I like my Best 50 Animation Cartoon Ever, Kid’s shows have changed a ton in the 10 years since Glue initially distributed this rundown. Indeed, new episodes of The Simpsons, Family Fellow, South Park and SpongeBob Squarepants are produced every year as expected, however they’re just a glimpse of something larger. Conventional link networks have made previously unheard-of characters and universes in movement, while streaming stages have permitted significantly more makers to make the energized shows they need to make: My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
No longer are cartoons something only for children to enjoy on Saturday mornings. Many employ wittier humor, more complex characters and deeper stories to engage those of any age, while even more target teens or adults as their prime audience, giving them the ability to tell relatable, powerful and hilarious stories within the realm of animation. Western cartoons have never been as varied as they are now, and I believe they have the potential to reach the same cultural status anime took decades ago in Japan.
With the world of cartoons changing so dramatically, we decided it was time to update our list of the top 50 cartoon characters of all time, taking into account the cultural influence, relatability, and relevance these animated humans, animals, vegetables, etc. hold within the realm of animation in the 2020s. Many of these characters have expanded beyond their cartoon origins into other media, but for the purposes of this list, we will only be examining these characters as they appear in cartoons, originating either from the show itself or corresponding comics and books. —Joseph Stanichar
50. Peppa Pig : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Neville Astley and Mark Baker
Voice: Lily Snowden-Fine, Harley Bird
Peppa Pig is geared toward the youngest audience of any character on this list, but the adorable piglet’s British accent and gentle humor have melted the hearts of adults not just in the U.K. but across the pond as well. —Joseph Stanichar
49. Bender (Futurama) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Matt Groening
Voice: John DiMaggio
Made in Mexico, Bender is a sociopath of steel (er, well, iron, titanium, lead, zinc, dolomite and nickel), who has kidnapped Jay Leno’s head and sent his own son to robot hell. But he really just wants to be a folk-singer. —Josh Jackson
48. Beavis & Butt-Head :My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Mike Judge
Voices: Mike Judge
Beavis and Butt-Head made MTV’s lack of music much more palatable. The show managed to both satirize and celebrate the lowest common denominator of the 1990s. Since then, we’ve had another season in 2011 and two more on their way during the ‘20s, ensuring these two doofuses’ influence throughout four decades. —Josh Jackson
47. Larry the Cucumber (Veggie Tales) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki
Voice: Mike Nawrocki
After all the cultural good that Christianity gave us over the last two Millennia, the second half of the 20th century wasn’t exactly a high-water mark. But in the 1990s, Veggie Tales became the exceptional piece of genius pop culture in the typical Christian bookstore. And Larry the Cucumber was the biggest reason why, with his “Silly Songs with Larry” segments being the most popular among both kids of the ‘90s and today in the show’s current iteration, The VeggieTales Show. —Josh Jackson
46. Angelica Pickles (Rugrats): My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Arlene Klasky
Voice: Cheryl Chase
The ultimate spoiled brat alpha child, Angelica Pickles ran the baby Rugrats like her own syndicate. An off-key antagonist who never saw something she couldn’t be jealous of or use for her own motivations, Angelica’s greatest legacy is making viewers realize she doesn’t represent their “terrible” sibling, but more honestly themselves. —Allison Keene
45. Space Ghost (Coast to Coast) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Alex Toth, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera / Mike Lazzo
Voices: George Lowe, C. Martin Croker, Andy Merrill, Don Kennedy
On his own, most probably wouldn’t remember brief Hanna Barbera creation Space Ghost. But thanks to Mike Lazzo, the character was repurposed in the 1990s as the awkward, hostile host of a surrealist talk show that ended up launching careers and inspiring a number of other great series (like Sealab 2021 and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law) that similarly repurposed old Warner IP for our modern amusement. —Allison Keene
44. Johnny Bravo : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Van Partible
Voice: Jeff Bennett
It’s unlikely that a show like Johnny Bravo would be made today. Created right before the realm of adult cartoons really took off, this show was still marketed for kids but let lots of risque humor through under Cartoon Network’s radar. Even though Johnny’s behavior borders on the chauvinistic, the show makes clear that he’s meant to be the opposite of a role model, nearly always suffering some awful fate due to his hubris. Still, his nonsensical pick-up lines are ironically delightful. My favorite one: “Hey pretty mama, wanna see me comb my hair really fast?” —Joseph Stanichar
43. Felix the Cat : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Pat Sullivan, Otto Messmer
Voices: Jack Mercer, various others
Most stars of the silent era didn’t survive the transition to sound, but Felix—who once shared screen-time with Charlie Chaplin—did just fine and remains an icon. —Josh Jackson
42. Cosmo and Wanda (The Fairly Oddparents) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Butch Hartman
Voices: Daran Norris, Susanne Blakeslee
The wacky, impulsive Cosmo and the calm, pragmatic Wanda may seem like a (fairly) odd couple, but given that they’ve been together for 10,000 years, they’re obviously doing something right. The fairy godparents of 10-year-old Timmy Turner, Cosmo and Wanda have the power to grant his every wish, which always inevitably goes wrong. It’s this premise that gave The Fairly Oddparents its fun, lighthearted style in each of its 172 episodes. —Joseph Stanichar
41. Arthur : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Marc Brown
Voices: Michael Yarmush, Roman Lutterotti, various others
Based on Marc Brown’s children’s books, the Arthur TV series has been on the air since 1996. In that time, the aardvark—along with his friends and family—has learned hundreds of lessons about how to “get along with each other,” as the groovy theme song indicates. Arthur and his friends feel like real kids, acting and speaking in ways that actual kids their age do, getting into arguments and misbehaving in ways that other shows might try to censor. The PBS show has also been consistently inclusive with representations of characters with different cultures, identities, disabilities and even diseases such as cancer, in a way that’s respectful while not talking down to kids. —Joseph Stanichar
40. Yogi Bear : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Ed Benedict
Voices: Daws Butler, Greg Burson, various others
He’s smarter than the average bear, but it’s not just cleverness that makes Yogi great. It’s his joyful love of harmless mischief that made every episode a classic. —Josh Jackson
39. Daffy Duck (Looney Tunes) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Tex Avery, Bob Clampett
Voices: Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, various others
Yes, Daffy can himself be “despicable!” but as his enduring popularity shows, he’s endearing all the same. —Josh Jackson
38. Daria Morgendorffer : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Mike Judge, Glenn Eichler
Voice: Tracy Grandstaff
Daria Morgendorffer weathered suburbia under an armor of sublime snark that was essential for any alt girl in the 90s to study. Affecting and entertaining with absurd sidestories and clever social commentary, Daria was so fun to watch. —Julia Askense
37. Ed, Edd & Eddy : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Danny Antonucci
Voices: Matt Hill, Samuel Vincent, Tony Sampson
A cartoonish incarnation of the three stooges, these characters brought simple, stupid slapstick back onto TV, and we couldn’t be more grateful. —Joseph Stanichar
36. Grunkle Stan (Gravity Falls) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Alex Hirsch
Voice: Alex Hirsch
A perfect combination of comedy and mystery, Dipper and Mabel Pines’ great-uncle, aka. “Grunkle” Stanford Pines is a swindler, running a tourist trap named the Mystery Shack and seemingly only interested in robbing people of their money through cheaply made and fraudulently advertised products and attractions. However, as the series progresses, we discover another, more secretive side to the grunkle, with fans discovering an ominous cryptogram in Gravity Falls’ opening theme: “Stan is not what he seems.” —Joseph Stanichar
35. Stewie Griffin (Family Guy) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Seth MacFarlane
Voice: Seth MacFarlane
Other evil geniuses aren’t hampered by their youth, but one-year-old baby Stewie doesn’t let that stop him. Despite, you know, being a year old for over 20 years. —Josh Jackson
34. Popeye : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: E. C. Segar
Voices: William Costello (1933-1935), Jack Mercer (1935-1984), various others
Among the earliest icons of American animation, Popeye the Sailor became instantly beloved thanks to his wacky antics and superhuman strength upon downing a can of spinach. —Joseph Stanichar
33. Phineas and Ferb : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh
Voices: Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster
“Hey Ferb, I know what we’re going to do today,” Phineas says each show before launching into their latest ambitious plan to pass the summer days, whether it’s building a giant tree house that transforms into a giant robot, filming a movie or creating a time machine. And even though the stepbrothers’ grand plans escape the attention of their parents and drive Candace nuts, Phineas and Ferb remain completely guileless. Hard to believe this was on the Disney Channel. —Josh Jackson
32. Garnet (Steven Universe) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Rebecca Sugar
Revealed to be a fusion of two other characters, Ruby and Sapphire, Garnet is the embodiment of empowerment. A manifestation of these characters’ queer relationship, she has both the ability to see into the future and kick serious ass to change it. Nowhere is this as evident as in her fight song, “Made of Love,” in which she taunts her opponent while explaining how her bond is unbreakable. More than any other character in Steven Universe Garnet is completely unafraid to be herself, no matter what others think of her. — Joseph Stanichar
31. Bobby Hill (King of the Hill) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Mike Judge
Voice: Pamela Adlon
Hank might think his boy ain’t right, but he’s just fine by us. We like his self-confidence that doesn’t depend on innate talent or beauty. He’s comfortable in his own skin, and that often makes his daddy uncomfortable. — Josh Jackson
30. Betty Boop : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Max Fleischer, Grim Natwick
Voices: Margie Hines, Mae Questel, various others
Though Betty seems like a product of the Roaring ’20s, it’s important to remember that she was actually the Queen of the Depression Era, a sexy reminder of better times and an avatar for a younger generation. —Josh Jackson
29. She-Ra : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Larry DiTillio, J. Michael Straczynski
Voices: Melendy Britt, Aimee Carrero
Originally designed as a female counterpart to the ’80s cartoon superhero He-Man, She-Ra became a character with her own following and successful TV series, despite its corniness. However, the heroine got an unlikely reboot through Netflix in 2018, telling a much more complex and emotionally resonant story in Princesses of Power that took the likely accidental queer undertones of He-Man’s universe and translated them into intentionally queer-coded characters. — Joseph Stanichar
28. Korra (Avatar: The Legend of Korra) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Voice: Janet Varney
The next Avatar after The Last Airbender’s Aang, Korra represented a slightly older, more mature reincarnation of the master of earth, water, fire and air. Instead of one evil Fire Lord to face off against, Korra spends the entirety of her series fighting to understand and address the problems facing Republic City and the world, while also discovering her own legacy and path. Her final scene in which she holds hands with another female character, Asami, may seem to be an understated form of LGBTQ+ representation when compared to others on this list, but it was an important first step that paved the way for future representation. —Joseph Stanichar
27. Pinky & the Brain (Animaniacs): My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Tom Ruegger
Voices: Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche
Plenty of cartoon characters have had ambitions for world domination, but no one else just wanted to be a benevolent dictator like The Brain. His not-so-reliant sidekick Pinky may cause The Brain constant headaches, but his enthusiasm and loyalty make him impossible not to love. —Josh Jackson
26. Bart Simpson (The Simpsons) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Matt Groening
Voice: Nancy Cartwright
Every principal’s nightmare, this merry prankster’s only two real talents are skateboarding and troublemaking. —Josh Jackson
25. Harley Quinn : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Paul Dini, Bruce Timm
Voices: Arleen Sorkin, Kaley Cuoco, various others
In an unconventional twist, Harley Quinn made her debut not in a comic book, but in the cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series. “In the script she was just an unnamed Joker “hench-wench” w/ no discernible personality,” Joker voice actor Mark Hamill shared recently. “When Arleen began reading her lines in that unforgettable voice so poignant & full of heart I nearly fell off my chair! She brought SO much more than was on the page & a legend was born.” That legend has continued through the villainess’ own adult-oriented series, starting in 2019. — Joseph Stanichar
24. Wile E. Coyote (Looney Tunes): My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese
Voices: Mel Blanc, Seth MacFarlane, various others
Charlie Brown will never kick his football, and Wile E. will never catch the Roadrunner. These are among the first truths learned by any kid in America, even as they’re exposed to the beauties of the Western desert. His clever plans and box of oft-malfunctioning ACME tricks resulted in our favorite coyote falling off cliffs, getting crushed by stones, and at the center of crater-inducing explosions; no cartoon character suffered more for our entertainment. —Josh Jackson
23. Mordecai and Rigby (Regular Show): My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: J.G. Quintel
Voices: J.G. Quintel, William Salyers
“Don’t look at our crotches while we synchronize our watches!” That’s one of many lines from this duo that doesn’t make much more sense within context but is just as enjoyable. The 23-year-old blue jay and racoon have too much time on their hands and fill it by doing increasingly ridiculous and fantastical stunts, often going from mundane hijinks to galaxy-bending sci-fi within each episode. —Joseph Stanichar
22. Scrooge McDuck (DuckTales) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Carl Barks
Voices: Dallas McKennon, Bill Thompson, Alan Young, David Tennant, various others
Scrooge McDuck has appeared in a dizzying number of Disney stories over the years, cementing his icon status as he stole the spotlight from nephew Donald and grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Virulently anti-scallywag, hopelessly misanthropic, often seen diving into his pool of gold, Scrooge is laughing all the way to the bank. —Allison Keene
21. Rick and Morty : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon
Voice: Justin Roiland
Based on a crude animation of Back to the Future’s Marty and Doc, Kayla Cobb described Rick and Morty best when she called it a “never-ending fart joke wrapped around a studied look into nihilism.” The pubescent Morty goes on trips throughout dimensions with his alcoholic, jaded grandfather Rick, who sees himself as an unstoppable force despite his underlying insecurities. Sadly, too many fans get the wrong lessons from Rick, unironically idolizing his toxic behavior. — Joseph Stanichar.
20. Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Loren Bouchard
Voice: Dan Mintz
With her anxious groans and her freaky friend fiction, Tina Belcher encapsulates the confused horny sadness of being a teen. That, plus her compassion and active imagination, often makes her the very heart of the excellent Bob’s Burgers. —Rae Nudson
19. Fred Flintstone (The Flintstones) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Voices: Alan Reed, Jeff Bergman, various others
The patriarch of his modern stone-age family, Fred proved that cartoons weren’t just for kids. Although the original series may seem tame by modern standards (and the Flintstones today are more known for promoting cereal and vitamins) it was among the most risque shows on TV in the ’60s. —Josh Jackson
18. Dr. Doofenshmirtz (Phineas and Ferb) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh
Voice: Dan Povenmire
He may act like an evil scientist, but the truth is that Dr. Doofenshmirtz isn’t actually that bad — or smart. We love his back-story monologues about his childhood in Gimelschtump, Druselstien. We love his ridiculously named devices (the Ugly-Inator, the Age-Acclerator-Inator) and that his nemesis is a platypus. The subtleties of the relationship are pitch-perfect. When Perry busts in on Doofenshmirtz when his blind date is about to arrive, Perry accommodates his rival by pretending to be his pet (“She doesn’t know I have a nemesis”). And most of all, we love his songs. —Josh Jackson
17. Eric Cartman (South Park) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Trey Parker, 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 two-and-a-half decades, he’s been the perfect vehicle for broaching taboos Americans are too terrified to engage in polite conversation. —Josh Jackson
16. Rocky and Bullwinkle (The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Jay Ward, Alex Anderson, Bill Scott
Voice: June Foray, Bill Scott
The animation might not have been fancy, but the scripts were funny as Rocky and Bullwinkle fended off threats from the very Eastern European-sounding Pottsylvania. —Josh Jackson
15. Sterling Archer (Archer) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Adam Reed
Voice: H. Jon Benjamin
James Bond with Mommy issues, Sterling Archer’s crass debauchery made for some of the best transgressive and subversive antics on TV, but only because a surprising compassion would occasionally pop through his narcissistic playboy exterior. And as he’s done in Home Movies, Bob’s Burger’s, Family Guy and so many other animated comedies, H. Jon Benjamin’s performance will constantly have you laughing as Archer casually drinks his way through another misguided spy mission. —Josh Jackson
14. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup (The Powerpuff Girls) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Craig McCracken
Voices: Cathay Cavadini, Tara Strong, E. G. Daily, various others
The ultimate vanguard of “you can be cute and still kick ass,” the funny and fierce Powerpuff Girls arrived on the 90s cartoon scene ready to inspire and delight a generation. No matter who you individually identified with the most, the ultimate lesson was that working together is the strongest play. —Allison Keene
13. Winnie the Pooh : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: A. A. Milne, E. H. Shepard
Voice: Sterling Holloway, Hal Smith, Jim Cummings
Beloved as he was in book form, for many, Winnie-the-Pooh’s Disney adventures are the best remembered iterations of this Silly Ol’ Bear. Beyond his big heart and inherent sweetness, Winnie the Pooh also normalized having an insatiable sweet tooth. — Allison Keene
12. Finn the Human and Jake the Dog (Adventure Time) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Pendleton Ward
Voices: Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio
You just can’t separate this dynamic duo, our two plucky heroes from the Land of Ooo whose humor, pathos, loyalty, and bravery elevated this wonderful, surreal, emotionally-deep series into must-see status for all ages. —Allison Keene
11. BoJack Horseman : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Voice: Will Arnett
Will Arnett’s anthropomorphized, misanthropic horse has one of the most complicated, profound and deeply felt redemption arcs of any TV character in history. He was damaged and caused damage wherever he went, but we could love him even when he didn’t love himself. Never has a cartoon tackled such deep and difficul
10. Steven Universe : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Rebecca Sugar
Voice: Zach Callison
Most cartoon characters never grow up, staying the same youthful age no matter how many seasons their show gets. Not so with Steven Universe. Rebecca Sugar’s titular character grows up almost in real time, acquiring new powers and learning more about himself as the son of a human and magical gem from an alien planet. This is heightened in the sequel series Steven Universe Future, in which the now 16-year-old Steven struggles with mental health issues rarely discussed in cartoons for any age. In a show all about loving yourself for who you are, Steven demonstrates how difficult that can actually be. —Joseph Stanichar
09. Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Voice: Dante Basco
That’s right: Not Aang, but Zuko! Watching Zuko’s first and last episodes, they don’t even seem to be the same character. The former is a stuck-up prince in a ponytail, unable to contain his rage and angst. The latter is a more emotionally intelligent character, embracing his uncle in a teary plea for forgiveness. Yet when watched chronologically, the transformation between the two is seamless. Shaped by both hate and love, Zuko’s story is tragic yet uplifting, creating not only one of the best characters not just in animation, but television as a whole. — Joseph Stanichar
08. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird
Voices: Cam Clarke, Barry Gordon, Rob Paulsen, Townsend Coleman, various others
For the purposes of this list, we’re focusing on the OG crew who became iconic for 90s kids, these radical pizza-eating ninja-style fighters with a rat for a sensei, yet elegantly named after some of history’s greatest artists. It’s impossible to pick a “best” turtle for the list, because it’s all down to individual personality. Together, though, they are essential to pop culture history in all of their forms (including as one of the pinnacles of “the show is for the toy”). — Allison Keene
7. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy RogersScooby-Doo and Shaggy Rogers: My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Joe Ruby, Ken Spears
Voices: Casey Kasem, Don Messick, various others
They never outright state it, but we’re pretty sure there’s something… hallucinogenic in those “Scooby Snacks.” Juxtaposed with the rest of the Scooby Gang, Shaggy and Scoob seem to be pretty useless, eating and lazing about most of the time and screaming in terror when confronted with anything spooky. And yet they’re the easiest to love. Throughout all of Scooby-Doo’s many adaptations, this duo of man and dog remains timeless. —Joseph Stanichar
6. Mickey Mouse : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Walt Disney, Ub Iwerks
Voices: Walt Disney, Bret Iwan, various others
It’s easy to lose sight of the cartoon character Mickey in the shadow of the mascot for the Disney empire. But there might not be a Disney empire but for the charms of an enthusiastic, adventurous mouse. Nearly a century after Disney’s iconic “Steamboat Willie” short, the mouse will likely enter the public domain in 2024. But after kickstarting an unfathomably rich $173 billion empire, that seems more than fair. —Josh Jackson
5. SpongeBob Squarepants : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Stephen Hillenburg
Voice: Tom Kenny
This titular sponge’s nautical nonsense may not be what many kids’ parents wished for, but two decades of being on the air have cemented Tom Kenny’s iconic laugh into the minds of audiences across the globe. Nothing proved this more than when creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away in 2018, igniting a movement to memorialize him at the Super Bowl with the song “Sweet Victory” from one of its best episodes, “Band Geeks.” Fans may have been snubbed there, but Hillenburg’s legacy continues to live on through the naive sponge’s everlasting popularity. —Joseph Stanichar
4. Tom and Jerry : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Voices: William Hanna, various others
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’ childhoods when they grow up alongside the 2014 adaptation of the classic cat-and-mouse hijinks. —Josh Jackson
3. Charlie Brown and Snoopy (Peanuts) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creator: Charles M. Schulz
Voice: Peter Robbins, Bill Melendez, various others
Not every character survived the move from print to the TV screen, but Charlie Brown and his dog Snoopy absolutely came to life through a handful of TV specials and subsequent series. Snoopy’s Red Baron dreams, friendship with Woodstock and crush on Lucy won the hearts of kids, whereas older audiences connected with Charlie. Hapless Charlie Brown is as sympathetic a character as we’ve ever had, real or animated. Unlucky in love, untalented and trusting to a fault—we pull for him, knowing it’s all for naught. —Josh Jackson
2. Homer J. Simpson (The Simpsons) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
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 three-and-a-half decades and over thirty Halloween “Treehouse of Horror” specials, the 30th of which aired as the series’ 666th episode. —Josh Jackson
1. Bugs Bunny (Looney Tunes) : My Best 50 Favorite Cartoon!
Creators: Ben Hardaway, Tex Avery
Voices: Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, various others
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. The familiar face of Warner Bros. only had one flaw: a poor sense of direction (especially when tunneling through New Mexico). — Josh Jackson