Rupert Bear is a children's comic strip character featured in a series of books based around his adventures. The character was created by the English artist Mary Tourtel and first appeared in the Daily Express on 8 November 1920. Rupert's initial purpose was to grab sales from the rival Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. Since then he has become significant to children's culture in the United Kingdom. Alfred Bestall took over from 1935 until 1965, various people have written and illustrated Rupert to this day.
The story's setting is the village of Nutwood, which resembles an idealized version of an English village in the early 1930s. Rupert's adventures are very diverse, appealing to many aspects of fantasy. Unlike most modern comic strips, Rupert has always been produced in the form of illustrations accompanying text, as opposed to text being incorporated into the art through the use of Speech Bubbles. Rupert is notable for having survived the years of World War II. Annuals have been released every year since 1936.
Rupert has had several TV series, the most popular being a 1990s animated cartoon series produced by Nelvana. Rupert also appeared in Paul McCartney's 1984 music video "We All Stand Together"; McCartney also made an animated video starring Rupert called Rupert and the Frog Song.
For the 1990s cartoon, see this page.
Tropes found series wide and in the comics/books:
- Adults Are Useless: Averted. Plenty of adults have helped Rupert on his adventures. It's just the parents who are almost never involved.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Ottoline
- Alliterative Name: Used on a lot of the animal children such as Bill Badger, Podgy Pig, and Gregory Guinea-Pig. Exceptions include Edward Trunk, Algy Pug, and of course, Rupert himself.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Many characters appear such as Father Time, the Four Winds, they've even got a character who's basically a personification of April Fool's Day!
- Big Eater: Podgy Pig
- Chinese Girl: Tiger Lily
- The Christmas Annual: One of the longest-running examples, which has a higher profile and readership than the actual strip.
- Cute Witch: Rupert and the Wobbly Witch. Interestingly, she's upset because witches aren't supposed to be beautiful.
- Tiger Lily also qualifies; she's learned a few things from her father, the Conjuror.
- Deadpan Snarker: Bill
- Defeat Means Friendship: Rupert has managed to befriend some of his enemies, one of the most notable examples being the troublesome twig troll Raggety.
- Depending on the Artist: Averted. Every artist takes great pains to emulate their original predecessor, Mary Tourtel.
- Father Christmas: Rupert's met him a few times; he also takes care of Version I snowlems.
- Free-Range Children: Rupert and his friends travel around the world and back, consort with all sorts of mythological creatures... but are also told by their parents that they're too young to go camping out without parental supervision. In fairness, Rupert's parents never find out about his adventures unless he tells them about it afterwards.
- The Hero: Rupert, of course. He's such a nice guy, always concerned for others, willing to help out, and always has a brilliant plan. He's a good friend, too. Understanding and forgiving, which are good traits to have when your friends tend to have Aesop Amnesia or play the Blame Game.
- An Ice Person: Jack Frost and Billy Blizzard both have ice powers.
- Iconic Outfit: Rupert's trademark outfit consists of his plaid yellow scarf and trousers and red jumper. Everyone else is considered either this or Limited Wardrobe.
- Ironic Name: bordering on "Blind Idiot" Translation; in the Dutch dub, Rupert's name is changed to....Bruintje (Browny), despite the character having white fur.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Podgy Pig. While he's generally quite nice, he can also be selfish and mean at times.
- The Lancer: Although Rupert has a wide cast of friends who alternate being the sidekick on each adventure, Bill's snark, pessimism, and usual reluctance to jump head-first into adventure like his friend make him Rupert's most Lancer-like foil.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: In the various incarnations of Rupert Bear, both humans and animals lived in Rupert's world. Most of the citizens of Rupert's hometown were animal, though several of Rupert's friends, The Professor and Tiger Lily, were human, as were residents of several nearby towns like Appleton. Nutwood Forest is also populated by sapient but otherwise "normal" Talking Animals!
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There a quite a lot of characters, which is to be expected from a comic strip that's been going on for over 90 years.
- Magic Versus Science: Subverted, Rupert lives in a world with both, and neither is made out to be better than the other; there are good and evil magicians, and good and evil scientists. This allows Rupert to have adventures ranging from saving unicorns from a greedy wizard to meeting Nessie in a submarine.
- Mr. Imagination: Rupert's parents assume their son's outlandish stories of his adventures are signs of an overactive imagination... Word of God says they're wrong.
- Narrative Poem: A distinctive feature of the strip and annuals is that there are two parallel text narrations. One is detailed prose, while the other, for younger children, consists of a single rhyming couplet for every panel.
- Painting the Frost on Windows: There are Spring Imps and Autumn Elves, the Clerk of the Weather, and the Sandman. Also, the source of the Nile River is a gigantic old faucet.
- Petting Zoo People: Rupert and his friends have animal heads (and sometimes tails) on human-shaped bodies.
- Police are Useless: Constable Growler, a literal Terrier Of Justice, tends to be The Lestrade to Rupert's Amateur Sleuth. He doesn't seem to mind, as long as justice is done in the end.
- Averted in Rupert and Little Yum where he is a big help in catching the bad guys, as well as his starring episode Rupert and Growler. Rupert and the Space Pilots also counts.
- Print Long-Runners: 90 years and still going.
- The Professor: The Professor
- The Wise Old Goat may also count.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Rupert has foiled a couple of these.
- Sherlock Holmes as well as Watson make an appearance in a Rupert story.
- The Smurfette Principle: The comic strip had few female characters Ottoline Otter (introduced about a couple of decades ago) and Tiger Lily, not counting the mothers of the characters and the main cast was mostly male.
- Species Surname: Other than the title character being a bear whose last name is Bear, there are many examples, such as Rupert's friends consisting of a badger named Bill Badger, a pig named Podgy Pig, and others.
- Spoiled Sweet: Podgey Pig is fairly greedy at times, but he is mostly good-natured and one of Rupert's closest friends.
- Pong Ping, Tiger Lily and Ottoline Otter are from wealthy families, and have ties to royalty, and you'd be hard pressed to find anything rotten about any of them.
- Spring Is Late: Because the Imps of Spring seem to have been delayed.
- Time Travel: Some of Rupert's adventures are a result of this. Usually a type 3.
- Trickster Twins: The Fox Twins
- Weirdness Magnet: Rupert, full-stop.
- The Wild West: where Rupert's Uncle Grizzly lives.
- The Wonderland: Some of Rupert's adventures take place in worlds like Dreamland, Toyland, Mirrorland, and Timeland.