superhero team.[42] Foster's also revolves around a group of misfit creatures that have been abandoned by their original owners.[39][43] Although the Powerpuff Girls are not typical underdogs, the fact that they are little girls might make people underestimate them as superheroes.[37] He also liked to present "the contrast of cute characters being strong and tough".[44] Although the Powerpuff Girls have been widely regarded as feminist icons, McCracken has claimed that the real background for their creation was finding "a fun idea" or "a cool concept".[44]


Year Title Role
1991 No Neck Joe Creator, director, writer, and animator (made in 1990, copyright date 1991)
1992 Whoopass Stew! Creator, director, writer, and animator
1999 Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip Story
2002 The Powerpuff Girls Movie Creator, director, story, writer, executive producer, storyboard artist, character designer, and character layout
2009 The Powerpuff Girls Rule!!! Creator, Writer, Story, director, executive producer, story editor, storyboard artist, and character designer
Year Title Role
1993–1995 2 Stupid Dogs Art director
1995 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself (Episode: "President's Day Nightmare")
1995–1997 What a Cartoon! Writer, director, and art director
1995–1996 Dumb and Dumber Character designer
1996–2003 Dexter's Laboratory Director,[45] art director, model designer, and storyboard artist
1998–2005 The Powerpuff Girls Creator, story, executive producer, writer, storyboard artist, recording director, and director (1998-2002; 2008)
2004–2009 Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Creator, executive producer, art director, character designer, developer, story, writer, storyboard artist, director, and story editor
2007 Diggs Tailwagger: Galactic Rover Executive creative consultant
Enter Mode 5
2008 Uncle Grandpa Executive producer (Episode: "Pilot")
2009 Chowder Story and storyboard artist (Episode: "The Birthday Suits")
Regular Show Executive producer (Episode: "Pilot")
2013–2016 Wander Over Yonder[46] Creator, writer, storyboard artist (2013), director (2013), story, character designer, executive producer, and additional voices
2021–2022 Kid Cosmic Creator, executive producer, story, writer, storyboard artist, character designer, director

Personal life[edit]

McCracken married animator Lauren Faust on March 13, 2004. Faust took maternity leave in mid-2016 to take care of their newborn daughter, Quinn.[47]


  1. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (April 10, 2024). "My middle name's not Douglas, I'll tell you that" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b @TheCartoonBase (March 31, 2024). "Happy 53rd Birthday to the talented Craig McCracken. What's your favorite series from the creator?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (April 1, 2023). "Thank you for all the happy birthday well wishes. Winding the evening down watching classic CN cartoons, like Chowder which was recently discovered by our daughter. Her mom, @Fyre_flye are so proud!" (Tweet) – via Twitter. {{Cite tweet}}: |date= / |number= mismatch (help)
  4. ^ a b Baron, Reuben (January 20, 2021). "The Powerpuff Girls' Craig McCracken Talks Entering the Streaming Age With Kid Cosmic". Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  5. ^ Lloyd, Robert (February 2, 2020). "At Netflix, 'Powerpuff Girls' creator savors freedom: 'We can do this now?'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  6. ^ Maher, John (February 2, 2021). "Two Decades After The Powerpuff Girls, a New Superpowered Kid Learns Some Big Lessons". Vulture. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c The Powerpuff Girls: Who, What, Where, How, Why... Who Cares?. 2009.
  8. ^ a b Lenburg, Jeff (2006). Who's Who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-winning and Legendary Animators. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 231. ISBN 978-1-55783-671-7. Retrieved May 31, 2011. tartakovsky calarts.
  9. ^ "Spike and Mike's – A Brief History". July 3, 2011. Archived from the original on July 3, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  10. ^ Plume, Ken (June 26, 2002). "10 Questions: Craig McCracken". IGN. Archived from the original on August 4, 2002. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Animator Profile: 'CRAIG McCracken'". Archived from the original on March 10, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
  12. ^ Rawson, Christopher (November 14, 1998). "Three tough sisters". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 60. Archived from the original on March 4, 2022. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  13. ^ Winfrey, Lee (December 27, 1994). "From Hanna-barbera, 8 New Cartoons For Cable The Cartoon Network's New Stable Of Stars Includes Two Ducks, Two Bears, And Even Dino Of "Flintstones" Fame". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  14. ^ "The Powerpuff Girls |". Archived from the original on October 17, 2022. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  15. ^ "29th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2001)". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  16. ^ Longino, Bob. "The Powerpuff Girls Movie". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  17. ^ Gray, Brandon (July 8, 2002). "Same weekend. New record. 'Men in Black 2' Bags $87 Million Over Fourth of July Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends |". Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  19. ^ "34th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2006)". Archived from the original on January 29, 2009. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  20. ^ "Cartoon Network bows the Cartoonstitute: A 'think tank' for animators". Variety. April 8, 2008. Archived from the original on April 4, 2022. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  21. ^ Flint, Joe (August 17, 2009). "Gambling on live action". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 4, 2022. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  22. ^ Connelley, Brendon (March 13, 2012). "Wander Over Yonder Coming to TV – The New Project from Powerpuff Creator Craig McCracken". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  23. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (February 3, 2022). "2015- After Wander Over Yonder was cancelled @FrankAngones @Fyre_flye @andybeanmusic @ownerofwendys @skulptduggery Justin Nichols & I started working on what was then called "The Kid from Planet Earth" for Disney TVA." (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 3, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Craig McCracken: Creating Kid Cosmic! (Teaser). What's In My Head Podcast. September 4, 2021. Archived from the original on May 2, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (February 3, 2022). "After two years of development & a final pilot animatic Disney said no & passed on the project" (Tweet). Archived from the original on February 3, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (November 7, 2018). "@angelleivaa @nickandmore Nope, I left Disney about a year ago" (Tweet). Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ "Craig McCracken's 'Kid Cosmic' Premieres February 2 on Netflix". Animation World Network. January 5, 2021. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  28. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (January 14, 2022). "#KidCosmic Season 3 premieres Feb 3rd on @netflix. These last 6 episodes are the final chapter in Kid's story of finally becoming the Global Hero he always dreamed he could be!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on January 14, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  29. ^ Zahed, Ramin (January 5, 2021). "Close Encounters of the Retro Kind: Craig McCracken Discusses His New Show 'Kid Cosmic'". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2021. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  30. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (August 11, 2021). "@FrankAngones @bibbymoynihan Then you'll really like one of the 10 new projects I'm pitching to Netflix tomorrow!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on August 11, 2021. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  31. ^ Taylor, Drew (April 20, 2022). "Netflix Animation Erased: Executives Fired, Shows Canceled and Accusations of 'Staged Data' (Exclusive)". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on October 17, 2022. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  32. ^ McCracken, Craig [@CrackMcCraigen] (April 24, 2022). "@mexopolis @kikutowne Incredibly well said. This is a great sentiment to take with me as I wrap my last official week there" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 24, 2022. Retrieved May 8, 2022 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ Petski, Denise (July 18, 2022). "'Powerpuff Girls' & 'Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends' Animated Series Reboots From Craig McCracken In Works At Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 18, 2022. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  34. ^ "Annie Awards - Nominations". Annie Awards. ASIFA-Hollywood. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  35. ^ Sancton, Julian, ed. (June 8, 2023). "The 75 Most Powerful People in Kids' Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  36. ^ a b Murray, Joe (2010). "Q&A with Craig McCracken". Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short Film (PDF). Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 106–109. ISBN 9780823033072.
  37. ^ a b c d "Craig McCracken on Creativity". Animation Obsessive. May 1, 2023. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  38. ^ McDonough, Kevin (June 30, 2002). "POWERPUFF GIRLS". Newsday. p. D18 (141). Retrieved September 5, 2023 – via
  39. ^ a b Press, Joy (August 15, 2004). "Television; The Retirement Home for Imaginary Friends". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  40. ^ Renata, Gonzáles (September 13, 2004). "Cambia a las Chicas por un 'amigo'". Reforma (in Spanish). Grupo Reforma. p. 1. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  41. ^ Zahed, Ramin (September 13, 2013). "McCracken's 'Wander Over Yonder' Premieres Tonight". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  42. ^ a b Fay, Kim (March 1, 2021). "Cosmic Cartooning". Keyframe. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  43. ^ Lloyd, Robert (February 2, 2021). "'Powerpuff Girls' creator breaks down 'Kid Cosmic' on Netflix". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  44. ^ a b Rosenfeld, Megan (December 26, 2000). "Powerpuff Girls: Good Guise, Bad Guys". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  45. ^ "Dexter's Laboratory Credits". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  46. ^ "Disney's 2012–13 TV Schedule Presented to Advertisers". Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  47. ^ "Episode 18: Lauren Faust", Nick Animation Podcast, September 9, 2016, archived from the original on December 22, 2021, retrieved September 12, 2016, My daughter's only three months old, so I'm still on my leave, so I'm... just... usually... all day, taking care of the baby. I kinda love it.

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