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Comic Strip / Rupert Bear

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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 (although at times it appears to be more of a distant commuter suburb of London). 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 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.

No, this is not a Spin-Off of Family Guy starring Stewie Griffin's Companion Cube.

Tropes found series-wide and in the comics/books:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Rupert started out with brown fur, but was given white fur by the second artist, Alfred Bestall, in 1935. He continued to be brown on the covers of the annuals, and in the seventies puppet series.
  • 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!
  • Beary Friendly: Rupert and his family are all incredibly friendly bears.
  • Big Eater: Podgy Pig
  • 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.
    • Rupert gets extra points for considering the Fox Twins to be his friends, even though they see him as more of a Chew Toy. In fact, he's such a good guy, he borders on Messiah territory.
  • 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.
  • Identical Grandson: Hinted at but not confirmed with both Algy and Ottoline, who meet their historical doppelgängers on separate occasions, but in eerily similar circumstances: Duke Algernon/Princess Ottoline is taken hostage by their second in command/legal tutor, only for Algy/Ottoline, displaced in time, to appear and get mistaken for them, resulting in Rupert needing to come to their rescue.
  • Inept Mage: In "Rupert's Crazy Path", Tiger Lily's attempt to put an enchantment on Mr Bear's garden path accidentally opens a portal to a bizarre subterranean land. Her father, the Conjurer, has to render the path safe by reversing the spell.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Plant Person: Raggety the Wood Troll is a walking and talking bundle of twigs, and brings to mind an unfortunate cross between Pinocchio and Gollum. While he does have the requisite kinship with trees, Raggety is far from being a Wise Tree, as he is unpleasant, dishonest, and rather curiously associated with Winter.
  • 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: 100 years and still going.
  • The Professor: The Professor
    • The Wise Old Goat may also count.
  • Public Domain Character: Sherlock Holmes as well as Watson make an appearance in a Rupert story.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Rupert has foiled a couple of these.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Wonderland: Some of Rupert's adventures take place in worlds like Dreamland, Toyland, Mirrorland, and Timeland.