Drolleries of the Middle Ages Included Comical Yet Sinister Killer Rabbits and Erotic Art

Drolleries of the Middle Ages Included Comical Yet Sinister Killer Rabbits and Erotic Art

A drollerie (also spelled as drollery) is a type of marginalia found on Medieval manuscripts. Drolleries are amusing, often grotesque, figures drawn on the edges of manuscripts and may be found in works from different parts of Europe throughout the Middle Ages. The practice, however, was especially popular between the 13 th and 15 th centuries. While drolleries are often meant to evoke laughter, they may be understood at a deeper level and reveal aspects of society at that time.

Drolleries – Works of Art and Bizarre Decorations

During the Middle Ages , the production of manuscripts was an expensive endeavor due to the skill and time required. Apart from the scribes, who were responsible for copying the text of the manuscript, the process also involved illustrators, who had the task of decorating the work. Such decorations are usually found on the margins of the text and come in a variety of forms.

While some of these manuscript decorations may be considered to be intricate works of art, others stand out thanks to their bizarre nature. Drolleries fall into the latter category and include a variety of subjects. One of these is the depiction of anthropomorphized animals or animals doing human activities. This is seen, for example, in the drawings of rabbits engaged in acts of violence – decapitating human prisoners, jousting, and hunting other animals. Considering that the rabbit is one of the most timid of animals, it is impossible to imagine them engaged in such acts. Thus, such drolleries were clearly meant to humor observers.

Drolleries of the Middle Ages included rabbits engaged in acts of violence. (Kallinikov / )

Animals Used in Drolleries

Apart from aggressive rabbits, drolleries also depict a variety of other animals . This type of drollerie had its origins in bestiaries, which are compendia of beasts that were hugely popular during the Middle Ages. Bestiaries are thought to have lost their appeal by the second half of the 13 th century, as evident in their decreased production. Nevertheless, the creatures of such bestiaries retained their popularity and continued to be depicted as drolleries. Such drolleries include both real animals, including birds and stags, and fantastic creatures, like dragons and unicorns. It may be added that these creatures are normally drawn based on their descriptions as found in the bestiaries.

A page of the Maastricht Book of Hours (BL Stowe MS17), an illuminated manuscript mainly known for its lively depictions of animals and half-animals.

Medieval bestiaries are also believed to have served as the inspiration for the heraldic beasts that adorn the arms of the European nobility. As manuscripts were often commissioned by nobles, it would have been natural that their arms and heraldic be depicted in such works as drolleries. These images, however, were not meant to humor but to serve as a statement of the family’s prestige.

Medieval bestiaries were used in drolleries. (Soerfm)

Other Imagery In Drolleries

The subject of drolleries did not only include animals, real or imagined, humorous or serious, but also revolved around a variety of other themes. Sexuality was a theme that the Medieval illustrators seemed to have relished dealing with. Such obscene or erotic art was not limited to secular literature but also found in sacred texts .

This drollerie Maastricht Book of Hours depicts a woman (a nun?) dancing to music played by a monk.

In the Rutland Psalter, for instance, there is the image of a naked man flaunting his behind, while a simian figure, armed with a lance and shield and riding an ostrich or goose, charges at him. In another, the Ormesby Psalter, a man is shown blowing a trumpet into the anus of a horse-headed boy. Phalluses are also often depicted. In one manuscript, a naked woman is shown riding on a flying phallus creature, while in another, a medical treatise of John Arderne, a disembodied penis is depicted in a basket.

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Drolleries did not only include animals but also revolved around a variety of other themes. (Jason.nlw / )

Yet another group of drolleries may be categorized as ‘ doodles’. Unlike the types of drolleries previously mentioned, which would have been made by professionals, such images might have been the work of children. An example of these doodles is visible in a manuscript known as Life Of Our Lady , in the University of Glasgow. The doodles in this manuscript include an object that looks like a ship with rigging complete with little people and a peacock with a rider.

Doodles were a type of drollery in Medieval manuscripts. (Bkwillwm / )

Lastly, it may be mentioned that drolleries were but one of the many types of marginalia that were made by Medieval manuscript makers. Among the more interesting of these are the complaints scribbled onto the edges of texts by the Medieval scribes and copyists.

Some examples of complaints and remarks made by them include “Thank God, it will soon be dark”, “The ink is thin”, and “Now I’ve written the whole thing: for Christ’s sake give me a drink”.

Forge of Empires

Good strategy online games are what Forge of Empires stands for. As a chieftain who founds his settlement anno 5000 B.C. in the Stone Age with little more than a few tents, it is your task to show your online strategy game skills and develop your city through the ages of history in this browser based empire game. Prove yourself a worthy ruler and lead your reign to glory. Join the best empire building game now by constructing your first settlement in Forge of Empires!

The Vicar

British vicars are generally portrayed as docile and gentle elderly chaps, with white hair and little glasses and ever so prim and prissy ways that epitomize British Stuffiness. They take afternoon tea ("more tea, vicar?"), have a tendency to be a bit liberal with the altar wine and don't believe that anything remotely sexual happens ever, despite the fact that Church of England vicars are allowed to marry. So, to be caught in flagrante delicto&mdashor even mistaken for being so&mdashby the vicar is, of course, the second funniest thing ever. Catching the vicar in the act is the only thing funnier.

The opposite of this, now largely a Forgotten Trope due to the decline of the social prestige of the Church, is the Sexy Vicar who appears mainly in nineteenth and early-twentieth-century works. He is young, handsome and idealistic, and often the romantic target of the heroine. He will usually be entirely aware of the lust he arouses in his female congregation, but attempt to deal with things by ignoring it and scrupulously avoiding even the appearance of having favourites. He will eventually fall in love with the heroine, but will still be self-denyingly concerned that she is attracted to him for himself rather than for the glamour of his office, and ready for the tougher aspects of being a clergy wife.

A more recent trope is the "trendy" vicar, who is younger, and probably plays the guitar, but is really just as clueless, especially when it comes to attracting young people to the church. Expect them to make air quotes while using thirty-year-old slang.

For those of you who are non-Brits: Vicar is a term used to refer to a parish priest of the Anglican Church. This is the official established religion of England, a faith that was designed &mdash long, long story &mdash to be Catholicism without the Papal allegiance. Eventually, other aspects of Protestantism immigrated over. Thus the clergy of the Church of England are often called "priests" and dress as such, but nevertheless are free to marry like Protestant ministers.

The word "vicar" technically just means "deputy" one of the Pope's titles is "Vicar of Christ," for instance. In the Middle Ages, the word 'rector' meant the person that had the right to collect the income of the parish (known as the 'living'), but this could be a bishop, a canon, an abbey, or a pluralist rector with multiple livings. The 'rector' would hire a deputy, the vicar, who was a priest who did the actual work that we associate with ministers and priests. So folks got into the habit of using the term 'vicar' to refer to any 'working priest' note the officially 'done thing' is to call the rector 'vicar' in a parish that traditionally had one, which means the rich important ones that were formerly attractive to pluralist prelates. So, in one of the strange inversions of which British custom is so fond, the originally lower title of 'vicar' is now used by the rectors of the richer and more important parishes. , even though today most 'vicars' are really 'rectors'.

Since 1992, women have been able to become vicars. The first woman vicar in England was appointed (despite some serious struggles note Which reemerged in the 2010's when female Bishops began to be considered. ) in 1994. However, female clergy have been ordained in the Anglican communion worldwide for some time, the first in 1944 in Hong Kong. note There was a substantial break after that, with the next jurisdiction of significance&mdashthe Episcopal Church of the United States&mdashadopting the ordination of women in 1976. However, the American Episcopal Church has, ever since the acceptance of the ordination of women, accepted the election of women as bishops, and elected the first female primate&mdashessentially Chief Archbishop of the whole country&mdashin 2006.

In Bonnie Scotland, they will be replaced by the Minister of the local Church of Scotland note The established national Church, of which HM The Queen is only a member, rather than leader, as she is with the C of E congregation, who is often portrayed as dour and grim, and generally the opposite of their prim English counterparts. He will frequently be from the isles.

Let's Get Graphic: 100 Favorite Comics And Graphic Novels

We've searched shelves, shops and sites across the universe to bring you some really great comics.

Summer's the time for comics — Marvel and DC blockbusters are in movie theaters, fans are preparing to descend on San Diego for its epic annual Comic-Con, and if nothing else, your friendly local comic store or library is there to provide an air-conditioned Fortress of Solitude where you can escape the steamy streets.

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So it's a perfect time for our super summer reader poll — a few months ago, we asked you to tell us all about your favorite comics and graphic novels. We assembled an amazing team of critics and creators to help winnow down more than 7,000 nominations to this final list of 100 great comics for all ages and tastes, from early readers to adults-only.

This isn't meant as a comprehensive list of the "best" or "most important" or "most influential" comics, of course. It's a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that, because we asked folks to name the comics they loved. That means you'll find enormously popular mainstays like Maus and Fun Home jostling for space alongside newer work that's awaiting a wider audience (Check Please, anyone?).

Summer Reader Poll 2017: Comics And Graphic Novels

The Negative Zone: What Didn't Make Our Final List

So poke around to find old favorites — and discover some new ones.

Graphic Novels


Nimona unfolds like a flower, growing from a lighthearted tale about an irrepressible girl with mysterious powers who worms her way into a gig as sidekick to her town's designated villain into something much richer and deeper. Noelle Stevenson's spritely line work gives the story even more lift, building a world where temp agencies handle evil-sidekick gigs and fantasy-armored bad guys plot to attack modern-looking city skylines with genetically modified dragons.


by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Everything you've heard about this graphic novel, first published as a 12-issue series in 1986 and 1987, is true. It broke the ground it changed the game. There is a reason people still press it into the hands of those who've never read a comic before. Alan Moore's jaundiced deconstruction of the American superhero — "What if they were horny, insecure sociopaths?"— is showing its age, given that it continues to inspire hordes of lesser, grim-and-gritty imitators. But Dave Gibbons' art, laid out in that meticulous, nine-panel grid, still works astonishingly well, whether he is capturing the intimate (a fleeting facial expression during a couple's argument) or the cosmic (a crystalline clockwork castle rising out of the red dust of Mars).

Maus: A Survivors Tale

My Father Bleeds History

Admit it — you're not exactly surprised to see this book turn up on this list. This is a comics list we're NPR. We get it. But Art Spiegelman's two-volume feat of historical memoir wasn't simply grandfathered in. It received the many votes it did because it remains such a standalone accomplishment — a success in both conceit (Spiegelman's father haltingly relates how he survived a concentration camp, with Jews rendered as mice and Nazis rendered as cats) and craft (Spiegelman explores shades of survivor guilt, father-son frustration and the way the Holocaust forever reshaped the lives of those who made it through — and their children). A stunning work whose astounding success, including the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a graphic novel, helped move the medium out of dingy comics shops and into the literary mainstream.


by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon

The book's subject — the way death retroactively imposes a shape on a person's life — belies the sense of hope that saturates every panel of this expressive and poignant story by Brazilian twin brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. Chapter after chapter, we meet an obituary writer at different ages and follow him through some of the most important days of his life, and every one of those days — incongruously, magically — ends in his death. With each death, we read the obituary he would have written for himself, which does not come close to capturing the rich imagery, emotional nuance and lyrical language of the chapter we've just read. But that is the point: The merciless way death forces us to reduce lives to narrative arcs, to turn a person's existence into story beats and act breaks. Daytripper is the product of a clear-eyed perspective — the kind that only emerges once death isn't something feared, denied or raged against, but confronted. And embraced.

This One Summer

by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Comics about awkward young men struggling with adolescence are thick on the ground, which makes sense, given that the medium seems expressly suited to exploring the anxiety, self-consciousness and other ephemeral emotions that come with puberty. But relatively few comics have taken up the transition from girlhood to womanhood, and none have done so as sensitively and searchingly as This One Summer, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. The story, about two girls whose families have been spending summers at the same lake for years, perfectly captures the moment when everything changes — when feelings, both expressed and unexpressed, begin to color and distort a childhood friendship, when long-simmering jealousy, fear and rage finally bubble over. It's nothing so pat and simple as a coming-of-age story it's a beautifully wrought, bittersweet and achingly real examination of two young women — one who believes herself ready for adulthood, one longing to remain a child for just a little longer.

Sweet Tooth

Out of the Deep Woods

For such a young cartoonist (he is 41), Jeff Lemire's output is considerable and sufficiently diverse that the judges each had their favorites. Arguments were made for his Essex County Trilogy, about life in a small Canadian county, and The Underwater Welder, a ghostly meditation on fatherhood his superhero work at DC, Marvel and Valiant had its proponents as well. Ultimately, the judges agreed on this odd, post-apocalyptic tale starring a naïve young human-deer hybrid and his taciturn protector who is harboring a secret. It brings together everything that makes Lemire such a sought-after creator: his singularly emotive artwork and stripped-down dialogue (he is confident enough in his storytelling to allow a character's facial expression to do the narrative work that other cartoonists would buttress with exposition) and his tight plotting, filled with shocking reveals and reversals.

Through The Woods

"It came from the woods. Most strange things do." Emily Carroll's book of short stories is horror, yes – but it's the psychological horror of isolation and alienation, not the pulpy, visceral horror of the slaughterhouse floor. We're left disturbed, discomfited and unsettled by her stories, but also beguiled, because Carroll is so thoroughly in control of the comics medium. Her captions and dialogue curl and bend around her characters like sinister tendrils, drawing our eye across the page and into the shadows that lurk under the bed or down the hallway or just outside the front door. Her colors can blaze or cool to serve her narrative, and her lettering slyly underscores every shift in mood. Beautifully creepy stuff.


An Illustrated Novel

Craig Thompson wrote and drew this bittersweet, 600-page, semiautobiographical story of a young man raised in a strict evangelical tradition, haunted by feelings of guilt and shame as adolescence gives way to adulthood. His attempts to navigate a sexual relationship cause him to question his most deeply felt beliefs, and it's that extra, achingly heartfelt layer that elevates Blankets above similarly themed "sensitive artist is sensitive, artfully" indie comics. Thompson grapples with big ideas about faith, art and sex, yet his art is always expressive, intimate and highly specific.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

After West Nile virus left illustrator Emil Ferris partially paralyzed, she learned to draw again by duct-taping a quill pen to her hand. Her drive to recover — and her childhood love of horror films — are evident in her ferocious, semi-autobiographical work, set in Chicago in the late 1960s and starring a young girl who thinks of herself (and draws herself) as a werewolf. Ferris' dense, intricately crosshatched art gives a glowing, sculptural formality to this tale of murder and multiple monstrosities.

Jimmy Corrigan

The Smartest Kid on Earth

Bright colors, clean lines, simple shapes — a Chris Ware comics page is meticulously designed to invite the eye in, echoing the feel of a beloved picture book from your earliest childhood. And then you read the thing and — oof. Ware is a master of the comics medium's unique ability to create tension between words and images — his best stuff crawls inside that tension and roosts. While his art is bright and clean, the lives he writes about are anything but. Case in point: poor Jimmy Corrigan, the sad and feckless young boy who grows into a sad and feckless adult. Ware plays with time throughout Jimmy Corrigan, unpacking moments of Jimmy's shame or yearning — or, quite often, his shameful yearning — to ensure that we feel each one like a series of gut punches. This book is nothing less than a masterpiece, albeit one that will make you want to lie on the floor for a while after finishing it.


by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

It takes a village: Blacksad is a French comic by two Spaniards — writer Juan Diaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido — who've crafted a hard-boiled noir set in an America filled of anthropomorphic animals: It stars a black cat private eye, his sidekick (a literal and figurative weasel), and cops of various breeds of canines. Come for its cleverly whimsical riffs on noir tropes, stay for Guarnido's painterly art, which is lush and gorgeous, with muted colors underscoring the sometimes seedy underworld violence. This is no funny animals comic.

Reading reviews of comics gets frustrating when the writer focuses solely on critiquing the story, ignoring that comics can only exist in the space where text and art come together. It's great, then, when a comic like Here comes along, because it forces critics and readers alike to engage with the potent narrative power of the wordless comics page. Here's conceit: We look at one corner of a room. No — not merely look at — we truly see it, because Richard McGuire shows us that same tiny patch of real estate over thousands of years, from the distant past to the far future, overlaid — literally — with selected mundane moments of the life that happen in and around that space in the meantime: births, deaths, parties, arguments. That narrow focus produces a work that is both hugely expansive and quietly, thoroughly mind-blowing.

How To Be Happy

When a very recent work is nominated in the popular vote, the judges feel it incumbent upon them to really interrogate it — to ensure that it justified its presence on the final list. That said, Eleanor Davis' 2015 collection of comics short stories sailed through that process with unanimous, enthusiastic consent. Davis writes and draws surreal, deeply funky comics about people who find themselves in a funk. "Find the stories that help you comprehend the incomprehensible," one of her characters says. "Find the stories that make you stronger." Her art expresses both raw emotion and the stringent denial of it she carves out a place that is both deeply felt yet coolly introspective. She also avails herself of widely different styles, using color — or the lack of it — perfectly matched to the narrative mood.


One thing to admire about Simon Hanselmann's Megahex is its utter, unambiguous, blank-faced commitment to its stoner aesthetic. Megahex collects several years' worth of Hanselmann's Megg and Mogg Web comics and follows the adventures — well, the determined lack of adventures, anyway — of a layabout witch and her friends, which include a black cat, an owl and a werewolf. Together, they do drugs, watch TV, make ruthless (often downright cruel) fun of one another and struggle with depression. (Think your sophomore year in college. But with a werewolf.) Given the series' intentional dearth of forward narrative momentum — that is the whole point, really — Hanselmann's gorgeously funky, low-fi, slyly psychedelic art pulls a lot of this weirdly charming strip's weight.

A Contract With God

And Other Tenement Stories

Comics nerds are a nitpicky, combative lot, so whenever Will Eisner's collection of comics short stories gets called "the first graphic novel," the "um, actually"s descend like so many neck-bearded locusts to remind everyone about Rodolphe Topffer and Lynd Ward and to point out that it's not a novel, it's a collection of stories. So let's put it this way: Eisner's 1978 A Contract With God is widely regarded as the first modern graphic novel. But it's not on this list because it was first, it's on this list because it remains one of the most beloved. Eisner sets his stories in and around a Lower East Side tenement building very like the one he grew up in, and it shows. He imbues each story with an elegiac quality reminiscent of the fables of Sholom Alecheim, replete with a fabulist's gift for distilling the world's morass into tidy morality plays. Moody, moving and darkly beautiful, this work helped the wider world accept the notion that comics can tell stories of any kind, the only limit being the vision of their creators.

The Color Of Earth (Trilogy)

Dong Hwa Kim's beautiful and elegant historical trilogy (including The Color of Water and The Color of Heaven) follows young Ehwa as she grows up amid the (exquisitely rendered) countryside of pastoral Korea. Together, the three books form an extended coming-of-age tale. Ehwa experiences the flush of first love, and no small amount of heartbreak, but the real triumph of the book lies in its depiction of Ehwa's relationship with her single mother, which informs how the young girl sees her place in the world. Their bond is rich, and satisfyingly complicated, and it deepens over the course of the trilogy in ways that will feel familiar . and bittersweet.

The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth

Panel judge Glen Weldon is on record as loving this book. It was one of his favorite books of 2013, and when he reviewed it for NPR, he called it "a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in [Isabel] Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love." Greenberg's art is big and bold, and it wears its folk-art influences — any given page resembles a delirious mashup of Inuit imagery with the Bayeux Tapestry — on its sleeve. It's fitting that a book that concerns itself so centrally with the act of storytelling makes for such a richly satisfying and accomplished story.

Series Comics

Love And Rockets

by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez

How to summarize, in a blurb, one of the singular accomplishments in serialized comics? Maybe start by assuring anyone who has never had occasion to pick up this series — which has been published, off and on, over the last 35 years — that its humor, pathos and rich characterizations are only continuing to deepen and grow. Brothers Gilbert, Jaime and, originally at least, Mario Hernandez tend to focus on two parallel narratives — one set in a fictional Central American village, the other set among punk musicians living in southern California. Though the series has happily spanned several genres in its time, its focus on its characters' relationships, which have grown increasingly complicated and layered over the years, remains paramount. Beloved as one of the first breakout series of the indie comics movement, Love and Rockets has inspired many imitators, but its charms are idiosyncratic and unmistakably its own.


This Fantagraphics volume collects the first 18 issues of Dan Clowes' hugely influential indie comics series, where some of his most notable works, including Ghost World and Art School Confidential were originally serialized (alongside shorter/one-off pieces of blistering satire and/or crude humor). Three other works that appeared in EightballDavid Boring, Ice Haven and Death Ray — have been collected separately, but this book grants you a ringside seat in Clowes' fevered, fractious and pugnacious young brain.

Monstress Baker Taylor hide caption


by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress is the grandest of Guignol, a blood-spattered epic set in a matriarchal society torn by war between sorceresses and magical creatures. Sana Takeda's art blends art nouveau, manga, steampunk, Egyptian influences, you-name-it, to build a lush world where even the atrocities these women commit against on another look somehow gorgeous. And Marjorie Liu's morally ambiguous, complex characters are hard to figure out and even harder to forget.

The Wicked + The Divine

by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

You will never be as cool as anyone written and drawn by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. But you can approximate that level of cool by reading The Wicked + The Divine, their color-drenched, pop-addled, gender-bent tale of a group of kids who've been taken over by deities and granted supernatural power and appeal with one major drawback: Within two years, they'll all be dead. But until then, they can enchant crowds, perform miracles and save lives. Gillen has described it as "a superhero comic for anyone who loves Bowie as much as Batman," which is pretty perfect, in our opinion.

Bitch Planet

by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro

The women in prison movie to end all women in prison movies. Well, okay, it's a comic book, but you know what I mean. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro take a campy '70s trope and run with it, all the way to outer space, creating a misogynist dystopia where "noncompliant" women are penned up on a brutal prison planet. But rebellion is brewing underneath those bland prison-orange overalls. Bitch Planet mixes solid world building, action and emotional hooks with an unapologetic wallop of feminist philosophy. If you've been seeing women with "NC" tattoos recently, this is why.

Locke & Key

by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Writer Joe Hill is Stephen King's son, and his horror pedigree shows in this atmospheric saga about the Keyhouse, an old mansion in a New England coastal town (called Lovecraft, natch) and the family (called Locke, of course) who live there. As the Locke kids discover the magic keys the house keeps hidden, their family past comes back to haunt them — literally. And Gabriel Rodriguez's art brings limpid-eyed moppets and shadowy monsters alike to creepily glowing life.


by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Transmet is Warren Ellis' extended, profane and surreal love letter to Hunter S. Thompson (so, it's exactly the kind of thing Thompson would have loved). Set in a far-future metropolis that could be anywhere in America, it's an almost joyous dystopia, a world where anything you can imagine is probably already happening. Right in the middle of it all is crusading journalist Spider Jerusalem — and his filthy assistants — ready to break news — and heads — in the service of truth. (And once you've read the books, go back and spend a happy few hours trying to pick out every reference in Darick Robertson's over-the-top artwork.)


by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday

Warren Ellis shows up on this list a lot, but trust us, he's worth it. Planetary is on the more cheerful end of the Ellis spectrum — it's about an interdimensional peacekeeping force called Planetary, dedicated to preserving weirdness and wonder in the world. "Mystery archaeologists" Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner and The Drummer travel through different themes and genres, digging up the secrets of their comic universe and battling The Four, a group of scientists bent on using the world's wonders to enrich themselves.

The Walking Dead

by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore

Before it became an international television franchise/cultural phenomenon, The Walking Dead was a scrappy little black-and-white horror comic. It still is, of course, though the plotlines of the comic and the TV show have diverged in ways that invite heated debate. There is an urgent, elemental power to Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore's bleak and battered vision of a zombie apocalypse and the survivors who attempt to hold onto their humanity, against impossible odds. Both creators clearly love the genre, and know how to toy with reader expectations. But in a very real sense, The Walking Dead has never been about the gore-splattered "Walkers." It's about how quickly, and how violently, humans will turn tribal to protect their own. Reading The Walking Dead can be a punishing experience (don't fall in love with any character), but thousands of readers, and millions of viewers, are gluttons for exactly the kind of punishment it serves up with dispassion.

Usagi Yojimbo


Stan Sakai's comic about a rabbit samurai in 17th-century Japan has been running for more than 30 years and is jampacked with references to Japanese history, movies and culture — particularly Akira Kurosawa's 1960 film Yojimbo. But you don't have to be a Kurosawa buff to enjoy Sakai's clean, expressive art and his expansive, sometimes novel-length storylines — after all, this is a comic based on a simple visual gag: A bunny with his ears tied up in a topknot looks kind of like a samurai. Try "Grasscutter," the Eisner Award-winning arc about a magic sword, or just dive right in at the beginning.

Doom Patrol

by Grant Morrison and Richard Case

Writer Grant Morrison and artist Richard Case took over the DC Comics series Doom Patrol in 1989 and, over the next four years, proceeded to infuse that fitfully published, perennially oddball title starring a small team of freakish, outcast superheroes created in 1963 with pure, uncut, pharmaceutical-grade craziness. Borrowing heavily from surrealist influences, they swapped out traditional villains for creations like the Brotherhood of Dada and the sinister, extradimensional Scissormen. They introduced new characters like Crazy Jane, a woman who evinced 64 discrete personalities, each one with its own superpower, and Danny the Street, a sentient, magically transporting city block . in drag. As a feat of soaring imagination, there's nothing like it in all of superhero storytelling, yet its every flight of nitro-injected fantasy is grounded by Case's thick line work, which imposes a satisfying heft and structure to the proceedings.

Mouse Guard

David Petersen's Mouse Guard series boasts a rich mythology gorgeous, warmly colored depictions of the natural world vibrantly realized characters and spectacular set pieces featuring bold adventures and narrow escapes. Plus, it stars fuzzy-wuzzy mice with itty-bitty swords and teeny-tiny capes. But it's Petersen's meticulous commitment to world building and his determination to fully realize his fanciful conceit — an elite cadre of mice that defend mousedom from threats foreign and domestic — that transport Mouse Guard out of the realm of "funny animal" comics. His characters may have dots for eyes and cute ears, but he invests them with a sense of purpose and nobility. These are rodents with gravitas.

The MAD Archives

Vol. 1

The venerable MAD is a humor magazine, yes, but it's also a comic book through and through and has always been so. This book collects its first six issues, from 1952 to '53, and reflects the no-gag-too-goofy, grab-the-reader-by-the-throat aesthetic of editor Harvey Kurtzman. It includes several pop-culture parodies, which would swiftly become MAD's bread-and-butter: "Dragged Net," "Outer Sanctum," etc. But it's Issue 4's Superman riff ("Superduperman!") that's still being talked about decades later, both for its ruthlessly effective skewering of the Man of Steel and for the art of Wally Wood, who lovingly stuffed every panel with background gags that invite — that demand — repeated reading.


by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber

In 1998, writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber produced this taut little murder mystery set at the McMurdo research station in Antarctica. That setting is a perfect setup, of course — the station's one big locked-room mystery where isolation breeds paranoia and escape is impossible because to step outside even briefly invites death. Fortunately, Deputy U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko — a fantastic, and fantastically tough, creation — is on the case. There are several stretches where Lieber's black-and-white art becomes . white-and-white, to depict the punishing snow-blind panic Stetko faces as she is targeted by the killer. A propulsive, satisfyingly pulpy read.

Sex Criminals (Adult Content)

by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Matt Fraction makes another appearance on our list with the delightful and VERY not-safe-for-work Sex Criminals. Suzie and Jon seem like a regular couple – she is an earnest librarian, he is an overgrown man-child who hates his job. But both of them have a secret power: They can stop time when they orgasm and walk around alone in a frozen world. So naturally, they decide to use that power to go on a crime spree — and it's all fun and games until the Sex Police show up.


Carla Speed McNeil has a mind as big as several universes, and you can visit at least one of them in the Eisner Award-winning Finder. Finder covers so many genres it's almost impossible to sum up, so we'll just say, come for the hot-outsider-in-a-strange-future action, stay for the insanely extensive world-building footnotes that will tell you exactly what is going on in every corner of every panel, from random lizard things to genetically engineered TV screen vines.


Lone Wolf And Cub

by Goseki Kojima and Kazuo Koike

Fans of Japanese cinema will find a lot to like in Lone Wolf and Cub, the epic story of a falsely disgraced warrior who hits the road with his toddler son in a quest to find and kill the powerful clan that framed him and killed his wife. (And in fact, these darkly cinematic comics have been adapted as movies in Japan.) Famous for its deep research and accurate representation of Japan's Edo period, Lone Wolf and Cub is 7,000 pages (yep, 7,000 pages) of sprawling samurai adventure — and one bad*** baby.

Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind

The judging panel was struck, and a bit dismayed, by the relative dearth of manga titles in the raw vote, but the strong showing for Hayao Miyazaki's groundbreaking Nausicaa series, about a headstrong young girl who becomes a military leader in a post-apocalyptic world, was heartening. There is no denying its popularity or its enduring influence, and its theme of humanity's corrupting influence on the pure power of the natural world is an essential Miyazaki touchstone. The series was turned into a hugely popular anime feature by what would later become Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, which has produced many of the most beloved and renowned animes — work that has inspired generations of filmmakers and storytellers around the world.


In America at least, it was the 1988 anime based on this Katsuhiro Otomo manga series that wormed its way into a generation's consciousness. But that animated film, while widely credited as finding a new worldwide audience for the form, greatly simplified the satisfyingly byzantine plot of Otomo's original comics series. Oh, it kept the basics — kid in a post-World War III Tokyo biker gang gets psionic powers, only to be drawn into a mushrooming conflict involving rival gangs, shadowy government operatives, motorcycles and lots and lots of psychic explosions — but it cut out great swaths of the characters and subplots that made the manga so singularly immersive and unforgettable. Many Americans who loved the film dutifully sought out the comic, whetting their appetite for a lifelong love of manga.


This hugely popular manga series by Naoki Urasawa was inspired by a story arc in Osamu Tezuka's seminal Astro Boy. Urasawa recast one of that manga's most famous story arcs from the villain's point of view. In manga, of course, robots are thick on the ground, but this series examined the question of what it means to be human with a surprising emotional depth and served it all up under the guise of an addictively compelling murder mystery.

One Piece

This is the best-selling manga series of all time, launched in 1997 and still going strong. Written and drawn by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece is the frenetic and freewheeling tale of a boy named Monkey D. Luffy, leader of a gang of pirates on a world dominated by two vast oceans. Luffy and his crew seek the One Piece, the grand treasure that confers the title of King of All Pirates. Oda fuses fantasy, science fiction and old-fashioned pirate adventure – together with a deep mythology all his own (there are three kinds of Devil Fruit, see, which grant different powers to the person who eats them, but those powers get canceled if the person is ever submerged in water, because . )

Fullmetal Alchemist

Many manga series get freely adapted into other media, but Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist is the one to beat, having to date launched films, television series, novels, video games, audio dramas and . shadow puppets, probably? It's easy to see why: Set in a world that runs on rigidly structured rules of alchemy, two brothers who've attempted to resurrect their mother — an unforgivable overstepping of those immutable laws — must seek the philosopher's stone to undo the ensuing damage, which cost one brother an arm and the other brother . his entire body. (Don't worry: His soul gets bound to an armored chest plate he's good.) Dense, soaringly imaginative and — fitting for a tale that features the philosopher's stone — weirdly philosophical, Fullmetal Alchemist has a lot to say about the costs of war and human greed and the central importance of family.

Goodnight Punpun

You might think your life stinks but give thanks that you're not Punpun, the kid at the center of Inio Asano's surreal, cinematic manga. Well, we say kid, but Punpun (and his abusive parents) are actually crudely drawn, wordless cartoon birds, in contrast to the realistic world around him. The comic follows Punpun from childhood to early 20s, from quotidian silliness to dark, cynical violence — and while you could, if you had to, sum it up as a coming-of-age story, Goodnight Punpun is unlike pretty much anything else out there.

Graphic Nonfiction


The Story of a Childhood

Marjane Satrapi's curvaceous but spare black-and-white artwork is the perfect complement to this lyrical, mournful tale of growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Ten-year-old Marji struggles with wearing the veil, yet wants to be a prophet when she grows up. But as revolution and war turn her world upside down, she becomes increasingly rebellious (a chapter about new high-tops and a contraband Kim Wilde tape is a particular standout). Satrapi uses her own story as a backbone to tell the larger story of her family and of Iran itself, its rich culture and oppressive politics.

Fun Home

A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel's painfully funny — and frequently just painful — memoir of growing up with her closeted father has been made into a hit musical. But no stage show can capture the intricate, non-linear nature of Fun Home, which loops in and out of Bechdel's childhood, incorporating pop culture references, literary references, family photos and letters all rendered in her dense, textured line work. Like all great graphic novels, Fun Home's art demands to be read with as much care as its text.


by John Lewis , Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis tells his life story in the National Book Award-winning March, scripted by Andrew Aydin and expressively illustrated by Nate Powell. Lewis is the last person alive to have spoken at the 1963 March on Washington, and he offers a ground-level view of the civil rights struggle, packed with sympathetic but unsparing portraits of the movement's movers and shakers. Modeled on a comic that inspired Lewis himself — 1958's Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story — this is required reading for everyone who has only seen those years in old news footage. And everyone else, too.

Your Black Friend

Ben Passmore's slim, 11-page mini-comic is an open letter, written in the second person, consisting of a litany of gentle admonitions for well-meaning but racially tone-deaf white people: "Your black friend hates that you slide into 'black' presentations thoughtlessly. He feels like you're mocking him, but knows that you are totally unaware of this . Your black friend wishes you would play more than Beyonce. There are more black performers than Beyonce and he's worried you don't know that." That last sentiment is matched to a panel in which a clueless white guy sings along to "Formation," while his black friend shoots a hilariously weary side-eye at the reader. Your Black Friend is by far the shortest comic to make this list, but there is nothing slight about it. Beneath its sardonic tone lies a truth that is urgent, sincere and deeply affecting.

Understanding Comics

Scott McCloud's masterpiece is perhaps the nerdiest, most joyous, most enthusiastic treatise ever written. McCloud wants you to understand that the medium of comics is wholly unique, and it deserves respect. So McCloud's cartoony avatar walks the reader through the sundry techniques and theories, the craft of comics — or in his words, sequential art. There are moments of excess here — McCloud's passion for defining systems causes him to make the occasional distinction without a difference — but it is a worthy passion and produces a book that remains a comprehensive, authoritative and hugely useful tool for getting newbies to give comics a shot.

Hip Hop Family Tree

Ed Piskor's multivolume history of hip hop is rigorously researched, but lovingly so, and his devotion to the music radiates from every page. When panel judge Etelka Lehoczky reviewed Volume 3 for NPR in 2015, she praised Piskor's exuberant and narratively innovative art in particular: "Piskor uses every trick in the comic-book playbook to keep things taut and crackling. He varies figures' sizes, adds and subtracts different gradations of color and moves from realism to cartoony exaggeration. The Fearless Four, rapping 'Problems of the World Today,' are four heads bobbing in space. KRS-One's graffiti bounces off the page. The Fat Boys alternately lumber, loom and swell." It's a long-form history lesson that's infectiously fun — one that should be taught in schools.

Fantasy And Science Fiction

by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Wait, you're not ALREADY reading Saga? Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' sci-fi-fantasy-romance-war-adventure epic has taken the comics world by storm, and for good reason. Our heroes — she has wings, he has horns — are star-crossed lovers from opposing sides of an endless war, on the run across the galaxy with their infant daughter. There is magic, profanity, television-headed robots, intergalactic bounty hunters, ghostly baby-sitters and spaceship trees, all beautifully realized in Staples' distinctive digitally painted style. Saga will punch you right in the feels, and you will love every minute of it.

Shade, The Changing Man

by Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo

Writer Peter Milligan and artist Chris Bachalo hauled an old Steve Ditko character out of mothballs to lend him a defiantly weird, transgressive edge. Milligan set visiting alien Rac Shade on a cross-country quest to defeat the American Scream, a creature of raw, elemental chaos that manifested as the decaying corpse of Uncle Sam. Subtle? Nope. Neither was the violence (a serial killer figured largely — welcome to the '90s) nor Bachalo's trippy, swirling psychedelic images, in retina-sizzling colors. But then, the whole point of the series was to shake things up, to challenge and interrogate the rapidly calcifying tropes of superhero storytelling. What's more: Shade's sidekick was a trans woman, and Shade's shape-shifting powers caused him to evince an entirely literal genderfluidity that, with very few exceptions (the Morrison/Case Doom Patrol run, for example), just wasn't the stuff of superhero comics at the time.

The Incal

by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Moebius

It probably won't come as any surprise to fans of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky that he would write a soaring space opera set in a dystopian future filled with birdlike aliens, bounty hunters, flying cars, powerful crystals and "technopriests." Jodorowsky is a visionary director, and this series — which began as a serialized comic in the pages of the French comics magazine Metal Hurlant in 1981 — is nothing if not ambitious and richly imaginative. But it's the art of Jean Giraud (who published under the name Moebius) that makes this crime/sci-fi/fantasy mashup so singular. You might expect Jodorowsky's world of techno-tyranny to resemble the dank gloom of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. You would be wrong — Moebius' line work is crisp and clean and often comical, and Yves Chaland's bright, bold colors (so many yellows!) sizzle and pop. It's a combination of writer and artist that works in surprising, revelatory ways, opening up this world and inviting us to stay.


by Wendy Pini and Richard Pini

Elfquest is kind of a legend in the comics industry — it is one of the first creator-owned comics, and it has been running in one form or another since 1978. Also, the adventures of Cutter, Skywise and the Wolfriders (and their amazing hairdos) are absurdly addictive Wendy Pini's Tom of Finland-meets-Margaret Keane art and the fervid, earnest scripts she wrote with her husband, Richard, will keep you pinned to the page, far into the night.

The Sandman

by Neil Gaiman , Mike Dringenberg , Malcolm Jones III and Sam Kieth

Neil Gaiman is America's favorite nerd these days, but back in the late '80s, he was mostly known for fringe titles like Black Orchid and, well, writing a quickie biography of Duran Duran. And then he pitched DC Comics the idea of reviving an old character, the Sandman, and making him something completely new: A pale, tormented, goth-tacular Lord of the Dreaming who is rebuilding his kingdom after 70 years of occult captivity. Soapy, dramatic, mythic, gorgeous and sometimes terrifying, Sandman is the comic that fluttered the hearts of a million baby fans. (Plus, Death is adorable.)



The Dark Knight Returns

by Frank Miller , Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley

This is it: Frank Miller's 1986 magnum opus, the gold standard against which all Batman stories will forever be judged, for better or worse. Miller's tale of an aged Caped Crusader coming out of retirement to fight a new breed of criminal was deliberately set outside DC's continuity, which gave Miller lots of room to play. The result is big and operatic (think Rambo meets Wagner's Ring Cycle). But it's also grim and gritty and helped usher in an era of dark, brooding heroes that remains the default superhero mode. It became such a hit both in and outside comics circles that readers of in-continuity Batman hungered to bring the book's dark vision of future Batman an in-canon reality, voting by phone to kill off Robin in 1988.

Black Panther

by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze

The announcement that Marvel contracted Ta-Nehisi Coates to write a Black Panther series was cause for excitement in and out of comics circles. (The fact that he was to be paired with veteran artist Brian Stelfreeze didn't hurt — although that excitement may not have spread beyond comics nerds.) The task Coates set for himself was a tough one: He had to pick up the pieces following Marvel's latest Secret Wars crossover event, establish a new status quo and then go on to tell a compelling story. Coates is a longtime comics fan, but this was his debut effort in the medium. The result is dense — prose writers who come to comics tend to load up their word balloons to the bursting point — but offers a fresh take: He explores Black Panther the king, not the hero, forced to make a series of unpopular choices that turn his people against him. Chewy, resonant stuff.

Ms. Marvel

by Adrian Alphona and G. Willow Wilson

Obviously, our judge G. Willow Wilson recused herself from this part of the debate. But there's no question about it: Readers (and the rest of the judges) love Wilson's version of Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan was an ordinary Muslim teenager in Jersey City — and a Captain Marvel fangirl — when an alien mist turned her into a shape-shifting superhero. Now, she has to balance school, friends and her loving-but-overprotective family, while saving the world. And like any kid, she doesn't always get it right. Ms. Marvel is a marvel — sensitively written, gorgeously drawn and, for a part-alien superhero, always achingly real.

The Vision

by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Writer Tom King carved himself an out-of-the-way patch of Marvel Universe real estate — a seemingly bucolic DC suburb — and deposited everyone's favorite android-created-for-evil-who-turned-out-to-be-a-good-guy, The Vision, squarely inside it. King also doubled down on Vision's long-established hunger to be human by having him create a domestic life for himself — robowife, robokids, robodog, robo-white picket fence. And then, beset by the forces of intolerance lurking in the community, everything proceeds to go to hell. Gabriel Hernandez Walta's art creates a golden-hued, Eisenhower-era suburban paradise poisoned by fear and hate, and King's command of this tight, 12-issue story is masterful. It's a sad and haunting read that will stay with you.

Wonder Woman

by Gail Simone and Amanda Deibert

Wonder Woman's much-buzzed-about movie may have granted her a bit of a popular-vote groundswell, but there wasn't much agreement on which run of comics from her long and storied life should make the final cut. Arguments were made for her debut comics, which remain bracingly weird George Perez's mid-'80s reboot Greg Rucka's tenure, when he turned her into a kind of superpowered diplomat and Brian Azzarello's recent turn, in which he recast the Olympian gods as rival crime families. Ultimately, it was Gail Simone's run on the character (especially her four-issue launch tale, The Circle, with art by Terry and Rachel Dodson) that best managed to nail Diana's iconography by depicting her as powerful as we know her to be and as compassionate as we need her to be.

Astro City

by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson

At once a sprawling adventure anthology and a witty metariff on the long, whimsical history of the superhero genre, Astro City offers a bracingly bright rejoinder to "grim-and-gritty" superhero storytelling. Writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson — with Alex Ross supplying character designs and painted covers — don't merely people their fictional metropolis with analogues of notable heroes, though there are plenty of those on hand. The universe they've created pays loving homage to familiar characters and storylines even as it digs deep to continually invent new stories and feature new perspectives. Astro City is a hopeful place that dares to believe in heroes, sincerely and unabashedly reading it, you will too.

Saga Of The Swamp Thing

by Alan Moore , Steve R. Bissette and John Totleben

Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson created Swamp Thing for DC Comics in 1972, a muck-monster who owed a lot to Marvel's similarly swampy Man-Thing created the year before. But Alan Moore's tenure on the character, beginning in 1984, redefined the character in a fundamental and groundbreaking way, turning him into arguably the most powerful hero in the DC Universe, albeit one shot through with the darkest elements of gothic horror. Penciler Stephen Bissette and inker John Totleben's images seemed to float in that darkness, imbuing Moore's literally epic tale (Swampy visits both Hell and outer space) with a sense of dread and foreboding, even when that tale involved Swamp Thing communing with Evil itself . by walking into its giant fingernail. Yeah, look, you really have to read it.

Gotham Central

by Greg Rucka , Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark

This sadly short-lived cult hit should have been a mainstream one. Gotham Central's ingenious conceit: What is life like for the men and women of Gotham City's police force — and the citizens they protect? Writer Greg Rucka told tales of the day shift, Ed Brubaker the night, and both were penciled (originally, anyway) by Michael Lark, whose hatchy line work imbued America's most dangerous municipality with a grubby, lived-in feel. Batman and his rogues gallery showed up around the edges — the GCPD dealt with the sometimes horrific aftermath of their clashes — but this was a gripping, character-oriented police procedural, a nuanced look at life beyond the cape.

God Loves, Man Kills

by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson

Given the enduring power of writer Chris Claremont's long and hugely influential run on the X-Men series, it was inevitable that some of that work would end up on this list. But frankly, the judging panel expected people to nominate one of his go-to X-Men story arcs — Days of Future Past, say, or The Dark Phoenix Saga, which is what most people think of when they think "X-Men." The fact that this odd outlier — a one-off, 1982 graphic novel written by Claremont with art by Brent Anderson that has flitted in and out of official X-continuity — got the most votes came as a surprise. A pleasant one: This is a story, after all, in which much of the X-Men's subtext becomes text. Xavier teams up with Magneto to defeat not a supervillain, but a preacher who is whipping up a hate campaign against mutants. It became the basis, albeit a freely adapted one, for Bryan Singer's second X-Men film.


Agents of H.A.T.E.

by Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen

"It's like Shakespeare! But with lots more punching! It's like Goethe! But with lots more crushing!" Okay, well, no, but you have to admit that the Marvel Z-listers who make up the Nextwave team have a way better theme song than any other superheroes. This is Warren Ellis at his silliest and most joyful, complemented by Stuart Immonen's gorgeously angular line work. It's an over-the-top parody of the Marvel universe, the antidote to grim 'n' gritty and the perfect book to press into the hands of anyone who says they hate superheroes.

DC: The New Frontier

by Dave Stewart and Darwyn Cooke

The late Darwyn Cooke's bright, gorgeous love letter to DC Comics' superheroes is a marvel of raw logistics as much as storytelling. Cooke crams just about every DC character, including some real deep-benchers (The Challengers of the Unknown, anyone?), into a sprawling tale of alien invasion and sets it all in the gleaming American Space Age. Every page bristles with color and action — and crisp midcentury design — but there's more to it than crew cuts and car fins. Amid all this shiny, Silver Age hopefulness, Cooke finds time to linger over the less-than-glossy elements of the time: the specters of racism and war hang over the book, admitting nuance and context to his primary-colored spectacle. He also plumbs new emotional depths in characters who have never gotten their time in the spotlight, like J'onn J'onzz, the haunted, sensitive Manhunter from Mars. Plus, there are dinosaurs. So. I mean.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

Eats nuts! Kicks butts! Ryan North and Erica Henderson's revival of an obscure '90s Marvel comic relief character is pure joy on paper. Computer science student Doreen Green has a secret superpower: She can talk to squirrels. Also, she has a tail. With college roommate Nancy and sidekicks Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk, Doreen uses a combination of tail tricks, computer savvy and irrepressible cheer to beat up pretty much every baddie who comes her way. (Also, you'll have to squint, but North's jokey footnotes are not to be missed.)


There is no one like Mike Mignola — his thick, angular, shadowy lines are instantly recognizable, almost like a silent movie in comic form. And Hellboy is a singular creation, a good-natured demon (who smells like roasted peanuts) brought to Earth as a baby by Nazi occultists during World War II and then raised as a normal boy by a kindly professor. So, just an everyday kid, then. Mignola's dry humor plays beautifully against Hellboy's fantastical adventures, and there is a LOT to explore in the universe he has created over decades of writing and drawing.

All Star Superman

by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

On the book's much-admired opening page, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely distill Superman's origin into four images and eight words: "Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple." That same approach carries through the 12-issue series, as Morrison conflates decades of Superman's history — including some of the goofiest heights of Silver Age whimsy — to craft a story of the Man of Steel's final days that finds the character's essence and makes it compelling. Quitely's Superman doesn't look like any you've seen before (which is a neat trick, given Supes' longevity). He is a towering, barrel-chested galoot who manages to radiate kindness and compassion, exactly the way he should. Also: Quitely's super-suit wrinkles at the armpits and bags a bit at the knees, which turns this familiar object of pop culture iconography back into what it originally was: a circus outfit. A costume.


by Matt Fraction , David Aja and Javier Pulido

Aww, coffee! Matt Fraction and David Aja's run on Hawkeye turned a Marvel also-ran into a real superstar (okay, the Avengers movie probably helped, but still). This version of Clint Barton has no secret identity — Fraction's idea was to make him just an everyday dude, dealing with aging and divorce and everything that happens while he is not being an Avenger. Aja's artwork is dramatic but unglamorous, and Matt Hollingsworth's muted, retro colors drive home Hawkeye's workaday charm. Plus Kate Bishop and Pizza Dog. Need we say more?

Newspaper Strips

Krazy Kat

Love in a Kestle or Love in a Hut

Krazy Kat was never popular the way some of its contemporaries were. It was too weird, too aimless, too surreal and, frankly, too utterly fabulous. Luckily, it had one very important fan: newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, who kept the strip running for decades, until creator George Herriman died in 1944. Herriman's gender-fluid cat, his brick-hurling mouse, his looping, unique vernacular and his graphic imagination make Krazy Kat one of the greatest comic strips of all time. A kat, a mouse, a brick — a timeless love story.

Calvin And Hobbes

Sometimes called "the last great newspaper comic," Calvin and Hobbes barely needs an introduction. But we'll try anyhow: There's an imaginative little boy, his snarky stuffed tiger, his dubious parents and a lovingly warped universe of cardboard box spaceships, art, philosophy rule-bending ballgames, noir adventures and horrifying snowmen. "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy . Let's go exploring!"

Walt Kelly's lushly illustrated comic strip contained multitudes. On the surface, a bunch of funny-animal swamp denizens traded quips in a thick Southern patois for 27 years. But every panel was packed with visual — and often quite literal — poetry. Groanworthy puns jostled alongside more sophisticated, allusive wordplay, all informed by the beating heart of a wry humanist who often couched stinging political allegory within the lazy antics of a philosophical opossum and his friends. Kelly's characters managed to broadly parody humanity's manifold ills — our greed, our self-importance, our disregard for the natural world — even as they celebrated what this hugely influential cartoonist saw as our essential good-heartedness.

Dykes To Watch Out For

This is the strip that gave the world "The Bechdel Test." Before Alison Bechdel broke through with Fun Home, she spent years honing her craft on this beloved cult comic, one of the earliest representations of lesbian life in pop culture. Over more than 20 years, Mo, Sydney, Lois, Toni and Clarice and the rest of the gang grow and change, pair up and split up, argue about politics, culture and gender (and pretty much everything else, honestly) until they seem more real and rooted than a lot of people who aren't made up of lines on paper.

Bloom County

Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts! The original run of Berke Breathed's '80s strip is one of the most quotable comics of all time. A mix of pointed political and cultural satire and gentle, meadows-and-dandelions sentiment, Bloom County began with a bunch of misfits in a Midwestern boardinghouse but expanded to poke fun at everything from presidential politics to penguin lust. And with the introduction of Bill the Cat in 1982, discerning comics fans got an epic riposte to that other orange feline cartoon titan, Garfield. Ack oop!

Mary Perkins On Stage

Volume 1

Our panelist Maggie Thompson particularly wanted to include this charming 1950s comic about life backstage on Broadway. Other postwar soap opera strips are still running — think Mary Worth or Judge Parker — but Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins won critical acclaim for its finely drawn panels and memorable characters. "The favorite of many (ME! ME!) was Maximus," Thompson says, "a horror movie star obviously based on Christopher Lee . What we learn in his first story: He puts on his makeup for daily life for his horror roles, he takes it off. What's not to love?"


If you tend to lump the late Charles Schulz's long-running series alongside its fellow funny-page denizens — all those bright, breezy kiddie-fare strips — then hoo boy, it has been a long time since you read it. Sure, Charlie Brown and the gang are drawn in Schulz's distinctively (and deceptively) simple, big-head/button-nose style, but the Peanuts sensibility is shot through with an anxious species of melancholy that's achingly recognizable — it's nothing less than the human condition. Peanuts characters worry about their lot in life, they cling to coping mechanisms, they get depressed, they develop unrequited crushes, and, again and again, they get duped into trusting that they'll be able to kick a football (Spoiler: They will not). Yet sometimes — only sometimes, and only if they're Snoopy, the one Peanuts character who is completely comfortable in his skin — they dance. In Peanuts, as in life, that kind of joy descends only in fitful bursts, but descend it does, and it's enough.

Little Lulu

Created in 1935 by cartoonist Marjorie Henderson Buell for The Saturday Evening Post, Little Lulu — a tough, resourceful girl with her hair in ringlets — went on to a long life as a newspaper strip and in comic books written (and drawn, at least initially) by John Stanley. Television, toys, films and international fame followed, keying off the strength and charm of Stanley's take, in which she was transformed from a typical comics-page irascible scamp into a scrappy young girl who always had her friends' backs (well, mostly). For decades, Little Lulu's presence on the comics page meant that millions habitually read the adventures of a young girl who consistently bested — outsmarted, outplayed and outmaneuvered — boys. It may not have been the sole reason for her runaway popularity. But it helped.

Ernie Pook's Comeek

Lynda Barry remembers what it's like to be a kid with a vividness and emotionality that the rest of us have irrevocably lost. All the confusion and logical leaps and frustrations of not being heard, all the hormonal hoops that puberty forces us to jump through — it's all still so richly available to her, and for years, in the syndicated strip Ernie Pook's Comeek, which appeared in alt-weeklies across the nation, she laid it all out on the page. To read her characters' adventures — many of which read like breathlessly confessional diary entries — is to feel the shock of recognition, again and again: young Marlys, blissfully unself-conscious, for now anyway older Maybonne, yearning, aching to be cool and poor lost Freddie, overmatched by the world. Their family life is hard — Barry never turns away from pain and heartbreak — but they find joy in music, and in creating something, even if it's just a daisy-chain tiara or a rubber-band ball.

Thimble Theater

Did you know that Olive Oyl was created years before Popeye? Elzie Crisler Segar had been drawing Thimble Theatre for 10 years when he came up with the character of Popeye the Sailor Man originally it was about Olive, her brother Castor and her boyfriend Ham Gravy. But one day, Castor needed someone take him out to an island — and there on the docks was Popeye. He was only supposed to be a minor character, but readers loved him so much, Segar brought him back. The rest is history (and rather a large quantity of spinach).

Web Comics

Bad Machinery/Scary Go Round

John Allison just announced that he's bringing an end to his Tackleford strips — the series of stories that began as Bobbins back in the internet Dark Ages (think 1998) and morphed into Scary Go Round and eventually became Bad Machinery, a kid detective strip featuring the younger siblings of the original cast. But luckily for you, they'll all stay up online and you can discover for yourself the magic Allison makes out of a humdrum fictional British town and a bunch of aimless 20-somethings. His art is constantly changing and evolving – but one thing stays the same: The rhythms of his dialogue are entirely his own, and they'll stick in your head until after a few pages you're thinking in the same cadences as the characters.

The Nib

After some discussion, the judging panel nixed the idea of singling out specific comics on thenib.com, (which you really should bookmark, like, yesterday), a one-stop shop, overseen by cartoonist Matt Bors, for a daily mix of nonfiction comics narrative and political cartooning – often, both at once. The Nib offers a bracing reminder, to those who need it, that comics as a medium can tell urgent, controversial, hugely vital stories in ways no other medium can. If your local newspaper's editorial cartoons strike you as fusty and predictable, click over to The Nib and poke around.


David Malki ! (Yes, that exclamation is supposed to be there — he considers it an honorific like "Ph.D.") creates Wondermark from his own personal collection of old books, 19th century woodcuts and engravings, taking starched-collar gentlemen and ruffle-laden ladies and putting funny, profane monologues in their mouths, about everything from the gig economy to personal insecurities to Where's Waldo. Just watch out for Mr. Meanscary, the alien disguised as a puppy butt.

Hark! A Vagrant

Ever wanted to go dude-watchin' with the Brontes? Had an unhealthy fascination with obscure Canadian history? Really been annoyed at physically impossible female superhero costumes? Have we got a comic for you! Kate Beaton's deliriously silly (when it isn't giving you all the feels) Hark! A Vagrant is one of those comics that makes you feel smarter for having read it — and then makes you head to the bookshelf to catch up with her universe of literary and historical references. Her beady-eyed characters smirk and caper, her rubbery lines dance all over the screen, and she can use a word like "velocipedestrienne" and make you love it.


"Web comic" isn't quite the phrase to describe Andrew Hussie's Homestuck, which is more of an interconnected star system of stories, crossed with a choose your own adventure game, liberally salted with animated GIFs and chat logs and all kinds of ephemera. Readers loved this story, which starts with a kid in his bedroom, playing a beta copy of an unreleased video game — and then a meteor shower hits his house. He and his friends soon learn that by playing the game they've accidentally triggered the end of the universe — and what's more, they have to use the same game to play a new universe into existence. And did we mention that in the world of Homestuck, internet trolls are actually trolls?

As The Crow Flies

Melanie Gillman's gentle colored pencils belie the seriousness of their story about Charlie, a black teenager who's questioning her sexuality — and whose parents send her to a pretty dangerous place: An all-white Christian summer camp. Charlie bonds with Sydney, a trans girl, as the campers hike toward a mysterious mountaintop ceremony, and Gillman uses their growing friendship to illustrate, in a beautifully organic way, the challenges gay and trans kids face on a daily basis.

Oh Joy Sex Toy (Adult Content)

Erica Moen and Matthew Nolan's charmingly NSFW Web comic began as a review of sex toys (starting, of course, with the legendary Hitachi Magic Wand) but has branched out into a friendly and accessible clearinghouse of information on everything from consent to polycystic ovary syndrome — often illustrated by well-known guest artists like Lucy Knisley and Trudy Cooper. Our judge Spike Trotman also points out that Oh Joy is an invaluable resource for teens growing up in areas where accurate sex education is not on the curriculum.

Stand Still Stay Silent

In possibly one of the most beautiful comics ever created, for web or otherwise, Minna Sundberg sets her story in a post-apocalyptic Scandinavia, 90 years after a plague turns most of Northern Europe into "The Silent World," teeming with monsters and magic. No one wants to venture outside the few safe spaces . until now, when one ragtag research crew sets off into the unknown. Sundberg's art, tinged with Nordic mythology, helps fill out a frozen world with elaborate, loving detail — check out this language tree she created to help set the stage for her story.

Check, Please!

This is possibly the cutest, sweetest thing you'll read all year — and we absolutely mean that as a compliment. Ngozi Ukazu writes and draws this Web comic about Eric "Bitty" Bittle, a former figure skating champion (and avid baker) who joins his college hockey team and finds love with his handsome team captain — and loving acceptance from his fellow players. She has also created a world of ephemera, from social media accounts for her characters to an ongoing supplementary series explaining hockey jargon. You might have thought a comic about a gay, pie-baking college hockey player would be too obscure, too specific. You would be wrong.

Gunnerkrigg Court

Tom Siddell's Gunnerkrigg Court is one of the grand old dames of the Web comic world, so if you're into magic, mythology and goth-tinged boarding school hijinks (Harry Potter fans, I'm looking at you), there are years' worth of strips to dig into. Young Antimony Carver arrives at her new boarding school, Gunnerkrigg Court, and almost immediately stumbles into a mystery involving a second shadow, mysterious woods and a possessed robot. Self-possessed Annie and her best friend, tech genius Katerina, play well off each other as they explore the Court's secrets, and Siddell's art evolves along with their friendship.

Kill Six Billion Demons

Cartoonist Tom Parkinson-Morgan sometimes goes by Abbadon, which is a pretty good name for the creator of this popular Web comic about an ordinary barista who — in the middle of an awkward encounter with her boyfriend — is suddenly transported to the ancient, chaotic city of Throne, built of god-corpses, center of the omniverse, and apparently, the place she's destined to rule. Once she finds her boyfriend . and kills six billion demons. Layered with myth, fantasy and religion, every page of KSBD is an offering, but to which god, no one knows.

O Human Star

Alastair Sterling, robotics pioneer, has been dead for 16 years. And now he is somehow alive again, in a synthetic replica of his original body, in a world where robots have advanced in a way he never dreamed of — and where his old partner and lover has made yet another version of him . this time as a young girl. Blue Delliquanti's warm, organic lines and frequently wordless panels blur the same boundaries between machine and human that her characters are carefully, painfully trying to work out.

The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (Adult Content)

This road trip romance gets off to an explosive start: In one day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his disapproving parents, blacks out drunk and wakes up the next morning to find TJ making eggs in his kitchen. Amal has to get from Berkeley to Providence for his sister's college graduation — so he and TJ make a deal: TJ pays, Amal drives. As they get further across the country and closer to Amal's family, what began as random circumstance deepens into friendship — and then something significantly more intimate.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

One of the few comics our readers chose that doesn't have an ongoing story, SMBC is your one one-stop shop for daily jokes about science, politics, relationships, deconstructing The Wizard of Oz and pretty much anything else creator Zach Weinersmith sets his pen to. Plus, you can click the big red button underneath each strip for an extra joke!


Evan Dahm's mesmerizing tale of a nomadic tribe — Those Marked in White — whose unchanging existence is turned upside down by the arrival of a colonizing empire. Imperial soldiers take a young tribal girl, Vattu, as tribute back in their capital city, she learns there's far more to the world than endless marches through the grasslands after game. The comic moves slowly some panels are completely wordless, but you'll be drawn in by its story of culture clash and colonization, and Dahm's wildly imaginative world building. Ancient Rome with strange dog-snake centurions? Yes please.

All Ages


Our judges had a hard time picking just one Raina Telgemeier book, but eventually we settled on the gorgeous, heart-tugging Ghosts. Cat and her family move to the beach town of Bahia de la Luna in the hopes that the air there will be better for her little sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. The town turns out to be full of gentle ghosts, and Maya wants nothing more than to meet one — but Cat can't face even the idea of death.

Castle Waiting

What happens when Sleeping Beauty wakes up and rides into the sunset with her magically appointed prince? She leaves behind a castle full of faithful retainers with no idea what to do without her. Linda Medley's lovely Castle Waiting picks up from there, with a band of ragtag refugees from assorted fairy tales making a new life for themselves in the titular castle. Medley's graceful black-and-white art will transport you to a world of bearded ladies, bouncy demons, noble-horse-men and strange little creatures chittering in the corner — plus Beauty's forgotten handmaidens, now elderly and comically querulous. Castle Waiting is a quest well worth going on.

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang's much-praised 2006 book contains three stories — a retelling of the legend of the Chinese Monkey King, a tale of a second-generation child of Chinese immigrants attempting to navigate a white suburban school and a story about a white boy embarrassed by his visiting Chinese cousin. The disparate narratives link up in surprising, revelatory ways, and along the way, Yang interrogates the sundry many Asian stereotypes that Western culture has absorbed and tracks how his characters confront them. The result is an intriguing mashup that borrows from sources as disparate as Fu Manchu stories, political cartoons, John Hughes movies, Marvel comics and cheesy sitcoms to show characters pushing through self-hatred to craft their own identities.

Carl Barks' Disney Ducks

In the early days of Disney, artists weren't allowed to sign their names to comics — everything just said "Walt Disney." But there was one artist whose skill was so apparent that fans started calling him the "Good Duck Artist," until someone uncovered his real name: Carl Barks. Barks' elastic lines and expressive faces seem to almost bounce out of the panels on his pages his scripts were complex and sensitive and marvelously silly. And if you're a fan of the cartoon DuckTales, you have much to thank Barks for — he is the guy that invented Scrooge McDuck. Pretty much any Carl Barks is good Carl Barks, but our judges feel this particular collection, which includes "Christmas on Bear Mountain" and "The Old Castle's Secret" is a great place to start.

Zita The Spacegirl

Our readers really loved Ben Hatke's charming story of a young girl who ends up on a strange planet after trying to rescue her best friend from an alien cult (that might have come to Earth because Zita found a big red mystery button, pressed it and created a rift in space). Torn away in a moment from everything she knows on earth, Zita becomes an interstellar adventurer, saving planets, battling aliens (the Star Hearts only sound nice . they're really not) and escaping dungeons. Hatke's cute-but-not-cloying art stretches from realistic to truly weird, creating a delightful backdrop for Zita's heroics.


After her father dies, Emily and her family move to a strange old house in a new town, where she discovers an amulet in the library where her great grandfather once worked. Does it open the way to a brand new world of magic and peril? You bet it does. Emily ventures into the land of Alledia to save her mother, who has been attacked by a monster — but she stays to become a member of the resistance to the sinister Elf King, in Kazu Kibuishi's story that is a charming mashup of everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. Plus, the house can walk, which is pretty cool.

El Deafo

by Cece Bell and David Lasky

Cece Bell's autobiographical account of growing up deaf was an NPR Book Concierge pick a few years ago, and clearly our readers haven't forgotten it. After losing her hearing to a bout of meningitis at the age of 4, Bell struggled. But when a new hearing aid gave her some interesting abilities, she began to think of herself as a superhero, El Deafo. Bell depicts herself and everyone around her as rabbits their large ears a smart reminder of the importance of hearing in this story — and their speech bubbles the perfect way to convey all the ways sound can change and warp with hearing aids. El Deafo isn't all sweetness and light — Bell doesn't shy away from the difficulties she's facing. But it is genuinely positive, and often hilarious.

Inspired by cartoons like Pogo and Carl Barks' work for Disney, Jeff Smith's gentle, multiple-award-winning epic follows cousins Fone Bone, scheming Phoney Bone and goofy Smiley Bone — strange little large-nosed cartoon critters — who get run out of their hometown when one of Phoney's plots goes wrong. They go on a Tolkienesque odyssey, eventually ending up in a mysterious valley threatened by the dark Lord of the Locusts. Smith began drawing Fone and his cousins when he was only 5 years old — and this is, in fact, a great comic to start your little readers on.

Last, But Not Least

Action Comics (1938-2011) #1

by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

This is it, the comic book that launched a character and a craze and ultimately — among many other things — the state of our modern cinematic reality. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman leapt — literally — onto the scene in a patently ridiculous circus strongman outfit to save a wronged man from execution. Along the way, he beat up a wife abuser, rescued a tough girl reporter from a kidnapping attempt and secretly wooed that same reporter while wearing a clever (your mileage may vary on this point) disguise. Shuster's art wasn't big on detail — his eyes were slits, his mouth an em-dash — but it conveyed a tremendous sense of power and (thanks to the addition of a cape, snapping behind him as he jumped through the air) speed. Few remember the other characters who shared the pages of Action Comics #1 with Superman (Sticky-Mitt Stimson, anyone? Pep Morgan? Scoop Scanlon?), but he's still with us, in the ether, having pervaded the consciousness of the entire world. Yes, a couple less-than-stellar movies might have roughed him up a bit of it, but Superman can take it. He'll come back he'll persevere. That's his whole shtick.

Jack Sket &bull Home Page

The Visual Novel Adaptation of the 2013 animation by the Great Makoto Shinkai, The Garden Of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa), The Visual Novel Tells the Same story as the Movie, 'Is Age Gap Romance really possible?' It Puts the Question in the minds of the reader, Using the Scenes and Cutscenes and even the Soundtrack of the Movie, This Visual Novel will Surely Leave an Imprint in the Minds of the Readers Is it Fate that made A Boy, Who wants to be a Shoemaker and A Woman who is skipping work due to unknown reasons, made them meet? How will their story unfold?

Harmful to Minors

There are a lot of things Moral Guardians believe kids should not be exposed to, and that doesn't just include violence and bad language. Issues such as sexuality, death of loved ones, bad guys winning, horrific historical events, and other things are generally kept from kids until they're considered mature enough to understand them, or at least handled with extreme sensitivity. Because Children Are Innocent.

But sometimes a kid comes across something kids shouldn't see anyway. Maybe the kid accidentally opens the parents' bedroom door while they're getting it on. Maybe the kid has a parent who dies violently before their eyes. Maybe some other thing happens that throws the kid into the harsh realities of life before they're ready. Expect at least one image of Blood-Splattered Innocents.

Often used as a Freudian Excuse for iniquitous characters.

Note that this isn't about what is or isn't harmful to minors in real life. Plot device, people.


Many animal stereotypes reflect anthropomorphic notions unrelated to animals' true behaviors. Some stereotypes are based on mistaken or grossly oversimplified impressions spotted hyenas, for example, commonly portrayed as cowardly scavengers, are efficient pack hunters with complex social structures.


  • The bloodthirsty or evil bat
    • Since the dawn of humanity people have been scared of bats due to their appearance and the fact that they, due to being nocturnal animals, are mostly active at night. In many cultures bats were seen as bad omens and symbols of fear and death. Witches are often portrayed in the company of bats, demons have bat-like wings and vampires are traditionally shown to be able to transform themselves into bats.
    • The image of the blood sucking bat is mostly based on vampire stories. Among the 1,000 species only three species feed on blood and are therefore called "vampire bat"s, namely the common bat, white-winged vampire bat and the hairy-legged vampire bat, who all live only in Central and South America. [2]
    • Examples of evil bats: Dracula, Fidget from The Great Mouse Detective, Darkwing in Kamen Rider Knight, Velifer in BIMA Satria Garuda, Bats, Bats: Human Harvest, Bat Boy


    • The hard-working beaver
      • This image is based on the fact that beavers are always building dams and led to the expression "busy as a beaver"
      • Examples: Toothy, and Handy from Happy Tree Friends, Norbert and Daggett from The Angry Beavers, Beaver from Franklin the Turtle, the beavers from Open Season, the beaver in Lady and the Tramp, Ed and Willem Bever in De Fabeltjeskrant
      • The cool, sly, charming and clever cat
        • Cats are crafty hunters who will sneak upon their prey.
        • In Ancient Egypt they were seen as holy creatures and worshipped. Bastet and Sekhmet were cat goddesses. See also Cats in ancient Egypt.
        • During the jazz era slick men would be nicknamed "cool cats" or "hep cats".
        • Examples: Puss in Boots, Cheshire Cat, Felix the Cat, Tom Puss, The Hep Cat, Top Cat, The Cat in the Hat, Fritz the Cat, The Aristocats, Blacksad, .
        • Cats are often portrayed as female, as opposed to dogs who are usually made their male counterpart. The feminine feline is a result of the gracious and elegant behaviour of real cats, which humans associated with females. In many languages "pussy" is both an affectionate nickname for female partners as well as a slang term for vagina. The word cougar is slang for an older woman with a younger male partner. Negative stereotypes about women also often have the word "cat" attached to them, such as a catfight. In a lot of Furry fandom stories cats tend to be the most prominent animals to be sexualized. In Japanese culture the legendary nekomata is a cat who at a certain age grows another tail, stands up and speaks in a human language. These cats too are often portrayed as women. Similarly, whenever women in popular culture take an animal guise or disguise it's usually a cat.
        • Examples: Penelope Pussycat, Duchess, Doddeltje in Tom Puss, Catwoman, Omaha the Cat Dancer, .
        • Examples: Tom Kitten, the cats in the paintings of Louis Wain, Tabitha Twitchit, Figaro, the kitty in Bad Luck Blackie, Poussy, Pussyfoot, the little kittens in The Aristocats, Tom Poes, Musti, Hello Kitty, Billy the Cat, Garnet
        • The Garfield character Nermal and the Krypto the Superdog character Snooky Wookums are ironic representations of this stereotype
        • On the Internet many images and short videos portray cute cats, see The Internet and cats and especially The Lolcat, who is typically portrayed as unable to use proper grammar, spelling and general proper use of the English language.
        • Cats tend to sleep in the day and go out hunting at night.
        • Examples: Fat Freddy's Cat, Garfield, Bill the Cat, Eek! the Cat, Stimpy
        • Cats are quite anti-social animals in human eyes, preferring to go out and mind their own business. Since cats hunt mice, a much smaller animal, humans' sympathy has always gone to the mouse rather than the cat, despite mice being considered vermin by most people. A cruel game where the hunter teases his victim before finally striking him is called a "cat-and-mouse game" in many languages. The concept is based on the behavior that real cats often display before killing their prey and which is often misunderstood as cruel torture. In reality it's just an instinctive imperative to make sure their prey is weak enough to be killed. [7]
        • Cats are often depicted eating mice, while they also hunt other small creatures. Yet, especially in children's stories, comic strips and cartoons, cats are predominantly portrayed as the sworn rival, threat or enemy of mice. Examples: the Belling the cat fable, Krazy Kat and Ignatz, Mickey Mouse and Pegleg Pete, Tom and Jerry, Jaq, Gus and Lucifer, Herman and Katnip, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, Leopold the Cat and Mitya and Motya, Squeak the Mouse, Itchy and Scratchy
        • Examples of villainous cats: Pegleg Pete, Tom from Tom and Jerry, Azrael, Si and Am, the cats in An American Tail, Sylvester, Mr. Jinks, Catbert, Sénéchal, Lucifer, Meowth, The Cat from Pinocchio, The Cat from Hell, Blanche in the film "House"
        • In some cultures cats are believed to bring good luck. In Japan, for instance, the legendary maneki neko is a symbol of good fortune. Sailors often preferred to bring a black ship's cat along with them. Anarchists have used it as their symbol. And there is also the ancient belief that cats have multiple lives, which explains how they manage to survive so many unfortunate situations. In many countries cat's lives are traditionally believed to be nine, but in Italy, Germany, Greece and some Spanish-language regions it's said to be seven, [8] while in Turkish and Arabic traditions it's six. [9] The idea of cat's luck is also based on the fact that falling cats often land on their feet, using an instinctive righting reflex to twist their bodies around. Despite this ability they can still be injured or killed by a high fall. [10]
        • In Western culture ancient superstition depicted black cats as bringing bad luck. One medieval superstition claimed that cats could kill human infants by sucking their breath, which is impossible as cats cannot fully close their lips. [11] However, unlucky black cats are mostly a superstition found in Catholic countries. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Asia black cats are seen as bringers of good luck.
        • Examples of "bad luck" black cats: The Black Cat, Bad Luck Blackie
        • In medieval Europe black cats were also associated with witches. Many believed them to be demons in disguise.
        • Examples of black cats as witches' pets: Graymalkin, cat of the three witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth", Cosmic Creepers, Gobbolino, Salem, .
        • From the saying "curiosity killed the cat", which also bears little truth in reality. [12]
        • Examples: The Cat Came Back, Dikkie Dik, Eek! The Cat, Scratchy
        • While many cats prefer to lick themselves clean rather than be washed they can enjoy a bath if the water isn't too cold or too hot. Some cat species have water-resistant coats and thus don't mind swimming, like the Maine Coon and the Turkish Van. Bigger cats like tigers and jaguars also love swimming. [13]
        • While cats adore to drink milk, the kind available in supermarkets often contain little fat, which makes it difficult for them to digest. Like all infant mammals, kittens are born able to digest the main sugar in milk, lactose. Adult cats lack the enzyme that enables them to digest it, so they risk ending up with an upset stomach. [12]
        • Examples: The Dutch song "Poesie Mauw" ("Pussy Meow") is about someone calling a kitten because he has tasty milk for him.


        • The aggressive bull who attacks everyone and everything with the color red
          • This stereotype can be found in many comic strips and cartoons and is based on bullfighting where the bullfighter taunts the bull by waving a small red cape (muleta). This has led to the urban legend that bulls will attack anything in the color red. In reality bulls attack the waving cape instead of the color. The reason those capes have the color red is its association with blood and the tradition itself. Cattle are dichromats, so red does not stand out as a bright color. [14][15][16]
          • In popular culture all bulls used for bullfighting will be called "El Toro", which is simply Spanish for "the bull".
          • Bulls have been used in many European coats of arms and weapon shields
          • In Greek mythology the Minotaur was a monster who was a man with a bull's head.
            • Examples: Man-Bull, .
            • Examples: Apis, Io, the Sacred bull, Bulls of Guisando, the Cretan bull, Camahueto, Kamadhenu, Khalkotauroi, Ox in Chinese mythology, Nandi, Ushi-oni, Auðumbla, Glas Gaibhnenn, .
              • More modern examples of powerful bulls: Babe the Blue Ox, Ferdinand in The Story of Ferdinand, the logo of basketball team Chicago Bulls
              • Since cattle seem to do nothing more than stand in grassy fields, obstruct traffic and stare at everything passing by, people have portrayed them as characters who are not very bright.
              • In many languages being called "a stupid cow" or "dumb calf" is an insult. Being "treated as cattle" or expressing a "herd mentality" are also pejorative expressions.
              • The urban legend of cow tipping is also based on this perception.
              • Example in fiction: Heffer Wolfe.
              • Examples: The Laughing Cow, Elsie the Cow and the Milka cow.
              • Because cows provide humans with essence that can be used to make dairy products, it's also led to the image of the cash cow, when someone or something is financially lucrative.


              • The stubborn, stupid, lazy or slow ass
                • Examples: The Golden Ass, Buridan's Ass, Nick Bottom, Maud, Platero, Contrary Mary, Rabadash (who is changed into a donkey as a form of humiliation), Donkey, stupid and naughty children are transformed into donkeys in Pinocchio, the donkey in most adaptations of the Town Musicians of Bremen
                • The English expression "you are making an ass out of yourself" refers to dumb behaviour.
                • In previous centuries schools often forced naughty or "dumb" pupils to sit in a classroom corner while wearing a donkey-eared dunce cap.
                • In many cultures parading on donkey is used as a humiliating punishment.
                • The Dutch word for mnemonic is "ezelsbruggetje", literally "donkey bridge".
                • In Dutch, the word "ezel" is also used as an insult, denoting dumb or stubborn people.
                • Exceptions are Eeyore, Benjamin in Animal Farm, Wise Donkey, the donkey of Sinterklaas in The Adventures of Nero, Baba Looey who are all smart donkeys. Also, in Christian religious tradition donkeys do get some respect as the simple but noble animal that Joseph the Carpenter and Maria rode when they fled Egypt and who, together with the ox, warmed baby Jesus with its breath, hence characters like Little Donkey and Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.


                • The unforgetting elephant
                  • From the folk-saying"An elephant never forgets" and the expression "an elephant memory" (in some languages, such as Dutch, they speak of a "horse memory"). There are numerous anecdotes and examples of elephants who remembered information or incidents that happened decades earlier. [17] Scientific research has also proven that the hippocampus is linked to emotion through the processing of certain types of memory, especially spatial. This is thought to possibly be why elephants suffer from psychological flashbacks and the equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). [18][19]
                  • Because of the comedic image of such a large animal being so frightened of something so tiny, mice-fearing elephants have been a popular staple of children's novels, comic strips and cartoons. Elephants are known to be startled by sudden movements of various kinds of animals, including dogs, cats or snakes, but have not been found to fear mice especially. [20] Research has shown, however, that elephants are particularly afraid of bees. [21] In the 2007 MythBusters episode Shooting Fish in a Barrel the team found that an African elephant in the wild was in fact startled when it saw a mouse that they had released in its vicinity, and even turned back. As a result, the team deemed the myth "plausible". [22]
                  • Examples: The story about elephants fearing mice goes back to A.D. 77, when Pliny the Elder mentioned it in his text "Natural History". [23] The image also appears in Dumbo, The Sword in the Stone and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
                  • Since elephants are the largest land animals they have always imposed humans. In the Antiquity they were used in battle to scare off the opposing armies. In circuses elephants were star attractions due to their impressive size. During the 20th century biologists discovered that elephants are among the most intelligent animals and have often expressed behaviour that led people to suspect they are capable of feeling emotions (see also elephant cognition). Since then they are often portrayed as gentle giants.
                  • Examples: Babar, Hathi, Horton, Tantor, Benjamin the Elephant
                  • In Hinduism the god Ganesha has the appearance of an elephant.
                  • Examples: Elmer Elephant, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Dumbo, The Elephant's Child, Bump, Goliath II, Ella, Khan Kluay, Fantorangen, Pomelo, Pellefant
                  • Examples: Colonel Hathi, Manny, O. Fant Mzh in Tom Poes
                  • Only rarely are elephants depicted as villains or monsters. Examples of these are: Mammomax, Heffalumps, Mûmakils
                  • Examples: Hannibal the elephant in the Nero album "Hannibal", .


                  • The wily, cruel, cunning or intelligent fox
                    • In many fables, legends, fairy tales and myths they were portrayed as cunning animals who always try to trick others and get away without being punished for it. The medieval West-European legends about Reynard the Fox are the best known example. Thanks to this tale many foxes in popular culture are named Reynard, Rénard, Reintje, Reineke or variations thereof. In French the word "rénard" even means "fox".
                    • In the fableThe Fox and the Crow by Jean de La Fontaine a fox spots a raven sitting in a tree with a piece of cheese. He then tricks it by asking him to sing for him, whereupon the cheese falls out of the crow's beak unto the ground, where the fox can grab it away and eat it.
                    • In the fable The Fox and the Stork the fox tricks a stork by stealing his food, only to be tricked himself when the stork puts all his food in a long tube that only his bird beak can reach.
                    • Examples of foxes being portrayed as cunning antagonists: Teumessian fox, Kitsune, The fable of the Fox and the Cat, The Fox and the Cat in Pinocchio, The Fox and the Grapes, The Wedding of Mrs. Fox, Mr. Tod, Lowieke de Vos in De Fabeltjeskrant, Marlfox, Mei Ling in Kung Fu Panda Legends of Awesomeness, .
                    • In Japanese mythology the nine-tailed fox Kitsune is portrayed as being both a good as well as a bad spirit.
                    • More sympathetic portrayals of foxes: Genkurō, The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener, Vuk, Gon, the Little Fox, Robin and Marian in Disney's Robin Hood, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Nick Wilde in Zootopia, the foxes from The Fox and the Hound, Fox from The Animals of Farthing Wood, Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids, Tails and Fox from Skunk Fu are all depicted as good and noble characters.


                    • The comical/always-laughing hyena, usually portrayed as a bully or a downright villain
                      • A hyena call bears an uncanny resemblance to a human laugh. Hyenas are also scavengers, which led people to portray them as cowards who would rather steal meals from more successful predators than hunt or kill their prey themselves. This is a simplification of far more complex social structures and hunting tactics within the species.
                      • Examples:
                        • In North African folklore the werehyena was their equivalent of the werewolf.
                        • In Middle Eastern literature and folklore striped hyenas were often referred as symbol of treachery and stupidity.
                        • The Hyena-Swine in H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau is also portrayed as a menacing antagonist.
                        • Supervillain The Joker owns two pet hyenas, Bud and Lou. in The Lion King are henchmen of Scar the villainous lion.
                        • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Pack" hyena possessed bullies appear.
                        • The hyena in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is part of a vicious soccer team.
                        • Zig in Zig & Sharko always tries to eat Marina the mermaid, but fails.


                        • The suicidallemming
                          • Lemmings tend to migrate in large numbers, which can include jumping off cliffs into the water and swimming great distances to the point of exhaustion and even death, but such an outcome is unintended. The stereotype of lemmings jumping off cliffs as a deliberate act of suicide was influenced by a Disney documentary, White Wilderness (1958) where the animals were chased off a cliff by the documentary makers, purely for some sensational images. [25] The misconception itself is much older, dating back to at least the late 19th century. [26]
                          • The Lemmings series of video games is based on the myth of the suicidal lemming: the player has to guide a group of lemmings marching blindly forwards to that they can reach the exit. [27]


                          • The proud, brave, noble, or royal lion
                            • From the assumed position at the "top" of the food chain, the lion is often referred to as the "king of beasts" or "king of the jungle" (even though lions do not live in jungles) and is frequently portrayed as the literal ruler of the other animals in a given territory.
                            • The expression "a lion's share" means that the majority of something goes to one person.
                            • Examples: King Nobel, Aslan, Linus the Lionhearted, King Richard in Disney's Robin Hood, Kimba, Mufasa and Simba, Socrates in Animals United, King Franz Ferdinand in Alfred Jodocus Kwak, Lion-O, Leon, Alex the Lion The first movement of Camille Saint-Saëns' musical piece Carnival of the Animals is described as "The Royal March of the Lion".
                            • In several African and Asian cultures lions were depicted as gods.
                            • Examples: Sekhmet, Nubia, Maahes, Dedun, Narasimha
                            • Many European regions and countries use a lion in their coat of arms or flag. See Lion (heraldry) and Cultural depictions of lions.
                            • In Ancient Egypt the sphinx is used as a guarding statue, while in China Chinese guardian lions were used for the same purpose. In European culture lions are also popular guarding statues and symbols, such as the Albani lion.
                            • Strong lions are also popular as advertising characters and corporate mascots.
                            • Examples: Leo the Lion, Singa the Lion
                            • Because the lion's image as the "king of the beasts" they were often used as a challenge for the hero in epic tales and/or as a hungry, horrific monster.
                            • Examples: The Lion and the Fox, The Fox and the Sick Lion, Daniel in the lion's den, Samson and Delilah, the Nemean lion, Jad-bal-ja, Prey
                            • The shy, cowardly or otherwise vulnerable lion is a subversion of this image.
                            • Examples: Androcles, The Lion and the Mouse, The Lion in Love, Jerome and the lion, The Wounded Lion, Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, the Cowardly Lion, Slap Happy Lion, Parsley the Lion, Lambert the Sheepish Lion
                            • Lions are often portrayed hunting in art, sculptures and popular culture. In reality the lionesses do most of the hunting for their pride.


                            • The opossum which hangs by its tail
                              • This is an urban legend. An opossum does use its semi-prehensile tail to stabilize position while climbing, but its adult body weight makes it impossible to hang from a tree by its tail alone. [28]
                              • When threatened by predators an opossum may fall into a catatonic state, acting as if it is dead. This behaviour deters predators, as an animal which suddenly appears to die could have been suffering from illness. While opossums do fake their own deaths humans have often misinterpreted it as if the animal just faints, or is "playing". In reality the act of an opossum playing dead is a reflex action. [28]
                              • The obnoxious, filthy, greedy, ugly and/or dirty pig
                                • All these aspects are due to the natural pig lifestyle (when raised on a farm rather than a feedlot)—"greedy" from the way they devour any food put in front of them, "filthy" from the fact that a pig-sty is generally a soup of mud and feces which the pigs do not seem bothered by (this also gives rise to the saying "As happy as a pig"). The stereotype may also derive in part from Judeo-Islamic cultures, whose concepts of kosher/halal teach that pigs are "unclean" for various reasons.
                                • "Pig" is a pejorative nickname for a filthy or ugly person in many languages. It also is a derogatory word for the police in English slang, which is why all policemen in Fritz the Cat are pigs, and why Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons resembles a pig.


                                • The cute little sheep
                                  • An image derived from its soft wool. Many nursery rhymes talk about cuddly, sweet and innocent sheep. Children who are not tired enough to go to sleep are often told to count sheep.
                                  • Examples: Shaun the Sheep, Pleasant Goat (who, despite his name, is a lamb), Lamb Chop, Derek the Sheep
                                  • In Judeo-Christian religious traditions sheep are often used as metaphor for good people who need to be kept on the good path by a shepherd (often a metaphor for a priest or God or Jesus Christ himself). Examples can be found in the Parable of the Lost Sheep and The Sheep and the Goats.
                                  • Due to their innocent image lambs have been sacrificed in various cultures and religions.
                                  • Examples: Lamb of God.
                                  • Much like geese sheep are also a popular metaphor for people who bow down to herd mentality. Just like real sheep they will follow the dominant sheep or their shepherd and don't dare to move or think outside the crowd. The English words Sheeple and sheepish are derived from this image.
                                  • A black sheep standing out of a crowd of white sheep is also a popular metaphor, with two different interpretations. A "black sheep" is someone who unfavorably stands out within a group, a family, a company, a class room, etc., . It can either be someone whose bad reputation is deserved or someone who is a victim or prejudice and discrimination. Penguins are sometimes used in this context as well.
                                  • Example: Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.


                                  • The comical and mischievousape or monkey, fond of bananas and practical jokes
                                    • Examples: Curious George, Terk from Tarzan, Mighty Joe Young, Jocko in Jo, Zette and Jocko, Choco in Jommeke, Chee-Chee in Tor, Magilla Gorilla, King Louie, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Abu, Boots in Dora the Explorer, Kongo, from Misha, Aipom from Pokémon.
                                    • The Three wise monkeys image also falls into the idea that monkeys are too unintelligent to acknowledge a problematic situation.
                                    • The word "gorilla" is used in many languages to describe a heavy thug or body guard. The term 800-pound gorilla refers to a person or organization so powerful it can act without regard to the rights of others or the law.
                                    • Before the 20th century many people saw apes as brutish monsters, not unlike a hairy "man-beast".
                                    • Examples: King Kong, General Ursus, Gorilla Grodd
                                    • Examples: King Kong, the orangutan in Murders in the Rue Morgue, Emmanuel Frémiet's 1887 sculpture Gorilla Carrying off a Woman and the title character of the 1986 film Link.
                                      and monkeys are able to adapt behavioral patterns quite quickly. The hundredth monkey effect is based on this phenomenon. The downside of their talent for mimicry is that people see monkeys as dumb creatures who imitate everything without actually understanding what they are doing, even foolish or dangerous behaviour. The metaphor infinite monkey theorem and the idiom monkey see, monkey do are based on this idea.
                                  • Sloths

                                    • The lazy, slow-witted sloth
                                      • This stereotype is largely true, as sloths do indeed move very slowly in reality due to their metabolism being very low. They are named for the one of the seven deadly sins, sloth, meaning spiritual apathy.
                                      • In the 2016 animated film Zootopia, sloths are depicted as performing basic tasks extremely slowly to the point where even completing basic sentences is difficult for them.
                                      • Sid the prehistoric sloth in the Ice Age films is depicted as lively and fast-talking, in contrast to the "slow" stereotype. However, he is also depicted as naive and foolish.

                                      Squirrels and chipmunks

                                      • The hyperactivesquirrel
                                        • This is derived from their extreme speed. In animation squirrels and chipmunks will often speak with sped-up voices.
                                        • Examples: Twitchy from Hoodwinked!, Screwy Squirrel, Scrat, Skippy Squirrel, Chip and Dale, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, and Scaredy Squirrel.


                                        • The vicious tiger
                                          • Examples: Shere Khan, The Tyger
                                          • Example: Tigger in Winnie The Pooh, Dragon from Misha, Tigress from Kung Fu Panda, Tony the Tiger, the advertising campaigns for the oil company Esso used tigers in their slogan "put a tiger in your tank".


                                          • The sneaky and thieving weasel who always manages to flee [citation needed]
                                            • From the English sayings: "As scared as a weasel" and "to weasel out of a situation". A weasel word is a subjective term in an otherwise objective sentence.
                                            • The weasel in the song Pop Goes the Weasel is also fleeing from the monkey.
                                            • Other examples: The weasels in The Wind in the Willows and Who Framed Roger Rabbit
                                            • Exceptions: I. M. Weasel, the titular character in the cartoon I Am Weasel is portrayed as civilised, good-natured and a model citizen with many achievements. Buck from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is another exception, being heroic and fearless but insane. Weekly in Blacksad is a tabloid journalist, falling into the sneaky stereotype, but is the best friend of the protagonist.
                                            • To call someone a weasel is to call someone treacherous.
                                            • Examples: The Professor from Conker's Bad Fur Day.

                                            Wolves and coyotes

                                            • The cruel, villainous wolf/coyote
                                              • Humans have feared wolves since the dawn of men because the animals attacked them and their farm animals. At night, people were creeped out by wolves howling in unison.
                                              • Monstrous wolves are found in many legends and myths, often overlapping with hellhound creatures: Fenrir, Amarok, Marchosias, Wolf of Gubbio, Beast of Gévaudan, .
                                              • The Big bad wolf is a recurring antagonist in fables and fairy tales.
                                              • Examples: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Dog and the Wolf, The Wolf and the Crane, The Wolf and the Lamb, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, The Goat and Her Three Kids, Peter and the Wolf
                                              • In comic strips, cartoons and other children's stories evil wolves and coyotes are also omnipresent.
                                              • Examples: The Big Bad Wolf in Disney's The Three Little Pigs, the unnamed wolf in Tex Avery's work, Wile E. Coyote, Bor de Wolf in De Fabeltjeskrant, Volk (Волк), Mildew Wolf, Big Big Wolf, the wolf in Hoodwinked
                                              • The werewolf is another evil stereotype in association with wolves. In past centuries people have often been accused of being werewolves. A disease named hypertrichosis may explain the origin of this myth.
                                              • Examples: Rougarou, Wulver, Reynardine, Pricolici, The Wolf Man, An American Werewolf in London
                                              • Similar to the image of the cruel and dangerous wolf the animals are also associated with hunger and lust. Many sayings and proverbs all over the world have kept this image intact. [29]
                                              • Wolves and coyotes are frequently portrayed as tricksters and/or dangers in disguise. The phrase A wolf in sheep's clothing refers to people who appear to be friendly, but are actually dangerous. The oldest versions of Little Red Riding Hood have sexual undertones which portray the wolf as a perverted man trying to seduce an innocent girl by telling her to stray from her usual path and later disguise himself as her grandmother. In fairy tales like The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids and The Goat and Her Three Kids the wolf disguises himself as the goat's mother to trick her children. The Big Bad Wolf in Disney's The Three Little Pigs also puts on disguises a lot.
                                              • Though wolves have mostly been portrayed negatively throughout the centuries there have been exceptions. In many stories wolves have raised little orphans: Romulus and Remus, Mowgli The scouts even have the honorary word akela for a female scouts leader, which is derived from the character Akela in The Jungle Book.
                                              • Much like lions wolves have also been used a lot in heraldry: Wolves in heraldry.
                                              • Through the latter half of the 20th century, the wolf was increasingly portrayed in the opposite manner of the evil wolf, as an especially dignified and capable wild form of dog and symbol of nature. (e.g. the Kevin Costner film, Dances with Wolves). Some sympathetic portrayals of wolves have also turned up in comics and cartoons: Pugacioff, Loopy De Loop, Lupo Alberto, Vučko, Hoodwinked, .
                                              • In 1997 an Ikea stuffed toy wolf, Lufsig, became a symbol of resistance against the government of Hong Kong. [30]
                                              • From the phrase "lone wolf"
                                              • Wolves and coyotes are nocturnal animals and thus can often be heard howling faced toward the sky, which gave humans the impression that they are actually crying directly at the moon. In reality wolves and coyotes are communicating with other members of their species and just point their faces upward so that the sound carries farther. [31][32]

                                              Birds in general

                                                are often portrayed as stupid. The English language has the expression birdbrain, for people who aren't very bright. There are many urban legends about birds being so stupid that they accidentally hurt or kill themselves. [33][34]
                                            • Another expression, "eat like a bird", derives from the notion that birds have small appetites, while in fact a bird eats very much compared to its weight. [citation needed]
                                            • Some birds have an association with beauty, peace and love. In British English "bird" can mean "pretty, attractive girl". The fact that songbirds whistle has also contributed to an association with peace, beauty and tranquillity.
                                            • An often told story claims that when humans touch birds' eggs or baby birds their mother will later reject them, because of the human scent. This is an urban legend, because birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent. The story was likely thought up to prevent people from accidentally breaking eggs or separate baby birds from their parents. [35]
                                            • Chickens

                                              • The stupid, cowardly and easily frightened chicken
                                                • The term "chicken" has become a playful term for someone too scared to engage in a slightly intimidating task.
                                                • Since chickens can't fly very high they tend to run around whenever they are scared of something. This encouraged their stereotypical image as dumb and panicky creatures. In many languages the phrase "to run around/operate/work like a headless chicken" also expresses this image.
                                                • In the English language "to chicken out of something" means to appear a coward. Calling somebody "chicken" and cackling is seen as an insult.
                                                • Examples: Nanny from Count Duckula, several characters in Chicken Run, the song Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
                                                • The three bold, fox-fighting chicken sisters in Foxbusters are a notable exception.
                                                • In many languages the word "chick" is used to describe an attractive human female.
                                                • A hen night is a bachelor party for women.
                                                • Out of all animals they tend to be stereotyped the most as motherly characters with a strong sense of responsibility and work ethic, being very protective of their little chicks.
                                                  • Examples: The Little Red Hen, The Wise Little Hen, Billina
                                                  • Roosters are polygamous animals. When rival roosters enter their territory they will attack them in cock fights. Therefore, humans have often stereotyped them as robust, tough, machoistic males. The words "cocky" and "cocksure" in English refer to assertive, arrogant behaviour, [36][37] while the Dutch term "haantjesgedrag" ("little rooster behaviour") defines boys or men trying to impose one another. [38] In English the word "cock" is also used as slang for the word "penis". [39]
                                                  • Some countries or communities use roosters as their proud emblem: the Gallic rooster, for instance.
                                                  • Roosters usually sit on high perches, looking out for their group. When it spots danger it will crow loudly. This led people to portray roosters as people who crave attention and suffer from delusions of grandeur. The image of the high perched rooster is also prevalent in Christian traditions, where statues of cocks are often put on top of church steeples as a weather vane.
                                                  • Examples: The "Chanticleer and the Fox" tale from The Canterbury Tales, Foghorn Leghorn, Tortellini the rooster from the 1997 film The Fearless Four (based on the Town Musicians of Bremen), Markies de Canteclaer in Tom Puss, Rocky and Fowler in Chicken Run, General Tsao from Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
                                                  • Thanks to the story Chanticleer many cocks and roosters in fiction have this name or a variation thereof. [citation needed]
                                                  • Roosters can be heard crowing as it begins to get lighter. In past centuries people believed the rooster controlled the rise of daylight and thus only crowed at this occasion. While roosters do indeed crow at dawn and therefore were often used as a prototypical alarm clock in past centuries, [40] they can and will crow at any time of the day, not just in the morning. The idea that the rooster scares the darkness away led to its worship in various religious belief systems. In English the word "cock-crow" is a synonym for "early morning". [41]
                                                  • Examples: Chantecler in the eponymous play literally believes his crows cause the sun to rise.

                                                  Game fowl

                                                  • The proud peacock [citation needed]
                                                    • From the saying: "as proud as a peacock".
                                                    • Peacocks are often used as a symbol of vanity and pride.
                                                    • Pheasants are often depicted as being worried about being shot at. Examples include the pheasants from Bambi and Mr and Mrs Pheasant in The Animals of Farthing Wood


                                                    • The graceful crane [citation needed]
                                                      • Examples: Master Crane from Kung Fu Panda, Crazylegs Crane, many ancient Chinese and Japanese water paintings depict cranes this way too

                                                      Crows and ravens

                                                      • The ominous raven or crow
                                                        • In ancient folklore ravens and crows were often seen as foretellers of death and destruction, as portrayed in Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven". Also, in Celtic and Irish myths, goddesses of war often appeared in the form of a raven or crow. The stereotype of ravens portraying death could stem from the fact that they are often seen feasting on the gore of dead soldiers after battle.
                                                        • In Norse mythology Huginn and Muninn were ravens who brought the god Odin information and thus subverted this stereotype.
                                                        • Crows and ravens are also often depicted as villains.
                                                        • Examples: Diablo, Dolf in Alfred J. Kwak, and corvids such as General Ironbeak and his horde in the Redwall series
                                                          • Subversions include Salomo the raven in Paulus the woodgnome, who is portrayed as being very wise and erudite. The crows in Dumbo first mock Dumbo, but as they learn how he was mistreated they feel remorse and help him gain the confidence to use his ears for flying. Meneer de Raaf in the Dutch TV series De Fabeltjeskrant is a raven who can be sarcastic, but is still a good character.
                                                          • In the 19th and early 20th century white Americans often compared black people with crows, due to the black colour of the bird. Crows in these stereotypical depictions speak in jive.
                                                          • Examples: Jim Crow, the crows in Dumbo, the comic strip and animated version of Fritz the Cat.


                                                          • Ducks in general are very popular as humoristic characters in comics and animated cartoons. This could be attributed to their wobbly walk and call, which bears some similarity to a human laugh. In French the word "canard" means "duck", but can also mean a newspaper hoax, referencing an 1885 stunt by Hector Berthelot in the newspaper Le Canard. [42] Specific examples of comedic ducks in fiction: Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Wammes Waggel, Inspector Canardo, Alfred Jodocus Kwak
                                                          • The overconfident, easily agitated, arrogant duck who isn't as smart as he thinks
                                                            • Examples: Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Plucky Duck, Bill and other duck characters from Sitting Ducks, Darkwing Duck, Count Duckula, Howard the Duck, Duckman, the duck in Peter and the Wolf (although he is characterized more sympathetically in the Disney version.), Wammes Waggel in Tom Poes, Wade from Garfield & Friends, The Ducktators, .
                                                            • Examples: The Ugly Duckling, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Lucky Ducky, Little Quacker, Yakky Doodle, Witzy, Suzy Ducken, from Suzy's ZooAlfred Jodocus Kwak


                                                            • The child-stealing eagle
                                                              • Eagles are often depicted in stories as creatures who like to attack humans, especially children, and pick them up with their claws to feed them to their own children. This is a myth, since eagles can only lift up to 4 pounds and are more likely to attack other, smaller animals. [44]
                                                              • In contrast, the giant golden eagle Marahute in Disney's The Rescuers Down Under is a loyal, protective friend of a boy named Cody after he saves her from a poacher.
                                                              • Several heraldic emblems use eagles in their weapon shields or as a national symbol, for instance the French Imperial Eagle and the bald eagle used in American propaganda. See also: Eagle (heraldry).
                                                              • Examples: Sam the Eagle, a character in The Muppets who parodies Republican politicians, is a bald eagle. Ernie was the mascot of the British comic book magazine Eagle.


                                                              • The evil falcon
                                                                • Falcons, like eagles, are predatory birds. They are used to kill pigeons for bird control and were used to intercept homing pigeons in both World Wars.
                                                                • Examples: Shan Yu's falcon in Mulan, Falcon from Stuart Little 2, the German falcons from Valiant.


                                                                • Compared to ducks and swans geese are usually depicted more negatively. They are often portrayed as being stupid, arrogant, naïve, gullible and/or gossipy.
                                                                  • The English language has the expression "silly goose".
                                                                  • The geese in Charlotte's Web, the ones in The Ducktators, Gladstone Gander, Gus Goose, Doctor Von Goosewing from Count Duckula, Lucy from 101 Dalmatians
                                                                  • The geese in Nils Holgersson, Little Bear, Franklin the Turtle



                                                                  • The thieving magpie
                                                                    • This image is derived from the belief that magpies sometimes steal shiny objects and bring them to their nest. In reality, while magpies do indeed steal, they do not target shiny objects, instead stealing food and the eggs of other birds.
                                                                    • Examples: the opera The Thieving Magpie by Gioacchino Rossini, the magpie in Alfred J. Kwak, the one in the Tintin album The Castafiore Emerald, Heckle and Jeckle, and in cartoons such as Mr. Bean.


                                                                    • The nervous and easily frightened ostrich
                                                                      • Ostriches are often portrayed as being nervous and are widely thought to bury their heads in the sand at the first sign of danger. In reality this is not true the ostrich is more likely to respond by fleeing, or, failing in that, delivering powerful kicks, easily capable of killing a man or a lion. [45]
                                                                      • The wise old owl
                                                                        • In Greek mythology, Athena, goddess of wisdom, is regularly associated with an owl. [46]
                                                                        • Other examples: Owl in Winnie the Pooh, Oehoeboeroe in Paulus the woodgnome, Owl in The Animals of Farthing Wood, Owl in Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Owl in Bambi, Meneer de Uil in De Fabeltjeskrant, Archimedes in The Sword in the Stone, Kaepora Geabora (The Legend of Zelda)

                                                                        Parrots, cockatoos and mynahs

                                                                        • The talkative, annoying, and/or smartypants parrot/cockatoo/mynah (no distinction)
                                                                          • Parrots are also often portrayed as if they can actually converse with people, whereas real parrots can only mimic certain sounds.
                                                                          • Examples: Paulie, Beo the mynah in the Nero story Beo de Verschrikkelijke ("Beo the Terrible"), Flip in Jommeke, Nigel in Rio, Popugai in 38 Parrots, Iago and Preston from Garfield 2


                                                                          • The pelican who can carry people around in his throat pouch
                                                                            • In reality this is impossible, as the beak cannot be used for supporting creatures that heavy.
                                                                            • Examples: The pelican in the 1946 Donald Duck cartoon Lighthouse Keeping. Abraham Tuizentfloot travels inside the beak of his pelican in The Adventures of Nero album Het Wonderwolkje (1960) ("The Magic Cloud"). The pelican in The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me


                                                                            • The formal-attired penguin
                                                                              • From the typical colouring which resembles a tuxedo or black tie suit—they are often portrayed as upper-class restaurant waiters. [citation needed]
                                                                              • Examples: the penguins in Mary Poppins and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Pingo in Rasmus Klump wears a bowtie.
                                                                              • In the Batman comics, the Penguin always dresses in a formal tuxedo and is notable for being the only one of Batman's main foes who is sane and in control of his actions.
                                                                              • Examples: Alfred in Zig et Puce, Ping in Peter og Ping, Mr. Popper's Penguins, the penguins in Mary Poppins, Opus, Pokey, Frobisher, Puck, Parker, Pewcey and Presley in Love Birds, Happy Feet, Pingu, Tuxedo Sam , the mascot of the Linux operating system kernel, is a plump, jovial penguin.

                                                                              Pigeons and doves

                                                                              • The peaceful dove
                                                                                • The peace dove is a universal symbol of pacifism and peace.
                                                                                • In biblical stories the dove is often used as a sign of goodwill or a peaceful messenger. This image can also be found in other religious and mythological traditions, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. Today doves are often released from cages into the open air to inaugurate a special event.
                                                                                • The European turtle dove in particular has become a symbol of devoted love. The mournful singing voice of the bird and the fact that it forms strong pair bonds provided this image.
                                                                                • Examples: The biblical Song of Songs, William Shakespeare's poem The Phoenix and the Turtle and the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" mentions a turtle dove as a love gift. The word "tortelduif" (the original name for a European turtle dove in Dutch) is still used in Dutch to refer to a young romantic couple.
                                                                                • In the English language the word "stool pigeon" refers to people who are secret informers or squealers. The image derives from the cooing sounds pigeons make.
                                                                                • Like most other birds pigeons are frequently depicted as stupid. In Flemish dialect the word "simpele duif" ("simple pigeon") is a pejorative term used to refer to dumb or naïve people. [50]


                                                                                • The joyful, beautiful, elegant songbirds
                                                                                  • Since birds' tweeting sounds melodic to humans, songbirds have usually been portrayed as creatures bringing happiness, beauty and good tidings.
                                                                                  • Examples: the bluebird of happiness, Woodstock from Peanuts, Tweety Pie, Willy the Sparrow, the Beatles song "Blackbird", the Bob Marley song "Three Little Birds", Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux


                                                                                  • The baby-delivering stork
                                                                                    • In western folklore, parents have told their children for centuries that babies are delivered by a stork. Examples can be found in the film Dumbo and the short Lambert the Sheepish Lion. Ollie from Alfred Jodocus Kwak, Vlasic.


                                                                                    • The beautiful, gracious, elegant yet fragile swan
                                                                                      • At the end of the tale of the Ugly Duckling the duck turns out to have been a swan all along.
                                                                                      • Examples: The composition Schwanengesang, the ballet Swan Lake, The Swan Princess, Seven Swans
                                                                                      • Female characters in fiction tend to have the surname "Swan" to imply their beauty. Examples are Elizabeth Swann, Bella Swan, and Emma Swan. is a very popular ballet dance, based on the idea that a beautiful creature like a swan is also mortal.
                                                                                        • The word "swan song" also refers to the final masterpiece by a creator.

                                                                                        Vultures and buzzards

                                                                                        • The starving vulture or buzzard preying on dying creatures
                                                                                          • Inspired by the fact that vultures and buzzards feed on carcasses and dead bodies.
                                                                                          • Examples: The vultures from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beaky Buzzard, What's Buzzin' Buzzard, the Lone Gunslinger from Ice Age: The Meltdown, the Belgian comic strip Les Voraces ("The Vultures"), in the comic strip Lucky Luke the local mortician has a vulture as a pet
                                                                                          • The expression "to go at something like starving vultures"
                                                                                          • Examples: Buzz Buzzard, Igor from Count Duckula, Commander Seagrid from Doraemon: Nobita and the Winged Braves, Aeon from Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Boris from Gadget Boy and Heather
                                                                                          • The evil Skeksis from The Dark Crystal strongly resemble vultures.


                                                                                            are often portrayed as if they just peck other creatures as a defense, while real woodpeckers only peck at tree bark.
                                                                                            • Examples: Woody Woodpecker, the bad-tempered woodpecker in The Sword in the Stone

                                                                                            Reptiles and amphibians

                                                                                            Alligators and crocodiles

                                                                                            • The weeping and hypocritical crocodile
                                                                                              • Many political cartoons, legends and stories feature crocodiles who claim to be sad about someone else's grief and then cry fake tears as a result. This stereotype is based on the fact that in real life crocodiles can often be observed with teary eyes while they consume their dead prey. The reason for this behaviour is that crocodiles are unable to chew and thus are forced to rip their food into chunks and swallow them whole. Since the glands that keep their eyes moist are right near their throats this eating habit actually forces them to produce tears. This observation lead humans to believe that crocodiles are crying about the death of the animal they hypocritically just killed themselves and created the expression "crying crocodile tears", which means that one shows emotions without really meaning it. [51]
                                                                                              • Crocodiles and alligators are often cast as evil characters in stories.
                                                                                              • Examples: The crocodile in Peter Pan (although it only attacks the main villain Captain Hook), Leatherhead (who later becomes the Ninja Turtles' ally), The Enormous Crocodile, Brutus and Nero in The Rescuers, Alligator, Dinocroc, Crocosaurus, How Doth the Little Crocodile.
                                                                                              • There are a few examples of kinder, more sympathetic crocodilian characters, including Wally Gator, Schnappi, Louis from The Princess and the Frog, and Vector the Crocodile from Sonic the Hedgehog.

                                                                                              Dinosaurs and pterosaurs

                                                                                              • The fearsome, terrifying Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus
                                                                                                • Examples: Fantasia, The Valley of Gwangi, Jurassic Park, The Land Before Time, Godzilla (although this character is sometimes heroic)
                                                                                                • In Dinosaur, Carnotaurus fills this role.
                                                                                                • An exception is Rex, the toy T. rex from the Toy Story films, who tries to appear fierce but is actually timid and worrisome. Rex in We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story starts out as a fierce predator, but becomes friendly once he overcomes his instincts. T-Bone from Extreme Dinosaurs is shown to be heroic and a responsible leader. The mother T. rex in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is a caring and responsible mother, although she becomes fierce when her offspring are threatened. Butch, Ramsey and Nash in The Good Dinosaur are also benevolent and willing to help those in need.
                                                                                                • Examples: Jurassic Park, Extreme Dinosaurs, Dinosaur Planet, Victor Veloci from Dino Squad, Screech and Thud from The Land Before Time (TV series), Bubbha's pack from The Good Dinosaur, Jurassic: The Hunted
                                                                                                • Examples: Clash of the Dinosaurs,Dinosaur
                                                                                                • Examples: Spike from The Land Before Time, Stegmutt from Darkwing Duck
                                                                                                • Exceptions (often used as an ironic twist): Stegz from Extreme Dinosaurs, Captain Teggs from Astrosaurs
                                                                                                • Examples: Jurassic Park, The Land Before Time, Dinosaur, The Good Dinosaur
                                                                                                • Examples: Cera's dad from The Land Before Time, Fantasia, Spike from Extreme Dinosaurs
                                                                                                • Triceratops are often portrayed in films fighting a Tyrannosaurus to the death
                                                                                                • Examples: Jurassic Park III, Spike from Jurassic: The Hunted, Monsters Resurrected
                                                                                                • Spinosaurus have been recently portrayed in media as villainous characters, and often a rival to T. rex (though in real life the two species lived millions of years apart).
                                                                                                • Rudy from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is actually a Baryonyx, but he follows the spinosaurid stereotype.
                                                                                                • Examples: Petrie from The Land Before Time, Elsa from We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Bullzeye from Extreme Dinosaurs have also been depicted as menacing or evil. In quite some adventure stories they are depicted in the same way as eagles, grabbing people and animals with their feet and lifting them up in the air. In reality pterosaurs did not have grasping feet.
                                                                                                  • Examples: the pterosaurs in King Kong, the Mahars of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar, the Marvel Comics villain Sauron, Dr. Fossil from Darkwing Duck, the Pterodactylus flock from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Thunderclap's gang of pterosaurs in The Good Dinosaur

                                                                                                  Frogs and toads

                                                                                                    are often anthropomorphized as obese people.
                                                                                                    • Examples: Mr. Toad in The Wind in The Willows, Ed Bighead, Old Mr. Toad in the tales of Thornton Burgess, Baron Silas Greenback (Danger Mouse), the Toad in Flushed Away
                                                                                                    • Examples: Jeremy Fisher, Kermit the Frog, Flip the Frog, Michigan J. Frog, Superfrog, Dig'em (from the Honey Smacks cereals)
                                                                                                      • Video games also use frogs as characters because of this image: Frogger, Frogs
                                                                                                      • Examples: Ed Bighead, Old Mr. Toad in the tales of Thornton Burgess, Baron Silas Greenback (Danger Mouse), the Toad in Flushed Away
                                                                                                      • Examples: Jean-Bob in The Swan Princess, Prince Naveen
                                                                                                      • Examples: Puddocky, The Frog Prince, The Princess and the Frog


                                                                                                      • The evil or untrustworthy snake
                                                                                                        • Throughout history and in almost every country humans have feared snakes because they are either venomous or constrictors.
                                                                                                        • In Judeo-Christian religious traditions the snake earned its stereotypical image due to its depiction in the Book of Genesis where the serpent deceives Adam and Eve into the first sin. As implied in the text the snake was actually Satan in disguise. Because of their seductive image snakes are often portrayed to be sly hypnotists.
                                                                                                        • Examples of evil snakes: Nag, Nagaina and Karait from Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Kaa (in Disney's The Jungle Book), Sir Hiss, Cy Sly the python in Ovide and the Gang, Nagini
                                                                                                        • Exceptions: Adder in The Animals of Farthing Wood and Kaa in The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling's original book) both of them, while disturbing to other characters, prove to be helpful allies.
                                                                                                        • Monstrous and often gigantic snakes and serpents are also prevalent in many ancient myths and legends: Bakunawa, the Feathered Serpent, the Midgard Serpent, the Rainbow Serpent, the Hoop snake, the Lernaean Hydra, Nāga, Tsuchinoko, Yamata no Orochi Some are half-woman like Echidna, Medusa and Madame White Snake. Others are dragons.
                                                                                                        • Vicious snakes are also popular in horror movies.
                                                                                                        • Examples: Venom, Snakes on a Plane, Anaconda
                                                                                                        • In India snakecharmers often play a flute (named a pungi) while a cobra rises out of a basket as if it is mezmerized by the music. This is a misconception, since snakes have no outer ears that would enable them to hear the music. In reality they just instinctively follow the movement of the flute.

                                                                                                        Turtles and tortoises

                                                                                                        • The patient or slow-witted turtle/tortoise
                                                                                                          • The tortoise in The Tortoise and the Hare, Cecil Turtle, Verne from Over the Hedge, the composition "The Tortoise" from Camille Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals is an adaption of Jacques Offenbach's Can-Can only played much, much slower.

                                                                                                          Fish and sea mammals



                                                                                                          • The forgetful goldfish
                                                                                                            • This is based on the idea that the goldfish has only a three-second memory, which is an urban legend. [56][57] It is much longer, counted in months.
                                                                                                            • Examples: Darwin from The Amazing World of Gumball


                                                                                                            • The vicious, ravenous, merciless orca
                                                                                                              • Examples: Orca: The Killer Whale, Camu from the Angry Beavers episode "Moby Dopes", Buster from Kenny the Shark
                                                                                                              • Examples: Free Willy, Moby Lick from Street Sharks, Spot from The Little Mermaid
                                                                                                              • Orcas are often considered the most formidable and respected hunters of the sea, feared even by great white sharks.


                                                                                                              • The evil or bloodthirsty shark
                                                                                                                • Sharks have often been portrayed as monsters who will immediately attack anything that swims in their vicinity. Contrary to popular belief, only a few sharks are dangerous to humans. Out of more than 470 species, only four have been involved in a significant number of fatal, unprovoked attacks on humans: the great white, oceanic whitetip, tiger, and bull sharks. [58][59] These sharks are large, powerful predators, and may sometimes attack and kill people. However, even then, shark attacks on humans are extremely rare. The average number of fatalities worldwide per year between 2001 and 2006 from unprovoked shark attacks is 4.3. [60]
                                                                                                                • Examples: Watson and the Shark, The Gulf Stream, Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill, Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, The Reef, Sharktopus, King Shark, Monster Shark, Misterjaw, Samebito, Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus.
                                                                                                                • Subversions of the "evil shark" stereotype are Kenny the Shark, Jabberjaw, Street Sharks, Sherman's Lagoon, Lenny from Shark Tale, Sharky in Sharky & George and Bruce, Chum and Anchor, the three sharks from Finding Nemo, who try to swear off eating fish.
                                                                                                                • In Hawaiian mythology sharks were revered as gods, with Kamohoalii and Pele as well known examples. In Fijian mythologyDakuwaqa was also a shark-god.


                                                                                                                • The diligent ant
                                                                                                                  • This stems mainly from a fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, in which the ant works hard to prepare for the winter while the grasshopper wastes the summer and autumn having fun, only to have to beg food from the ant or starve.
                                                                                                                  • Examples: The Ant and the Aardvark, in which the ant is often busy working.
                                                                                                                  • Ants, like many animals that form colonies or hives, are known for working together like an army. [64][65] Some popular culture stories portray ants as militarysoldiers.
                                                                                                                  • Example: the ants from Antz
                                                                                                                  • Ants are often portrayed stealing food from picnics, kitchens, etc., as they do in real life. Examples can be found in many cartoons, like the 1955 Tom and Jerry cartoon Pup on a Picnic and Garfield and Friends.
                                                                                                                  • The workaholic bee
                                                                                                                    • Bees are usually cast as "good" characters as opposed to wasps. This image may be derived from the fact that bees are popularly associated with spring, fertilisation of flowers and making honey. See also the birds and the bees.

                                                                                                                    Crickets and grasshoppers

                                                                                                                    • Crickets and grasshoppers look very similar and because of this they are often confused with each other.
                                                                                                                    • The violin playing cricket/grasshopper
                                                                                                                      • Male crickets are known for the chirping sound they make. In some cultures this sound is seen as a sign of good luck, while in other cultures it is associated with bad luck. Some cartoons depict crickets as violinists because the movements they make to produce their chirping sound resemble someone playing a violin.
                                                                                                                      • Examples: The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, the grasshopper in the Disney cartoon The Grasshopper and the Ants and in Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.
                                                                                                                      • This stems mainly from a fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, in which the ant works hard to prepare for the winter while the grasshopper wastes the summer and autumn having fun, only to have to beg for food from the ant or starve. For this reason, grasshoppers are also sometimes characterized as social parasites (as in the Pixar movie A Bug's Life).
                                                                                                                      • An exception is the Old-Green-Grasshopper in Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, who is portrayed as a well-mannered gentleman and musician. Similarly, the Humbug from The Phantom Tollbooth.


                                                                                                                        are always depicted as female in popular culture. [citation needed] This is a very old association. Though historically many European languages referenced Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology, in the names, the Virgin Mary has now largely supplanted her, so that, for example, "freyjuhœna" (Old Norse) and "Frouehenge" have been changed into "marihøne" (Norwegian) and "Marienkäfer" (German), which corresponds with "Our Lady's bird". [66] This also explains with it is one of the few insects associated with beauty, luck, peace and tranquility, [citation needed] making it a popular logo and mascot.
                                                                                                                        • Examples: The ladybirds in the songs Ladybird, Ladybird and "Mala Biedroneczka" are described as a mother with children. The ladybug in James and the Giant Peach is a motherly character. Cococinel in the 1990s animated series of the same name is female and Ferda Mravenec ("Ferdy the Ant")'s partner is also a ladybug.


                                                                                                                        • The wise, religious mantismonk. This stereotype is derived from the term praying mantis, as the insect's standard posture resembles prayer. [citation needed]
                                                                                                                          • Mantis from Kung Fu Panda.
                                                                                                                          • Manny from A Bug's Life.
                                                                                                                          • The She-Mantis in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Teacher's Pet"
                                                                                                                          • Queen Bakrakra/Katheter in Insektors
                                                                                                                          • The mantis briefly seen in Antz


                                                                                                                          • The evil spider [citation needed]
                                                                                                                            • Spiders often frighten people due to their appearance. Arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias. [67][68] However, spiders are important in the ecosystem as they eat insects which humans consider to be pests. Only a few species of spiders are dangerous to people. [69] Spiders will only bite humans in self-defense, and few produce worse effects than a mosquito bite or bee-sting. [70] Most of those with medically serious bites, such as recluse spiders and widow spiders, would rather flee and bite only when trapped, although this can easily arise by accident. [71][72]Funnel web spiders' defensive tactics include fang display and their venom, although they rarely inject much, has resulted in 13 known human deaths over 50 years. [73] They have been deemed to be the world's most dangerous spiders on clinical and venom toxicity grounds, [69] though this claim has also been attributed to the Brazilian wandering spider, due to much more frequent accidents. [74]
                                                                                                                            • Examples of spiders as antagonists and/or scares: The Spider and the Fly, Ungoliant, Kingdom of the Spiders, Thekla in Maya the Bee, The Spider Bite urban legend. The Greek mythological character Arachne was transformed into a spider as a punishment. The spider in Little Miss Muffet scares Miss Muffet away. Peter Parker in Spider-Man gained his powers due to a spider-bite.
                                                                                                                            • In horror stories the giant spider is a popular monster, for instance: Tsuchigumo, The Black Spider, Earth vs. the Spider, Shelob, Atlach-Nacha, Tarantula, The Shooting Star, Aragog, The Giant Spider Invasion, Eight Legged Freaks, Lolth, .
                                                                                                                            • Rare examples of a positively depicted spider include: Legend of the Christmas Spider, Iktomi, The Spider Grandmother, Areop-Enap, Anansi, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Charlotte A. Cavatica from Charlotte's Web, Spider, and Miss Spider from James and the Giant Peach.
                                                                                                                            • According to legend, the Scottish king Robert the Bruce once took refuge in a cave on Rathlin Island, where he witnessed a spider continuously failing to climb its silken thread to its web until he eventually succeeded. This motivated him to join the battle again, which he eventually won. [75]


                                                                                                                            • The wanton and vicious wasp [citation needed]
                                                                                                                              • Since wasps are able to sting humans they are considered to be pests.
                                                                                                                              • The word "waspish" refers to comments with the intention to insult somebody.
                                                                                                                              • The wasp is also a popular horror monster.
                                                                                                                              • Examples: The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, The Wasp Woman


                                                                                                                                , particularly Earthworms (and by conflation maggots, which few laypersons recognize as being kin to insects rather than to actual worms), are often regarded as "the lowest of the low", and popular culture references to them will usually reflect this. [citation needed]
                                                                                                                                • Example: Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings.
                                                                                                                                • Examples: Lowly Worm, Slimey the Worm, Quentin in Ollie and Quentin, Earthworm Jim, Wormmon from Digimon
                                                                                                                                • Examples: Bookworm in "Tiny Toon Adventures"

                                                                                                                                India has a rich tradition of animal stories and beast fables, including one of the world's oldest collections of stories, the Panchatantra and its later derivatives such as the Hitopadesha. Throughout these fables, the talking animals behave as humans (unlike the Aesop model, in which animals behave as animals), and are used to invoke characters with stereotypical personalities. There is also a distinction between wild and domesticated animals. Some common stereotypes include:

                                                                                                                                So no sandwiches before the 18th century?

                                                                                                                                Though the term ‘sandwich’ might be an 18th century invention, putting meat, or cheese, or veg into bread isn’t. In fact, it’s not even an English invention.

                                                                                                                                Every culture has its own version of the sandwich, and the origins of using bread to hold a filling is probably as old as bread itself – in which case we’re talking neolithic, some some 12,000 years ago.

                                                                                                                                The 1st century Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder instituted the eating of a ‘sandwich’ using matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs) on Passover. By eating this sandwich – called korech – he said that Jewish people would experience the taste of both the bitterness of slavery and sweetness of freedom.

                                                                                                                                Ancient Babylonian cylinders also show depictions of flatbreads with meat on top of them in what Cathy Kaufman suggests may have been forerunners of souvlaki sandwiches. Historians A.W. Lassen, E. Frahm and K. Wagensonner highlight a humorous cuneiform text known as “The Infernal Kitchen” which contains an allusion to bread with a filling:

                                                                                                                                Month of Šabaṭu, what is your food?
                                                                                                                                – You shall eat still hot bread with the buttock of a donkey stallion stuffed with dog excrement and the excrement of dust flies.

                                                                                                                                As the authors point out, this ‘recipe’ is not a real one, but one that combines authentic elements with ridiculous ones to create a semi-satirical commentary on food preparation and reliance on seasonal ingredients.

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                                                                                                                                100 BEST ADVENTURES OF THE SIXTIES (1964–1973)

                                                                                                                                This page lists my 100 favorite adventures published during the cultural era known as the Sixties (1964–1973, according to HILOBROW’s periodization schema). Although it remains a work in progress, and is subject to change, this BEST ADVENTURES OF THE SIXTIES list complements and supersedes the preliminary “Best Sixties Adventure” list that I first published, here at HILOBROW, in 2013. I hope that the information and opinions below are helpful to your own reading please let me know what I’ve overlooked.

                                                                                                                                PS: Some of the titles on this list also appear on my list of the 100 best YA and YYA adventures of the Sixties.

                                                                                                                                — JOSH GLENN (2019)

                                                                                                                                SIXTIES ADVENTURE

                                                                                                                                The New Wave era in Adventure’s science fiction sub-genre began in 1964 (when Michael Moorcock took over the editorship of the British sf magazine New Worlds Jack Kirby also had something to do with it, in science-fiction comics) and lasted through 1983. (Cyberpunk begins in ’84, with Gibson’s Neuromancer.) What was New Wave? The best sf adventures published during the Sixties were characterized by an ambitious, self-consciously artistic sensibility. Many of my favorites — including Philip K. Dick’s The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Martian Time-Slip, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Ubik William S. Burroughs’s Nova Express Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven Samuel R. Delany’s Nova Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Michael Moorcock’s The Final Programme — concern themselves, at the level of both content and form, with the nature of perception itself.

                                                                                                                                Certain far-out examples of non-sf adventure lit from the Sixties were self-consciously artistic, and concerned — at the level of both content and form — with the nature of perception itself. Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow are the examples that will immediately spring to mind for most people. Other self-reflexive, postmodernist, sardonic inversions of the adventure genre from 1964–1973 include: Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, Richard Fariña’s Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me, Ishmael Reed’s Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down and Mumbo Jumbo, Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, and J.G. Ballard’s Crash. If the avant-garde stories I’ve just mentioned aren’t for you, not to worry: paperback racks in the Sixties were replete with straightforward adventures by the likes of Alistair MacLean, Francis Clifford, Desmond Cory, Duncan Kyle, Andrew Garve, Gavin Lyall, and Desmond Bagley.

                                                                                                                                As WWII receded from the present, and as the era of anti-Communist paranoia and hysteria ended, the context for straightforward adventure novels became… let’s call it a quagmire. Vietnam didn’t lend itself directly to heroic adventure writing instead, it inspired the rise of the anti-hero. The protagonists of Charles Portis’s True Grit, George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman adventures, Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal, Trevanian’s The Eiger Sanction, perhaps even James Dickey’s Deliverance — they’re not fighting in Vietnam, but that’s their context. PS: There was a Sixties war whose advent and outcome served as a backdrop to three excellent adventure novels of the period. The 1967 Arab-Israeli War (also known as the Six-Day War) is the lens through which Lionel Davidson’s A Long Way to Shiloh, Making Good Again, and Smith’s Gazelle ought to be viewed.

                                                                                                                                Adventure TV shows and movies from 1964–1973 often put a sardonic twist on the adventure genre: Hogan’s Heroes plays the prison-break/WWII adventure trope for laughs Gilligan’s Island does the same for the Robinsonade. (The Prisoner was self-consciously artistic, and concerned — at the level of content and form — with the nature of perception itself.) Movies, too: Michael Caine’s Len Deighton spy movies, James Coburn in Our Man Flint, even the Beatles’ Help! were sardonic inversions of Adventure’s espionage sub-genre. Sergio Leone’s movies with Clint Eastwood are revisionist Westerns. Many other movies from the era — The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack — are Vietnam-inflected actioners.

                                                                                                                                A Kirby photomontage from Fantastic Four no. 29 (August 1964)

                                                                                                                                Watch the video: Ξεκίνησαν οι γέννες των κουνελιων.