Children's Favourite Cartoon Characters

News

Pooja Patel questions tweens and twenty-somethings about their favourite cartoon characters and learns more about what really helps cartoon characters create a mark

 

Now, more than ever before, children worship their favourite cartoon characters. They dress, walk, talk and behave like them. And what's more, the comic characters are so realistic that the situations they are in actually reflect the world we live in, our ideas and our beliefs. The new cartoons and comics are also significantly different from the older lot of characters and there seems to be a clear shift from mythological and magical themes to more scientific and futuristic themes.

The one basic difference between the two generations of cartoon characters is, unfortunately, the loss of innocence and the rise of violence. With new gadgets and gizmos fascinating today's readers, it's not surprising to see cartoon characters flaunting hi-tech guns and gadgets too. The love for action thus seems to have superseded the love for reading.

There is also a difference in how the two generations experience their favourite cartoon characters. As 11-year-old Nisarg Paida, a student of Nutan Vidya Mandir says, "I love watching Ching Chang, Doraemon, Ninza Hathodi. I also watch Tom and Jerry, but only at times. And I don't read comics, it doesn't interest me." But for 28-year-old Assistant Manager Ankur Kesarwani, it was the fascination for reading that got him hooked onto cartoons as a child. He says, "I liked to read all kinds of comics, but those that were simple and had an earthy essence were my favourites. The second choice was anything from comedy to action to drama and thrillers. I liked comics only because of the characters. They were the most fascinating part. I loved action heroes who used their intelligence and presence of mind to win over the crooks and not any kind of super powers."

When we asked other twenty-somethings about the comic character that first comes to mind when they think of their childhood, the answers ranged from Phantom and Mandrake to Suppandi. And though many of the people we spoke to have evolved to start liking Sponge Bob and Bob the Builder too, they have not outgrown their love for their old-time favourites.

One such favourite was Shaktimaan, the most famous superhero of yesteryear. Others include comics like Champak, Chacha Chaudhary and Chandamama, which are some of the oldest comics in India. Children would look forward to every new issue of these comic magazines, but these names don't really attract children anymore.  Today's readers may find the simplicity and earthy essence of these stories boring and slow. Sowbhagya Thantri, an 11-year-old student at Army School says, "I like reading Tinkle and Century comics as they are fun to read. But I am not very fond of Chandamama and similar older comic books because I don't enjoy flipping through them. I find them quite boring. I watch cartoons sometimes though, like Tom and Jerry."

Children today prefer comics that are visually appealing and pages that are glossy and vibrant. However, there is one family of characters that binds both the generations together and this family is from the animation studio of Disney! 20-year-old Reema Shah says, "For me, cartoons meant Chip n Dale, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry and Popeye. Watching Tom and Jerry was always overwhelming."

So what's changed? Why are the old comic heroes not attractive anymore? Daisy D'Souza, a 26-year-old opines, "I feel the difference lies in the way cartoons and comic strips are presented today. 20 years ago, the characters were innocent and every story was moral-based, but now the cartoons are stylish. Readers' attitudes have also changed. Comics today have superior layouts and graphics. The books are colourful and attractive as this is what fascinates today's readers." Clearly, readers are becoming more demanding and as a result, publishers are also working hard to live up to readers' expectations. Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), the iconic comic book series which is available in over 20 languages, also underwent a change. ACK characters and stories are now available on television, the Internet and mobile phones. In fact, ACK comic series are regularly aired on Cartoon Network. Some popular ACK comics were launched on the iPhone last year. And they will soon have iPad versions too! What's more, Suppandi, who has been the most popular character from Tinkle, has been given a makeover. ACK has now launched a separate magazine called Suppandi 48, dedicated to Suppandi's life and trials through the years.

So it seems that remapping the characteristics of the old comic stars to fit into new, complex lifestyles and the hi-tech environment is the only way to keep the old stars alive.

 

KNOW YOUR CARTOON CHARACTERS

- The Katzenjammer Kids created by Rudolph Drinks and drawn by Harold H Knerr is the world's longest running comic strip. It was created in 1897, adapted as a play in 1903 and is distributed internationally to 50 newspapers and magazines.

- Blondie was created by Chic Young in 1930 and was very famous worldwide. It appeared in 2,000 newspapers in 47 countries and has been translated into 35 languages so far.

- TaleSpin was an animated series created by Jymn Magon and Mark Zaslove, which was first aired in 1990. The two words in the show’s name, tale and spin are a way to describe how to tell a story.

- DuckTales, created by Carl Barks and Jymn Magon, was premiered on September 18, 1987 and ended on November 28, 1990 with a total of 4 seasons and 100 episodes. This cartoon series was based on Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge comic book series.

- Chip n Dale are two animated chipmunks created by The Walt Disney Company. They were first aired in 1943 and their names are a pun based on the name 'Chippendale'.

 

WE ASKED ROBINAGE READERS TO NAME FIVE OF THEIR FAVOURITE CARTOON OR COMIC CHARACTERS AND TELL US WHY THEY LIKE THESE CHARACTERS

- Dhruvit Shah, Class 2, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir says,
"My favourite five are Ben10, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Beyblade, Ogi and the Cockroaches, Tom and Jerry and Popeye. I love these characters because they are full of comedy and action."

- Jamila Bharmal, Class 3, M S B Educational Institute says,
"My favourites are Anu Club stories in Tinkle, Ben10 for its adventures and Pokemon for their designs. I sometimes read comics but I like to watch these cartoons because they are adventurous. I love watching different Pokemons and their lovely colours."

- Aman Mavani, Class 4, Arya Vidya Mandir says,
"My favourite five are Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri, Chip n Dale, Tom and Jerry. I don't watch cartoons all the time. I like reading Tinkle because all its stories have a moral and they are funny too. Like Shambhu the Shikari, who is always giving some kind of environmental message."

- Rebecca Soares, Class 4, Jesus and Mary High School says,
"My favourite five are Ben10, Dragon Ball Z, Ching Chang, Tom and Jerry and Powerpuff Girls. I like these characters because they have powers and masti and they help people. I don't read comics at all because I find them very boring. I love watching cartoons as they are very nice, funny and have a lot of action scenes."

- Ferdinand Mergulhao, Class 4, St Paul’s High School says,
"My favourite four are Doraemon, Ching Chang, Kiteretsu and Ben10. I read Tinkle because it is educational, entertaining and funny and I watch cartoons because they are fun."

 

WE ASKED OUR READERS IF THEY KNOW ABOUT SPECIFIC CARTOON CHARACTERS THAT WERE POPULAR IN THE 1970S. HERE'S WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

- Dhruvit Shah, Class 2, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir
Doesn't know about: Mandrake, Phantom and Chacha Chaudhary.
Familiar with: Suppandi and Chip n Dale

- Jamila Bharmal, Class 3, M S B Educational Institute
Doesn't know about: Mandrake, Phantom and Chacha Chaudhary
Familiar with: Suppandi and Chip n Dale

- Aman Mavani, Class 4, Arya Vidya Mandir
Doesn't know about: Mandrake, Phantom and Chacha Chaudhary
Familiar with: Suppandi and Chip 'n Dale

- Rebecca Soares, Class 4, Jesus and Mary High School
Doesn't know about: Mandrake, Phantom, Suppandi, Chip n Dale and Chacha Chaudhary

- Ferdinand Mergulhao, Class 4, St Paul's High School
Doesn't know about: Mandrake and Chacha Chaudhary
Familiar with: Phantom, Suppandi and Chip n Dale

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