Old geezers like Stephen and I who remember the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons, and the most cynical of us will occasionally complain about the fact that there’s no longer any funny violence in animation, nor do the characters get to be as terrible to one another as Tom & Jerry or Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.  Certainly there’s something to be said that cartoons weren’t always AIMED at children, and so the sight of Daffy Duck getting his face blown off was designed to appeal to viewers old and new, whereas today’s cartoons have an expectation that they teach lessons and help the young’ns to be better people and such…

Still, it was funny when they smacked each other about the head, which leads us to today’s rassum-frassum query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) finds ‘Duck Amuck’ to be the best example of a rivalry in the history of the visual medium, asking: Which cartoon character makes the best cartoon adversary of all?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Alisha
    May 4, 2015 at 11:37 am — Reply

    I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Wile E. Coyote. He may never succeed, but he’s persistent and never gives up no matter how many times he loses, gets kerploded or has something heavy fall on him.

    • Ross Bagley
      May 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm — Reply

      I agree with Alisha, but Elmer Fudd makes a close second. Manly because he considers himself the hero, a brave hunter and outdoors man.

  2. Kirby
    May 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    Of the Looney Tunes, Yosemite Sam is easily the best. Out of the recurring adversaries, he was certainly the most versatile. Elmer Fudd was either a hunter or everyman. Marvin was always the invading Martian, and Taz was Taz. Sam however could be a western gunslinger, a Hessian soldier, a Confederate General, a knight, whatever you need. Had Looney Tunes proper survived into the 80s, he would have played Higgins in a Magnum PI parody.

  3. Oldcomicfan
    May 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm — Reply

    As my second choice, I’d have to go with Wile E. Coyote also. He was pretty much The Roadrunner’s only adversary, and even appeared in a few other cartoons as well, and except for one talky that I recall, he did it all without speaking. Plus he always was coming up with the most outlandish schemes that bordered on genius… yet he never seemed to learn from his failures. Bugs had a wide variety of adversaries, including Yosemite Sam, who is my third favorite, Elmer Fudd, that big thing that always wanted to pat him and hug him and hold him and stroke him and I will call him George, as well as Marvin and Daffy Duck – and none of them could carry the show as his sole opponent the way Wile E. Coyote did.

    First place goes to Bluto, who was Popeye’s main adversary from the 1920s to date – and the media that Popeye and Bluto appeared in far outweighs anything done by any of the Warner Brothers characters. Newspapers, comic books, animated cartoons, radio, television, theater, record albums, etc. I’ve heard claims that Popeye ought to be considered the first Superhero, and if that is true, Bluto ought to be considered the first super villain, though aside from having a glass jaw and a head of iron, his only real power was that he was stronger than Popeye up until Popeye opened a can of Spinach.

  4. Shush
    May 4, 2015 at 11:21 pm — Reply

    Cecil Turtle.

    Why, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you! Bugs Bunny is normally implacable and untouchable; 9 times out of 10 the stonewall that his normal adversaries bash themselves against in futility.

    The only character that was always an exception was Cecil Turtle. In the three classic cartoons with Cecil Turtle, Bugs gets his world turned upside down. Cecil turns the tables on the much more famous rabbit, giving the bunny a taste of his own medicine.

    In the new looney toons, Bugs is allowed to triumph at last, but for more than 50 years Cecil Turtle has been Bugs Bunny’s unconquerable nemesis.

    My honorable mention goes to the Road Runner. That dude (dudette?) is Wile E. Coyote’s unbeatable foe, his impossible dream.

    • Alisha
      May 5, 2015 at 10:36 am — Reply

      Did you ever see Cartoon Network’s “The Looney Tunes Show” where Cecil showed up working as a customer service phone operator, or the one where he purposely stood behind Bugs car and tried to claim Bugs broke his shell? I’m not the biggest fan of the series, but those episodes made me crack up so much that I had tears streaming down my face. It was a little different than the old cartoons, but I thought they did a great job of capturing his essence and making him a pain in Bugs backside.
      http://looneytunesshow.wikia.com/wiki/Cecil_Turtle

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