Animal Crackers (comic strip)

Animal Crackers is the title of several syndicated newspaper comics over the years. The first was a 1930 comic strip signed by an artist known simply as Lane.

The second Animal Crackers was a cartoon panel by Dick Ryan and Warren Goodrich (1913–2002) that was published intermittently from 1936 through 1952.[1] In some papers it ran as Animal Krackers.

The third began on April 1, 1968[1] and continues today, distributed by Tribune Content Agency[2] and appearing on Andrews McMeel Universal's GoComics, which is run by Universal Uclick.

Animal Crackers (1936–1952) edit

Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers cartoonist Warren Goodrich was best known for this single drawing, The Little Man, which he devised in 1942 for movie ratings in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Author(s)Dick Ryan
Illustrator(s)Warren Goodrich
Current status/scheduleRunning daily gag panel
Launch dateJanuary 27, 1936
End date1952
Alternate name(s)Animal Krackers
Syndicate(s)Chicago Sun-Times Syndicate

The San Francisco Chronicle described Animal Crackers as a "snappy little one-frame strip [that] featured a variety of animal life dealing with various silly situations of a human nature" and as a comic panel "which went on to acclaim in syndication."[3] The San Francisco Chronicle printed the comic panel on its front page next to the weather report.[4] Animal Crackers was syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times[4] to over 100 papers.[5]

Goodrich recalled about the strip, "I used animals to relate human foibles with a little twist. Sometimes it would work, and sometimes it wouldn't. It seems the funny things are just short of tragic."[6]

In later years, Goodrich drew a spin-off cartoon series, Creatures, collected in the book Creatures Or Not So Dumb Animals (Eden East Press, 2001). Although Goodrich drew his animal cartoons for years and then wrote newspaper columns ("Travelin' Man") and several books (An Artist's Life), his lasting fame came with a single drawing, "The Little Man," which he drew in 1942. Used alongside San Francisco Chronicle film reviews as a movie rating system, this Goodrich device was praised by Roger Ebert,[7] Gerald Nachman,[8] Austin Kleon,[9] and other writers.

Animal Crackers (1968–present) edit

Animal Crackers
Author(s)Mike Osbun (2009–present) [10]
Illustrator(s)Roger Bollen (1967–1994)
Fred Wagner (1994–2016)
Mike Osbun (2016–present)
Current status/scheduleRunning daily gag panel
Launch dateApril 1, 1968[1]
Syndicate(s)Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate

Publication history edit

Roger Bollen drew the strip 1967 to 1994, and then Fred Wagner took over until his death in 2016. The strip is now drawn by long-time Animal Crackers writer, Mike Osbun.[11] It features a group of animals who live in a fictional jungle called Freeborn. This strip was adapted into a Canadian animated television series in 1997.

Characters and story edit

  • Lyle Lion — passive, insecure, and a mama's boy, Lyle Lion is not what one might call "King of the Jungle". He's more (of a Prince who is trying to be king and) intent on talking philosophy and ordering a pizza (preferably vegetarian) than be the dominant predator. His number one goal in life is to date Lana, being very persistent about it despite the multiple failed attempts; outside of that, his other goal is to be an astronomer. From the show, it is believed that he is left-handed.
  • Dodo — he is the last remaining dodo alive, and is Lyle's best friend. Rash, impatient, and slightly self-centered, he is extremely hot-headed and refuses to believe that he lacks the ability to fly. This leads to multiple failed attempts to take flight, sometimes using some very innovative yet unusual techniques.
  • Eugene — despite his size and nature, this pachyderm is really an "overgrown baby" who craves attention. He is rather arrogant and obnoxious and is not afraid to bully others with his size and strength to get what he wants. Some of his secret pleasures include inhaling loads of peanut butter and stomping petunias, but the sight of a tiny mouse will usually give him a fit.
  • Gnu — for a "supposed" leader of a herd, Gnu lacks any leadership qualities; rather, his traits show the exact opposite of a leader: lazy, timid, no sense of direction. Despite his nature, Gnu does mean well and is very dedicated to his herd, even though his presence there will hinder rather than help. He is also a caring parent, as he is a single father who has one son that he loves very much.
  • Lana — she is smart, attractive, strong minded, and the object of Lyle's affection. Lana is quite caring towards her fellow inhabitants of Freeborn, and will put the group ahead of herself. She is also an avid book lover, often found with her nose in a novel. Despite showing little to no interest in Lyle's pursuits, it has been hinted that perhaps she does have a crush on him; but only Lana knows the answer to that question, and her lips are sealed.

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 56. ISBN 9780472117567.
  2. ^ "Animal Crackers by Mike Osbun". Tribune Content Agency.
  3. ^ Adolphson, Sue (August 23, 1992). "The Golden Boy: The Chronicle's Little Man Turns 50". The San Francisco Chronicle. Sunday Datebook, Pg. 18
  4. ^ a b (January 30, 2002). "Warren Goodrich, co-founder of the Los Altos Town Crier, dies at 88 Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine". Los Altos Town Crier.
  5. ^ Cloutman, Elizabeth. "Does the name Warren Goodrich ring a bell?" Los Altos Town Crier, November 14, 2001. Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Kennedy, Natalie. "Talent, humor lead Travelin Man down road of success," The Wellsboro Gazette and Free Press-Courier, March 25, 1992.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. "You give out too many stars," Chicago Sun-Times, September 14, 2008. Archived February 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Little Man's blush is back," by Gerald Nachman, San Francisco Chronicle, November 16, 2003.
  9. ^ Kleon, Austin. "The Little Man," Austin Kleon Blog, September 19, 2008. Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "About Mike Osbun". Tribune Content Agency. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  11. ^ Inman, Jessica. "Fred Wagner: Syndicated cartoonist dreamt of painting". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 16 February 2018.

Sources consulted edit

External links edit