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After their popularity soared in the late 1930s, characters from the Looney Tunes franchise began appearing in comics. These comics were produced by Western Publishing (best known as the publishers of the Little Golden Books) and published by Dell Comics under an arrangement between the two companies that began in 1935.

Dell's Four Color anthology title (19301962) was used to spotlight various characters to try out whether they merited additional appearances or spin-off series. Porky Pig received his first spotlight issue in 1942. The story "Porky of the Mounties" (July 1944) by Carl Barks is considered a highlight for the character. Bugs Bunny received his own spotlight in 1943. Both characters continued having several issues to themselves over the following decade. Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird received their first spotlight issue in 1952, followed by Daffy Duck in 1953. Petunia Pig, Elmer Fudd, Mary Jane and Sniffles also received spotlight issues in 1953, but they never "graduated" to having titles of their own. Elmer did however have several subsequent spotlight issues to himself. Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner received their first spotlight issue in 1958 (the Road Runner (as "Beep Beep") got top billing). They were featured in several subsequent issues. Speedy Gonzales had his first and only spotlight issue in 1960.

Dell Comics eventually gave the Looney Tunes characters their own spin-offs. These were:

  • Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics (19411955)/Looney Tunes (19551962)
  • Bugs Bunny (19521962)
  • Porky Pig magazine (19521962)
  • Tweety and Sylvester (19541962)
  • Daffy Duck (19561962)
  • Beep Beep the Road Runner (19601962)

In 1962, the publishing arrangement between Dell and Western ended (known to comics historians as "The Divorce"). Western, as the actual holder of the Looney Tunes license (as they were for most of Dell's licensed titles that they produced) began publishing the titles on their own under the Gold Key Comics and Whitman imprints (the comics were the same, only the logo in the corner differed). Comics series published by Western:

  • Bugs Bunny (19621984)
  • Tweety and Sylvester (19631984)
  • Daffy Duck (19621984)
  • Porky Pig (19651984)
  • Beep Beep the Road Runner (19661984)
  • Yosemite Sam (19701984) Most issues co-starred Bugs
  • Looney Tunes (19751984)

After Western ceased publishing comics in 1984, the franchise was out of comics until DC Comics, which has been owned by Warner Bros. since the 1970s, began the quarterly Looney Tunes Magazine in 1989. Although it did contain short comics, it was a general kids magazine that also included articles, games, and other activity pages. It was licensed out to Welsh Publishing beginning with issue 7 and was renamed to Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes Magazine. It ended after issue 21 in 1995.

The current Looney Tunes series by DC was launched in April 1994. It is still ongoing as of 2023, with over 270 issues published.

There was also a Bugs Bunny Newspaper Comic Strip that ran from 1944 to 1990, produced in the same style as the Dell/Western comic books and featuring the comic books' same supporting cast (Petunia, Cicero, Honey Bunny, Clyde).


Tropes:

  • Art Evolution: Honey Bunny was initially yellow and significantly shorter than Bugs. Later, they were made about the same height, and she was made gray like Bugs.
  • Ascended Extra: Petunia Pig and Bugs's nephew Clyde Rabbit were major characters in the Dell/Western comics, despite being very minor characters in the animated shorts. The DC book is even more inclined to bring back obscure characters like Pete Puma.
  • Burger Fool: In DC's Looney Tunes title, Lola Bunny works for Machu Pizza, where she specializes in delivering food to some very unusual customers: aliens, monsters, Fish People, gods and other mythological figures, etc.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Gold Key run had several. Porky's nephew Cicero, Bugs's girlfriend Honey Bunny, the Road Runner's three sons, and a little girl named Mary Jane who was friends with Sniffles the Mouse.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Though they were quite prominent in their day, the Looney Tunes franchise hasn't done anything with Cicero, Honey Bunny, and the other Gold Key characters in decades. Cicero would eventually reappear in Looney Tunes Cartoons in 2021. Honey Bunny was outright replaced by Lola Bunny for Space Jam because the animators on the film basically though the Honey Bunny design in use by the 90s looked exactly like Bugs in drag and not a distinct character.
  • Crossover:
    • Happens in the four issue "Superman & Bugs Bunny" with DC characters and Looney Tunes characters.
    • 2017's DC Meets Looney Tunes miniseries featured Elmer Fudd vs Batman, Marvin the Martian vs Martian Manhunter, Jonah Hex and Yosemite Sam, Wonder Woman and Taz, Bugs Bunny (as Super Rabbit) and the Legion of Superheroes, and Lobo vs Roadrunner. The 2018 run added in Catwoman/Tweety and Sylvester, Harley Quinn and Gossamer, The Joker and Daffy Duck, and Lex Luthor and Porky Pig.
    • Even rarely-paired franchise characters get into the crossover thing. Issue 263 of the DC series features a cover story where Wile E. Coyote and Ralph Wolf (two characters that already look near-identical) swap places, with Ralph going after the Road Runner, and Wile E. trying to steal sheep from Sam Sheepdog.
  • Death by Cameo: Issue #75 of the DC title shows that Elmer apparently killed Buster Bunny.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: In a revelation that was immortalized on Jeopardy!, Wile E. Coyote seeks out his Uncle Kraft E., who revealed that the 'E' stands for "Ethelbert".
    Wile E.: ETHELBERT? I'll...I'll be a laughingstock!
    Kraft E.: It's my middle name, too! Why do you think I went to live on top of that mountain, away from people?
    • Mark Evanier himself stated that he "didn't intend it as anything more than one joke on one page of one story in one issue."
  • Even The Rats Won't Touch It: Honey Bunny's cooking. According to Bugs, "The mice in [her] house have to send out for cheese sandwiches!"
  • Girlish Pigtails: Petunia Pig.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: In a lot of the Dell/Gold Key stories, Elmer is just a normal guy living in a neighborhood, and he and Bugs get along pretty well.
  • Magi Tech: "Magic Mischief Makers" from 1959 involves the wizards and goblins of a haunted forest deciding that they feel neglected by the modern world, and modernizing themselves with magical rayguns that can randomly transform anything they hit. They plan to run wild, transmogrifying everything and everyone. After sufficient hilarity has ensued, Bugs manages to prevent this.
  • Milestone Celebration: Issue #6 of the DC series ran a story celebrating Taz's 40th birthday, and issue #38 featured a special story for Marvin the Martian's 50th birthday.
  • Nephewism: Porky's nephew Cicero was a regular in the comics for decades. Bugs's nephew Clyde, a minor character from the original cartoons, was also a lot more prominent in the comics.
  • Product Placement: Even the Looney Tunes ensemble was employed to plug Hostess' confectioneries. Except for the one where Wile E. Coyote actually SUCCEEDS in capturing the Road Runner and Daffy Duck shows up to rescue him, they generally make more sense than the Superhero ones.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Road Runner in the Dell/Gold Key comics. He was given a first name—Beep Beep—and three sons who spoke in rhyme as well.
  • Subbing for Santa: In issue #73.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In the Gold Key comics, the Road Runner (and his three sons!) all talked, and Rhymed On A Dime, to boot.
  • Underestimating Badassery: A crossover story featuring Yosemite Sam and Jonah Hex portrays Sam as a miner. As per the terms of his deal with the three miners working at his claim, each one gets one tenth of the gold they find. Once they find enough gold they decide it's worth killing for, they decide to kill Sam so each one will get one third instead of a tenth and assume it'll be easy because they're taller than him and outnumber him. Sam is the only one who lives long enough to tell the tale.

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