From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A Marmaduke cartoon from September 13, 2006
Author(s)Brad Anderson (1954–2015)
Phil Leeming (1955–1962)
Dorothy Leeming (1963–1969)
Paul Anderson (2015–present)
Illustrator(s)Brad Anderson (1954–2015)
Paul Anderson (2004–present)
Current status/scheduleActive
Launch dateJune 1954
Syndicate(s)originally John F. Dille Co. / National Newspaper Syndicate (1954–c. 1970)
United Feature Syndicate / United Media (c. 1970–present)
Publisher(s)Ballantine Books

Marmaduke is a newspaper comic strip revolving around the Winslow family and their Great Dane, Marmaduke, and his best friend, a Balinese cat named Carlos, drawn by Brad Anderson from June 1954 to 2015.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The strip was created by Anderson, and sold to the John F. Dille Co. (later known as the National Newspaper Syndicate) in 1954.[2] Anderson said he drew on Laurel and Hardy routines for his ideas.[3] Anderson illustrated the strip, writing it with help from Phil Leeming (1955–1962) and later Dorothy Leeming (1963–1969), and, after August 2, 2004,[citation needed] Anderson's son Paul.

The strip on Sundays also has a side feature called "Dog Gone Funny", in which one or more panels are devoted to dog anecdotes submitted by the fans.

Brad Anderson died on August 30, 2015, at the age of 91,[4][5] leaving the long-term fate of the strip unknown; strips co-drawn with the help of his son, Paul Anderson, continue to be syndicated.


  • Marmaduke – a messy but lovable Great Dane owned by the Winslow family; Marmaduke is a very large example of the breed and has regularly been drawn as apparently measuring 40 inches (102 cm) and upwards at the withers.
  • Carlos – an incomparable Balinese cat who is Marmaduke's best friend
  • Phil – patriarch of the Winslow family
  • Debbie – matriarch of the Winslow family
  • Barbara ("Barbie")[6] – the Winslows' older child
  • Brian (or "Billy")[7] – the Winslows' younger child
  • Mr. and Mrs. Snyder – the Winslows' neighbors[8]
  • King Tut – A Siamese cat, based on Brad Anderson's pet, who is Marmaduke's nemesis[9]


Brad Anderson won the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Newspaper Panel Cartoon in 1978,[10] and the George Arents Pioneer Medal for Syracuse University alumni in 1999.[11]

As of 2015, Marmaduke continues to be widely syndicated,[11] and is popular with readers. Attempts to cancel Marmaduke have drawn protest, such as those by readers of The Toronto Star in 1999,[12] of the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2007,[13] and of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1986.[14]


The strip's longevity and perceived monotony[15] have been noted by satirical publications such as The Onion[16] and have made it the butt of jokes.[12] It has become "a hot source of retro-ironic-subversive humor."[17] For example, a blog called "Joe Mathlete Explains Today's Marmaduke"[18] deconstructs the strip to offer an alternative explanation for what is happening in the drawing.[19][20][15][17] Another blog called "Marmaduke Can Vote" gives each panel a political slant,[21][17] while another called "Poignant Marmaduke" changes all the captions to make the comics sad.[22] Additionally, "The Marmaduke Project" re-imagines Marmaduke in other forms.[23][17]

In his satirical analysis at The Comic Strip Doctor, David Malki of Wondermark ranked Marmaduke among "the worst newspaper comic strips," alongside Heathcliff, Family Circus, and Dennis the Menace.[24]


Animated series[edit]

Ruby-Spears produced Marmaduke segments for the 1980 animated series Heathcliff, whose title character was also based on a comic strip character. In this animated version, the male characters were voiced by Paul Winchell and the females were voiced by Russi Taylor.


A live-action Marmaduke movie, in which the Winslows and their dog move from Kansas to California, was released on June 4, 2010 and received generally negative reviews from critics. The film featured Owen Wilson as the voice of Marmaduke, Lee Pace as Phil Winslow, Judy Greer as Debbie Winslow, Caroline Sunshine as Barbara Winslow, and Finley Jacobsen as Brian Winslow.

It was announced on the Andrews McMeel website that an animated film adaptation of Marmaduke was planned to be released sometime in 2022.[25] The film featured Pete Davidson as Marmaduke, J.K. Simmons as Zeus, Brian Hull as Guy Hilton, Shelby Young as Shantrelle, and David Koechner as Phil Winslow.[25] It was released on Netflix on May 6, 2022 and like the live-action film was panned by critics.[26]


  1. ^ Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-472-11756-7.
  2. ^ Anderson entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Accessed October 14, 2018.
  3. ^ Josephson, Joan (July 12, 2009). "History, Great Dane defy rain at Brocton-Portland festival". Evening Observer. Portland. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (September 8, 2015). "Brad Anderson, Creator of 'Marmaduke,' Dies at 91". New York Times.
  5. ^ Tulloch, Katrina (September 6, 2015). "Syracuse University alum, 'Marmaduke' cartoonist Brad Anderson passes away". Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  6. ^ "August 7, 2016 Marmaduke strip".
  7. ^ "December 14, 2019 Marmaduke strip".
  8. ^ "March 9, 2018 Marmaduke strip".
  9. ^ "10 King Tut Day Comics Featuring Marmaduke's Feline Foe".
  10. ^ Marmaduke, bio at United Feature Syndicate website
  11. ^ a b ARENTS AWARD WINNERS Archived November 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Syracuse University Magazine 1999: "The strip [...] now syndicated in more than 600 newspapers worldwide."
  12. ^ a b Garnet Fraser (February 3, 2008). "Web sites mocking comic strips gain following". The Toronto Star.: "Marmaduke has arguably spent 50 years retelling the same two jokes – Marmaduke is a dog with some human qualities, and Marmaduke is gargantuan – but the Star's attempt to drop it in 1999 sparked a reader revolt."
  13. ^ "FROM YOUR READER ADVOCATE". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. AccessMyLibrary. January 13, 2007.
  14. ^ Our readers show their loyalties, Chicago Sun Times, October 1, 1986
  15. ^ a b Laughing at, not with, the comics, Troy Reimink, Grand Rapids Press: "The daily comic strip strikes me as such a moldy, arcane form of entertainment, based on tired jokes repeated ad nauseam until the end of time. We get it: Garfield likes lasagna. Marmaduke is big."
  16. ^ Some Old Man Still Churning Out Marmaduke, The Onion, March 14, 2008
  17. ^ a b c d Jay Cridlin (October 10, 2006). "Doggone funny at last". St. Petersburg Times. pp. 1E–2E.
  19. ^ NPR Story about Marmaduke Explained: " Let's be clear. No one thinks Marmaduke is funny. [...] However, someone explaining Marmaduke – that's funny."
  20. ^ Hammock, Anne. "The Internet, in real life".
  21. ^ "Marmaduke Can Vote: If Marmaduke Went Political..."
  22. ^ "Poignant Marmaduke".
  23. ^ "Marmaduke Project".
  24. ^ "Wondermark » Archive » The Comic Strip Doctor: Marmaduke".
  25. ^ a b "Marmaduke film set for 2020". Andrews McMeel Universal. January 29, 2019. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  26. ^ "'Marmaduke': Animated Movie with Pete Davidson Coming to Netflix in May 2022". What's on Netflix. April 8, 2022.
  • Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924–1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1.

External links[edit]