Could you name fifty famous cartoon characters off the top of your head? I didn’t think I could … until I got started. I’d wager if you are over 30 years old, you would recognize and know every single one of these characters. For real, every single one. In writing this post I came to realize the sheer volume of cartoon characters that have permanently infiltrated my brain. A famous cartoon character or mascot design seems to have one thing in common: they are incredibly sticky. Like it or not, they invade your head space, and never leave.
If you are like me, some of these characters you grew up with as a kid, others you will have gotten to know and love as an adult. The one’s that made it on this list did so because of their enduring greatness to last beyond mere fad and pull up a permanent place both in popular culture and in our minds. In no particular order, let’s get this started! And naturally, all characters are copyright of their respective owners. Don’t steal them m’kay?
Joyful, vulnerable, lovable. Mickey came into our hearts and minds decades ago and still reigns supreme. He’s like the Jesus of cartoon characters.
Eric Theodore Cartman
Eric showed up in the 90’s and will forever leave us laughing … and emotionally scarred.
Homer made us all feel A-OK about being overweight, gluttonous and idiotic. Thanks buddy.
Popeye showed us that all you need is a heart of gold and you’ll be just fine. A pair of killer pipes don’t hurt either.
Hey smoking is cool! Right? Er … well, it used to be. Thanks Joe.
Mischievous, scheming and adorable. Garfield has had us grinning for years and years.
Yet another vulnerable and lovable icon. Charlie made being neurotic totally cool.
Furry, friendly and gifted at turning a catchy tune.
Feathery, friendly and gifted at the art of escape!
Tom & Jerry
Polar opposites providing some great laughs during their constant fighting.
One of the original cereal icons, Toucan Sam has gone on to grace much more than a cereal box.
You can’t stand in a supermarket checkout line without seeing Archie getting into trouble with the girls.
In 1967, Bill Cosby introduced us to Fat Albert and his friends. They’ve been making us laugh ever since.
Linus van Pelt
Brother of Lucy. Friend and unusually smart sidekick to Charlie Brown. Linus showed us we all need our comfort “thing” in some way, shape or form.
Rocked up in the 1940’s and was one of the original cartoon super stars. Mighty made many things possible for many characters who followed in his footsteps.
Lucy van Pelt
Bossy, crabby and bad tempered. For all her bad vibes, Lucy had a romantic side that would emerge regarding a certain boy called Schroeder.
Introduced in 1963, the Captain has thrived for decades amidst growing competition for our cereal dollars.