Oldest Cartoon Character in History

Oldest Cartoon Character in History

Regardless of how old you are, there’s a good chance that you haven’t lost your childlike sense of wonder when it comes to watching cartoons on television. Several generations of people have grown up loving watching cartoons and reading comic books, and many of us have our own favorite cartoon character. 

In this article, we’re going to look more closely at some of the oldest cartoon characters in history, their origin stories, and if they are still popular today. Let’s get right into it! 

8. Bugs Bunny

Year of creation: 1938
Created by: Ben Hardaway, Cal Dalton, and Charles Thorson
Country of origin: United States of America

Bugs BunnyPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bugs Bunny is one of the funniest and most widely-loved cartoon characters in history. The character used to be voiced by Mel Blanc, but has since been voiced by several other characters in the years that followed.

Bugs Bunny was first featured in the 1940 movie A Wild Hare. The movie was a critical success, and it also marked the first time that Bugs Bunny said his famous catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?”

Did you know?

The Bugs Bunny character has appeared in more than 160 films.

7. Donald Duck

Year of creation: 1934
Created by: The Walt Disney Company
Country of origin: United States of America

Donald DuckPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Donald Duck is another one of the oldest and most famous cartoon characters who was also created by the Disney company. He is widely considered to be among the top 50 most iconic cartoon characters in history! Donald Duck is mostly known for his sailor cap and shirt and his interesting way of speaking. 

The character of Donald Duck has appeared in more than 100 films. His character also has a girlfriend called Daisy Duck, and three nephews named Huey, Louie, and Dewey. 

Did you know?

Donald Duck has appeared in more films and television shows than any other Disney character.

6. Popeye

Year of creation: 1929
Created by: Elzie Crisler Segar
Country of origin: United States of America

PopeyePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Popeye, also referred to as Popeye the Sailor Man was first introduced to the world as a cartoon character in a comic strip called Thimble Theatre. Though the comic had been around for about a decade, the Popeye character was an instant hit, and soon became the leading character in the comic.

Throughout his run in the comic, Popeye’s characterization and storylines changed. At first, he was written to have had a superhuman-like strength; his strength was his main character trait, but later on, it was only one of his notable characteristics. 

Did you know?

Stephen DeStefano is the primary artist who has been drawing Popeye for over 20 years.

5. Mickey Mouse

Year of creation: 1928
Created by: Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks
Country of origin: United States of America

Mickey MousePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t recognized any of the characters on this list yet, there’s a good chance you’ve seen or heard of this one! Mickey Mouse is one of the most widely loved and recognized cartoon characters in the history of animation. He was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, and is widely known for his signature red shorts, white gloves, and bright yellow shoes. 

Mickey Mouse is the Walt Disney Company’s mascot and icon, and has been for several decades. As a mouse, the character of Mickey is known for his high-pitched falsetto voice and short stature. He was originally created to replace a different Disney character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but conflicts as Disney meant that Oswald was removed entirely, and Mickey Mouse remained! 

Did you know? 

Mickey Mouse was originally going to be called Mortimer Mouse, but Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian convinced him to change the name.

4. Bonzo the Dog

Year of creation: 1922
Created by: George Studdy
Country of origin: Britain 

Bonzo the DogPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bonzo the Dog was a popular cartoon character created in the 1920s in Britain. George Studdy created this character after he started working for an illustrated journal called The Sketch. His job was to produce a full-page sketch every week, and Bonzo started to appear in his work regularly. When the first World War broke out, a film company called Gaumont commissioned him to create a series of short films, and Bonzo continued to appear in his sketches. 

This dog’s character was known for his kind and droopy face, his chubby body, and his white fur. His most notable characteristic was his ears, which were used to express his feelings and emotions to the audience. 

Did you know?

Much like Felix the Cat, Bonzo the Dog was widely loved in the UK and all over the world. Bonzo is also considered to be one of the most famous cartoon characters in history.

3. Felix the Cat

Year of creation: 1919
Created by: Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer
Country of origin: United States of America

Felix the CatPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Felix the Cat is another great example of a cartoon character that’s been around for several decades. Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer came up with the idea of him when silent films were all the rage! This cat is also considered to be one of the most easily recognizable cats in the world, thanks to his black body and large white eyes. 

Felix was a popular character in popular culture! Aside from being the main character in a comic book series, he was also prominently featured on different kinds of merchandise like postcards, toys, and even ceramics. 

Did you know? 

While Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer are created with the creation of this iconic cartoon character, no one knows for sure which animator came up with the original sketches first.

2. Fantasmagorie

Year of creation: 1908
Created by: Émile Cohl
Country of origin: France

FantasmagoriePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fantasmagorie is largely considered to be one of the world’s earliest examples of a cartoon character. While Fantasmagorie refers to the name of the animated film, the film itself features the cartoon stick figure of a man who discovers various objects as he goes about his day. 

Aside from the man, the other cartoon characters in the film are a gentleman and a clown. The film was groundbreaking at the time because of its stream-of-consciousness style and the animator’s use of hand-drawn animation. 

Did you know?

The title ‘Fantasmagorie’ refers to the French word phantasmagoria, which was a form of horror theater that involved using lanterns to project images of ghosts by using shadows and puppets.

1. The Katzenjammer Kids

Year of creation: 1897
Created by: Rudolph Dirks
Country of origin: United States of America

The Katzenjammer KidsPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Katzenjammer Kids are probably the oldest cartoon characters to ever exist. Rudolph Dirks was inspired by a German children’s story called Max and Moritz. The original story had a much darker ending than the one Dirks created, where the children in the story were put to death after several pranks! 

In The Katzenjammer Kids, the two main characters are Hans and Fritz, a pair of twin boys that rebel against their parents. The characters in the cartoons all spoke English with German accents, but their dialogue and accents were temporarily changed to Dutch during both World War One and World War Two. 

Did you know? 

The Katzenjammer Kids were an extremely popular cartoon at the time, and lasted for over 40 years in the Sunday paper.


In this article, we walked you through a list of some of the oldest cartoon characters in history. Though you may be familiar with most of the characters on this list, it might have surprised you to learn that some of them have been around for almost a century! Did we leave one of your favorite cartoon characters out? Let us know!

Spread the love

Related Post

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *