Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mutant Cartoon Creatures From the Netherworld

Here are a pair of decent regular funny animal characters from the Golden Age of Children's Entertainment. Looks completely normal and acceptable, doesn't it?


When I was a kid I read just about all the funny books -as long as they were based on preposterous ideas that no one in their right mind should accept -
like

Men In Long Underwear who beat the crap out of each other while the police stand by and allow it:
Animals who walked and talked but wore some human clothing - even when they didn't always cover up the dirty parts:What I couldn't tolerate at all were realistic comics about people who did things that could actually happen. I considered this kind of thing an abuse against kids and their meagre pocket change that they stole out of their Dad's church jacket at great risk to their tender hides.
Unrealistic humans were good. Especially if there were obvious impossibilities in their designs-like dot eyes and eyebrows that grow on top of their skull hair.

Dead cartoon humans were OK too.
I'd even accept mixing cartoon humans with cartoon animals, but there was one cartoon tradition that I had a real hard time with - and I was pretty open minded about preposterous ideas.

THE DOG NOSE ON HUMANS OFFENCE



For some reason, even though I demanded nonsense in my funny books, something about this tradition unsettled my stomach.
Are these funny animals? Or depraved mutated humans?
Here, a genetic monster tries to murder a genuine pantless cartoon character. These fleshy human creatures wore clothes on all their body, not just in the odd place like decent funny anmals.
Some of these dog nose mutants even had realistic age-related wrinkles and loose jowls.

Their bitches were extra frightening.

There were different stages of animal-human hybrids created from unholy stem-cell research. Some just had one animal part - the dog nose. Some also had dog-like ears, while many had human ears to accompany the dog nose. Were there rules for this?

How do you decide when the human ear is appropriate and when it's more logical to add the dog ears to the human face?



Humans with Pig faces also lived among the dog nose people.They seem even more evil and loathsome than their canine counterparts.
Natives also came with partial animal anatomy.




In these worlds we had funny animals that walked and talked, humans with animal parts that walked and talked, but we also had the kind of animals we are used to in real life - dumb animals that don't read and write or talk or walk on their hind legs.


I am dying to know how old time cartoonists decided which creatures were allowed the gifts of intelligence, opposable thumbs or pants. Talk about playing God! Every cartoonist has as much power as the Almighty in making arbitrary decisions about which of his creatures get the good or bad end of the stick.
Can anyone explain why this existed? The only thing I can come up with is that conservative cartoonists felt a bit guilty about drawing regular funny animals that walked and talked (because that makes no sense) - but their jobs demanded it. Donald, Mickey, Bugs and all the animated cartoon stars were very cartoony and easy for the audience to suspend their disbelief, but maybe not so easy for the more conservative of the comic artists - so when they got to create their own incidental characters from scratch, they naturally drew more "realistic" and sensible humans in clothing - but then - so as not to alert Walt to it - at the last second, they would paste a dog nose or pig snout onto the human to trick their bosses into thinking that these were also funny animals that matched the style of the popular star characters.

It's probably more likely that it was unconscious conservative auto-pilot drawing, never realizing how much more bizarre half-way cartoon characters are.

The reason I suspect conservatism as the culprit is that if it wasn't, there would be many funny variations on the idea.

How about a realistic dog that stands on his hind legs but has a human nose?

Or a man with Crab eyes? A filter-feeding flesh colored shark that walks on realistic human legs with no pants, but a tuxedo jacket and a duck beak on top of his head?

How about an eel in a Burka? I mean, this could go on and on. It has limitless potential for fun.
There are actually even weirder versions of dog nosed creatures in especially the Barks comics, and I'll have to dig some up to scare you with - the way I was scared when I was an impressionable little boy.

This tradition really creeped me out as a kid, but I've come to accept it as an adult and intend to bring it back in all its former glory - and then to take it to more extreme lengths of outrage against the senses.

66 comments:

Moro Rogers said...

Hmm...I love Dr. Seuss, but when I was younger it bothered me when he put stubby little mammalian noses on fish and reptiles, too. (But then, I always preferred the clean, spare lines of our cold-blooded brethren. Hair is a distraction and it's frequently dirty and matted.)
I think maybe dog snouts are intrinsically unappealing. They're black and wet and spongy. It's bad enough when it's attached to a dog.

Trevor Thompson said...

Or a man with Crab eyes? A filter-feeding flesh colored shark that walks on realistic human legs with no pants, but a tuxedo jacket and a duck beak on top of his head?



Sounds like something Vincent Waller would doodle during a story meeting.

Great post, John!

- trevor.

Elana Pritchard said...

Maybe it's an Animal Farm thing

ted said...

Great post! These unholy creations always bothered me too. The Beagle boys in Duckburg were far too reminiscent of real creatures. One could almost imagine their hot breath on your neck as they bound and gagged you to purloin your most precious possesions!
I think these designs have less to do with conservatism, and more to do with audience participation. As kids, we instantly related to Donald and the boys, or Mickey, or Casper, or any of the other main characters in cartoony comics, because of their cute, childlike proportions. They were basically us!
But if you wanted to create a villain in a story, all you need was an adult! These saggy, stubbly, uptight giants were always ruining our fun, so it was the next logical step to have them be the heavies in a kids comic book! Just slap a vaguely animalistic nose on a regular adult and Whammo! Instant unrelatability! And unrelatable characters make great villains.

Drew said...

I've always wondered about this myself and look forward to hearing any possible answers here. In my mind, Duckberg was constructed on an species-related hierarchy, with the white waterfowl on top and the humanodogs being a servant class, hence Duckworth's role as a butler.

Curiously enough, when Disney spun Darkwing Duck off from Ducktales, the designers eliminated the humanodogs and put more canine-looking dogs in their place.

J Hobart B said...

Someone (can't remember if it was someone I spoke to or if they wrote about it and I read it) pointed out that there is a species-based class system in Duckburg.

The ducks, for the most part, are the upper-class bourgeoise, while dogs are lower-class citizens (criminals, butlers, etc). Pigs usually just show up in crowds, suggesting they are simply the average, boring "common man."

None of this explains the combination of human and animal features of course, nor is there really any indication of why this system was put in place to begin with, but I find it kind of interesting.

M. R Darbyshire said...

Men In Long Underwear who beat the crap out of each other while the police stand by and allow it:

You forgot the verb.



back to reading---

Evan said...

something always creeped me out about dog noses on people too. like the beagle boys on duck tales. creepy.

Cartoon Crank said...

My favorite: those duck things with earlobes!

Zoran Taylor said...

I think my natural instinct has always been to note the relative crazyness of something only when it IS truly crazy. An interstitial smattering of "normal" situations won't bug me. As long the EXECUTION of the ideas is consistently cartoony, I don't feel betrayed.

Case in point: one of my very favorite R&S episodes is "Stimpy's Fan Club". There is virtually nothing "truly" cartoony about it. Consider:

*The plot revolves around around an upsetting realization (Ren has no fanmail, Stimpy has bags full of it), a menial task (sitting at a desk writing responses), a dark urge (To kill Stimpy), and another emotional realization (Stimpy wrote Ren a beautiful compliment). The most unreal thing about all this is the amount of mail that arrives at one time - R&S are famous, so the TOTAL amount of mail, even as it floods the house, is not only not exaggerated but probably understated!

*Jealousy leads to violence every day in real life. Ren goes to an extreme SLIGHTLY faster than a sane person usually would. And he doesn't even actually do it. Many people do.

*Ren wants Stimpy to kill him, but doesn't realize he handed him a rubber knife. Unrealistic? Generally, yes. But how many nearsighted, bipolar and/or stupid people do you know? Think about it.

*Oh, wait - Ren BLOWS UP HALF OF THE EARTH!!!
No, hang on....he only IMAGINES himself doing that.
Dammit!

From an objective point of view, this would be a disappointing cartoon. But no one watching it could EVER be in doubt about it's cartooniness. Ren's Kafka-esque shape-shifting in the night is only one example. A really anal aesthetic definition of a cartoon does not fit "Stimpy's Fan Club". In film nerd terms, it's really more like further-elevated magical-expressionist realism.

A betrayal? Um, I'm gonna saaayyy.....NO!!!!!

Adam T said...

I am dying to know how old time cartoonists decided which creatures were allowed the gifts of intelligence, opposable thumbs or pants. Talk about playing God! Every cartoonist has as much power as the Almighty in making arbitrary decisions about which of his creatures get the good or bad end of the stick.

This reminds me of the great Pluto-Goofy debate. Why did Goofy get to wear pants and a vest and have the ability to talk while Pluto had to walk on all fours and wear a collar?

My theory is Mickey was behind it by gaining popularity early and using it in a hostile power grab of the Disney universe. All other Disney characters could only then exist to serve his whims. He needed a comical goof to entertain him and a loyal not too bright friend to endure his abuses. He didn't take species into concern when making up their roles. They are all a part of his game.

He's like the Kim Jong-Il of cartoons. In fact he's so twisted and depraved he actually cloned himself and forced his clone to wear a skirt and bow and used 'her' to satisfy his own vile perversions.

Do a post about that! Cartoon girlfriends looking like their male counterparts. That's far more disturbing than dog nosed people.

Jesse said...

John, that was a hilarious post. I'm a huge fan of Barks' comics and have always wondered the same thing. I think the comment by "ted" is a pretty good theory

Rick Roberts said...

I am not bothered by it at all because the combination of human and dog is so simple.

M. R Darbyshire said...

Even when the parahumans are making a facial expression, their faces look blank. Imagining them with human noses makes them look more emotional.

BTW, here's the wikipedia article for these freaks, whom some people take very seriously:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parahuman

Shawn said...

Man dogs and man hogs!

I remember having a specific Donald Duck comic when I was a kid where Donald and his nephews bought a restaurant, and one of the extra characters in the background was a duck--or bird--with human bodily proportions and one HUMAN EAR drawn on the side of his head! The ear was even colored white, as if it was a human ear with feathers. I could never figure that one out...did the artist forget what he was drawing halfway through? I wouldn't have minded so much if it was drawn just for weird sake, but this was obviously just plain ignorance. Even at the age of seven, I was pissed off at the artist for making such an idiotic mistake.

Drawn said...

When Barks mixed ducks with real humans (no dog noses) in "Dangerous Disguise" (1951), his art director at Western Carl Buettner didn't like it. So no more people in duck comics. Too bad. Barks had a great talent for drawing odd, interesting humans. The types are clichés, but the execution is real fun understated weirdness. Have a look at his more polished Calgary Eye-opener stuff. (you can see it in walk-on parts in the duck comics too, or have a look at the last panel of "Big top bedlam").

Ambassador MAGMA said...

cross-breeding

Christine Gerardi said...

I think Goofy is largely to blame for the dog-nose-on-human thing. Because he was supposedly a dog, but he wasn't a dog.

Ryan said...

It's not just Duckburg. Check out this Flip The Frog cartoon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeNZkNgOY0

And it's not like it's a realistic dog nose. It's a black ball. So I think it helps that black balls are easier to draw than human noses.

Lex said...

What kind of self-respecting Canadian are you? Dog-nosed people are a proud part of our cartoon heritage.

Chris_Garrison said...

I always guessed that the many dogs in Duckberg were born from time constraints on the artists. It's takes extra time to decide, in a street scene, who's a giraffe, who's a snake, who's a leopard, etc. So they said, let's just get it over with and make most of them dogs. That's just how I imagined it.

Giving them flesh-tone fur and human ears goes from the lazy to the just plain wrong.

Kerssido said...

I think it's the whole Uncanny Valley thing. They look too human, but they also don't look human. That' why Donald Duck is cute, but the duck in the Howard the Duck movie is extremely creepy.

Bobby Vardar said...

What Ted said - the protagonists are anthropomorphic animals while the villains are human adults with just enough animal features not to break the internal logic.

Is this why Goofy is nobody's favourite Disney character?

Sock said...

I'm not so sure about the "underclass" theory. At least, I don't think it was consistent. I remember many times in the Uncle Scrooge comics when the dogpeople would talk about Donald as a "duck" and the connotation was rather negative, as if the ducks were the underclass. This of course makes no sense in a city called "Duckburg," but that's exactly why it stuck in my memory.

My theory is that the dogpeople were meant to be as bland as possible, to make the "stars" stand out more. And after all, what's more boring than being human? At some point it was decided that everyone should be an animal, so the supporting characters were humans with dog snouts tacked on.

A similar technique is at work in the more recent Star Trek shows. The actors portraying humans were given explicit direction to be bland, to make the actors with latex on their foreheads appear more "alien."

Crabs said...

The people-animals wouldn't bother me so much if the cartoons would at least acknowledge that they're hideous, but they always play such everyday-citizen roles that it's like some sort of social commentary.

The worst part is that they've become fetish objects.

peldma3 said...

The history of these dog nosed hybrid people thingys can be traced back to north german social engineers and their invention of the "funny Animal" genre. It's creepy stuff. It's all tied into the changes that happened when they started taking death or violence out of childrens stories out of childrens stories. Then came the wave of "orphan" stories. This sounds weird but it's all just history stuff.

Onjo said...

Hey John,

Speaking of Disney, what do you think about this bit of business. I'd heard about it, but seeing more evidence is pretty compelling.

http://www.kimbawlion.com/rant2.htm

oppo said...

Roger Ebert covered the whole animal- human controversey when he reviewed Madagascar:


http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050526/REVIEWS/50510004/1023

zoe said...

Betty Boop was originally a dog-creature of some sort. Hence the gigantic bulldog jowls.

Mayzshon said...

As far as the dog nosed people go, I think it's Carl Barks wanted to draw people but wasn't allowed.
In the Goofy/ Pluto debate, I chalk it up to evolution, Pluto is to Goofy as say a Colubus monkey is to a human

Paul Penna said...

As a kid I liked pondering the presence of dog noses and ears on otherwise-human Barks characters, but I accepted it as an interesting convention. But the real humans in "Dangerous Disguise" weirded me out. I kept going back to that one to stare at Donald walking around among actual human beings, just to experience the otherworldliness of it. I don't know if I could have taken it on a regular basis; that isn't what I bought comic books for. Dell was probably right in quashing the idea. I wanted to get lost in adventure and humor with my comic books, not get unsettled by them.

Alex Printz said...

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at some of the sentence structures you used in there!

dog people always bothered me... but I have to agree that they are better than normal-anatomy people in cartoons. Maybe that was the purpose... to hid that hideous human nose... perhaps if the snout were removed, they'd look and animate from a johnny quest cartoon!

I'll never be able to look at pants-less donald duck again...

Trevor Thompson said...

Hey Onjo:

Disney steals all the time, even from themselves. They've had the same types of stories and characters for years.

But the movie they did before Lion King, Aladdin, was also stolen completely from Richard Williams' 'The Thief and The Cobbler'... and not the version that was released, either.

- trevor.

Hans Flagon said...

Apparently Dogs are a natural antagonist of Ducks.

One meme that did not survive into later years of Disney was the cow face. Clarabell, whoever, but still Walking upright, seemed to be a staple of black and white cartoons, Cows often being such wonderful designs of black and white in nature.

And then suddenly, outside of bullfights with ferdinand, you didn't see the cow face anymore.

What happened? Meat rationing?

Hans Flagon said...

Scrooge was a duck with Mutton Chop sideburns, but no ears.

It was usually the bearded ducks that weirded me out. Or god forbid, the attempt to put a mustache on a duck. Often it might be under the eyes but above the nostrils.

But again, I can barely tolerate teeth on a duck, especially constantly. To take a big comic bite, sure. To smile or talk? No.

Oliver_A said...

I think much more scaring than dog noses is the concept of anthropomorphical AND non-anthropomorphical animals of the same race existing in the same universe, like Pluto vs. Goofy.

No, I don't want to think about what biological factors might have been involved leading to the creation of Goofy...

Anthony Rizzo said...

Wow John! I could never really put my finger on it before what bugged me about these sorts of characters but you nailed it. Haha.

Seems to me that they just were too lazy to draw a human nose so they put a black button with a highlight there instead bc it was close to mickey's nose. Poor Walt, foiled again...

-Anthony

Cheezy WEAPON said...

Actually, I think the answer is quite simple if you consider:

There CAN NOT BE ANY humans, AT ALL. But, there needed to be a contemporary 'master race' to fit all the 'generic' roles. So, the easiest (and laziest) thing to do is take a human and slap animal parts on it. That's it. Maybe make them a lil goofy looking and hideously wrinkly. They just needed something to throw about and they couldn't be bothered to draw a hippo in a dress or a seal in a tuxedo.

James Lee said...

Awesome post :P

Actually, I could never understand how in the disney universe, Mickey Mouse had a pet dog, yet Goofy himself was a dog

Zoran Taylor said...

Could one of you folks please explain for me how to make a link that you don't have to copy? I'm talking about the ones that show up in blue. That would be much appreciated, thanks. (I seem to have a hard time finding such advice from Blogger itself.)

Chip Butty said...

I was wondering why you didn't like Carl Barks.

Paul B said...

"A filter-feeding flesh colored shark that walks on realistic human legs"

They are called STREET SHARKS!!!

Puaj!

Tim said...

I always hated the dog nose people, even as a kid.

Like you, I also pondered why some animals could walk and talk and others were just regular animals. Sometimes even of the same species.

Niki said...

I always thought that dog nose people were the genetic mutants of cartoons. Like X-men but kinda lame. I tried not to dwell on them too much.

Rick Roberts said...

Let me amplify my answer a bit. I think that since the human proportions and the dog features are so simply drawn, it's easier to accept. Also notice that there is no actual fur on the characters.

Zoran: WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOW UP AS TEXT

Thanks to Jorge Garrido for telling me this code.

Zoran Taylor said...

Rick,
I got "Error 404 - Not Found". Is the code in the URL bar (no idea why it would be, just asking), or should it be explained on the page I'm not getting?

Zoran Taylor said...

I don't know where I should put this now - I've been waiting for you to do your "crappy conservative-age cartoons" post! I hope this works....

If this is uncreative cartoon-making, I will eat my hat, then my Dad's hat, then all my friends hats, then an entire warehouse full of hats, then purge them and eat them again, the have them pumped out and freeze-dried so I can repeat that process every day for the rest of my life. This is a PROMISE.

Spencer said...

haha hilarious post! I can see a George Liquor Cartoon now, showing us the evolution from dumb cartoon animal animals to animals that walk on their hind legs and talk, to humans with animal noses and ears, to humans!

Niki said...

I thought you might like this

Ivan D said...

The illogical cartoon animal kingdom doesn't end there!

How could a talking mouse have had a non-talking pet dog. I'm referring of course to the relationship between Mickey and Pluto. Could Pluto have been a mute with a degenerative disease that made him walk on all fours and Mickey just felt sorry for him?

More importantly, what did Goofy think of all this? After all, Goofy is meant to be a dog too. Goofy doesn't seem to have any problem talking and walking on his hind legs (although he is a bit clumsy).

So many unanswered questions.

Simon W-H said...

I think it all began in Steamboat Willie, with pegleg pete...The dog noses seem to have evolved from him, later in the animated cartoons he was designed more like the Barks characters..take my word for it.....it all started way back then...and as someone else commented here, Betty Boop was a dog originally...a girl dog, that makes her a b.....

Ivan D said...

Wow! Adam T and Oliver A beat me to that Goofy/Pluto observation! How unoriginal of me.

Rick Roberts said...

Sorry I messed that up Zoran. Nevermind, you got it anyway. ;)

HemlockMan said...

Barks' dog-nosed folk didn't weird me out as much as they did you when I was a kid. They weren't the only critters Barks created. He had a bit of leeway from Disney to create--and of course they stole that stuff from him and trademarked it for the corporation--characters like Gyro Gearloose and his lightbulb companion, Grandma Duck, Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, and the Beagle Boys--the interchangeable incorrigible dog-nosed villains.

I think you've tapped at least some of your ideas with Muddy Mudskipper!

Hans Flagon said...

Onjo,

I think there are definately executives at Disney that had no idea of a pre-existing japanese Movie being a basis for Lion King. All they knew of the project was the celebrity voices involved, the Soundtrack by Tim Rice and Elton John that helped sell it to the Moms, and the Happy Meal promos.

Disney Middle Creative execs were all Broadway Wannabee flunkies from Disney at Ice at this stage, they only saw animation as something they could turn into a stage production. There are still plenty of bosses at Disney that are total illiterates when it comes to animation in any form. They see it as a promo commercial for whatever their real love is.

Hans Flagon said...

Thanks to whoever posted that awesome Life magazine shoot behind the scenes at the Beanie and Cecil TV show. (Googe Image search has them tagged "Beane TV", not Beanie)

Adele K Thomas said...

The dog nosed people in my Donald duck comics and cartoons always freaked me out...no wonder i stopped getting them...they started as dogs-people and then just became people with a black dog nose...

I started buying the Ren and Stimpy comics in High School and pasted the pictures on my books...if you hated that stuff John...sorry...I was obsessed with the show in high school :D

dave-o said...

In the book "Carl Barks and the Disney Comic Book: Unmasking the Myth of Modernity" the author believes Barks central theme in the duck comics to be a critique of modernity.

Maybe Barks felt that slapping dog faces onto human bodies was a way to connect with their own humanity in some way. A lot of Barks' stories contain a specific social critique such as the taking of land from Mexicans in the conquest of California, lamenting the loss of nature, blind corporate greed and the dangers of monopolies. Perhaps having such plots in an entirely fantastical animal kingdom let the air out of the tires somewhat for Bark's storytelling purposes. His compromise then are these human stand-ins for humans themselves. Problematic, I agree but I think there's more to it that then just labeling them mutants.

Roberto González said...

I also find it a little weird, but some of those characters have pretty interesting designs and facial gestures. It's not my fave type of thing but I like it at least in Carl Barks comics.

However in films like A Goofy Movie I much prefer the designs of those characters that look more like Goofy and I find weirder those that look like a human with a dog nose (like Max' girlfriend in that movie).

krakit said...

Bobby Vardar said...

What Ted said - the protagonists are anthropomorphic animals while the villains are human adults with just enough animal features not to break the internal logic.

Is this why Goofy is nobody's favourite Disney character?
12:08 PM


I love Goofy the most!
He's the one most likely
to be involved in the most
intense slapstick comedy.
And some of his Super Goofy
comics where he eats a super
peanut and wears old red full
body underwear as his super suit
and a towel for his cape made
for fun reads as a kid. Goofy's
dogface on a human body has
never been a bother to me.

Mickey and Goofy both appear to
have animal heads on human bodies
to me. Mickey has just one extra
part and that's his tail.

- - - - - - -
Concerning Johns's question:
"I am dying to know how old time cartoonists decided which creatures were allowed the gifts of intelligence, opposable thumbs or pants.....Can anyone explain why this existed?"

I don't know if anyone will ever
be able to actually explain it,
but it's fun trying so here's my
attempt. Having weird animal-
humans (Mickey) interact with
regular animals (Pluto) helped to
push viewers to relate to the
weird animal-humans more. The
more the animal-humans resemble
humans in their behavior (owning
a dog as a pet) the more likely
audiences would relate to them.


Concerning why some artists
would draw characters as human
and only alter their face or
nose to resemble an animal, I'm
thinking that if an artist came
up with more cartoony characters,
then those new characters would
have the chance of stealing the
show away from the main characters
the comic books were supposed to
highlight. The editor(s) might have
been making sure kids who saw a
comic before seeing a cartoon were
being spoon fed the main characters
in Disney comics that they wanted
the kids to warm up to.

Personally I don't like it since
it makes it appear two artists
are working on the art. One for
the Mickeys and Donalds and the
other artist for the other
characters. The side characters
shouldn't have to suffer visually
to "help us" see who the main
characters are. A good story
will make sure the main characters
are truly the main characters.

Droopy the dog is a great example
of a visually low key character in
well written stories that are able
to make him the star even when his
antagonist was always visually more
dramatic.

Unlimited 99 said...

that's funny. I was watching episodes of ducktales (meh.) I'm 32 now, but I'm sitting there thinking "why a ducks?" then this creature walks on the screen and I'm asking myself... "is that a dog or a mouse or... what is that?!" I've always wondered what this was about (you make sense out of it) I also hate(d) the animals with animals for pets or "regular" animals within an cartoon animal world thing. It makes my brow furrow.

perspex said...

i always dislike Disney stuff. the thing i ever understood was, okay , so Goofy is a dog, but... so is Pluto????!?!?!?!!!

Pieter said...

Obviously, not many Carl Barks-fans here...

In my opinion, all the dog-nosed and pig-faced characters that lived in Barks' Duckburg, were created with a purpose.

Donald Duck in Barks' universe is an everyday Joe Schmoe trying to survive in a world filled with creatures that look down on him, try to rip him off, steal his girlfriend or take advantage of him, including his neighbour, his uncle and his girlfriend. Just like in real life...

Barks knew how to tell these stories, and he created a 'special breed' of creatures that - indeed- freak you out sometimes. And why? Not just because of the silly dognose!

If you read carefully, all the dog- and pigheads are, in most cases, hideous, nasty, mean, troublemaking, doublecrossing individuals: lawyers, accountants, politicans, older women (!), mayors, salesmen, teachers, scouting-employees, military weirdo's... (maybe animation executives as well ;-)

The dogs and pigs are surreal charicatures of real people with bad intentions...

As a child and as an adult, I accept all this weirdness and illogical choices.

Thank God there are no written rules that tell cartoonists how their characters should behave or look in this animal-/human crossoverworld. I love to be surprised...

bluecheckeredhat said...

No Mention of Betty Boop's original design? (Sorry if someone else brought it up, I'm not wading throught 63 comments)

dumtoonz said...

I know this is an older post but I had to respond. Reason being I think I've figured out the dog people mystery! See I read this a few days ago and was looking at the notes you posted on line-of-action you around the same time. I wanted to try it out on some images where I'd have to figure out the line of action for myself and picked one of the dog faced guys. The elated one in the business suit to be specific. Anyway, I found the entire sketch turned out SURPRISINGLY good for something I doodled in 10 mins. Maybe the dog faced human character design comes from needing an easy to reproduce, quickly drawn product that ignores appeal or relativity. Just a theory I thought was worth sharing.

Pokey said...

Then there's Warner Brothers's examples all the way through the forties like "Daffy Dilly". "The Pest that came to Dinner"."The Stupor Salesman"."Paying the Piper","The Up-standing Sitter","An Egg Scramble",etc.,etc.,etc.

How about such Augie Doggie shorts as "Mars Little Precious" with this little Martian extra-terrestial that leaves the humanoid Doggie Daddy [a dog] then flies to this doglike bulldog [another dog] then Doggie D.runs outside after the little spacekid and runs into a Humanoid HUMAN cop [both cases with the familiar Langworth-Filmmusic Jack Shaindlin cues and real fun animation]. Speaking of Doggie Daddy and space, the "Rocket Bye Baby" remake [both by Mike Maltese, natch],"High and Flighty" of Auggie being noted as a dog [again as always acting as an Elroy like kid] by a bhuman astronat.] Later before the tearjerking then happy ending [great scene here], when our hero encounters a human military base [again of human humans] and talks in part backed by the 110 old weeper "Hearts & Flowers" from the old Sam Fox library, NO ONE notes that THIS is a dog. Not a human human like the military people, but a dog. Doggie Daddy standing up. And yes, it is odd that Mickey Mouse owns a dog but has a humanoid best friend who is another dog, and another who is a duck...:)