There are many different types of characters that can be found in comics but one of the most popular group of characters are those that can make people laugh. With comics having a huge younger audience the ability to bring a smile to people’s faces has always been a priority for comic writers. Whether the characters are based on real people, or whether they stand out on their own, the comic book environment gives the writers the opportunity to pen stories that can be even more surreal than the ones that occur in real life.
One of the most popular television cartoons in the 1960’s and 1970’s was Top Cat. This cartoon appeared in the Dell and Charlton Comics between 1961 until 1973. The characters were based on characters from the 1940’s series the East Street Kids, and the 1950’ military comedy The Phil Silvers Show. The lead character Top Cat, was a mirror image of Phil Silvers Master Sergeant Bilko who was basically a loveable conman. Just as Bilko gave Colonel John.T. Hall the run around, so Top Cat did the same with the precinct policeman officer Dibble.
Both characters lead a gang with top cat’s main ally Benny the Ball playing a similar role as private Duan Dobberman did in the Phil Silvers Show. In fact, the voice for Benny the Ball was the voice of actor Maurice Gosfoeld who played the role of Dobberman. Another cartoon series with a close link with a real live television comedian was Wacky Races. Produced by Gold Key comic books in 1969 the series has been revamped in 2016 by DC comics and is now called Wacky Raceland. The cartoon was originally based on the comedy film “The Great Race”. The main character was Dick Dastardly which was partly based on English actor Terry Thomas, plus that of professor Fate, a comic villain played by Jack Lemmon in the original film.
Dastardly was an upper-class rogue, or a rotter. His schemes were always based on racing ahead of his opponents and then leaving crafty traps that would slow his opponents down. On most occasions justice prevailed with his tactics back firing leaving him in last place. The Flintstones have been in comic books since they first appeared in Charlton Press in 1970. Today they feature in DC comics having first appeared in 1997. They have been voted the second most popular ever cartoon on television ever after the Simpsons. The series takes place in the stone-age and covers the adventures of the Flintstone family with their next-door neighbours the Rubbles.
The main character is the hapless Fred Flintstone. He is very accident prone, but loveable, and his famous catch phrase is “Yabba dabba doo”. His character is based on Ralph Cramden from the Honeymooners played by Jackie Gleason. Cramden is a bus driver from New York who frustrated by his lack of success, regularly comes up with get-rich-quick schemes which tend to fail. In fact, the Flintstones is based around the Honeymooners. Although the shows were in totally different eras the Honeymooners were the basis for The Flintstones to be written.
Comic book characters have produced many hilarious characters over the years. The most successful of these have been more commonly recognized on television screens but they have been serialized regularly in comics. There has even times when the bravest of superhero has shown their funny side.