We’ve written plenty about real-life humans with facial hair, from U.S. presidents to country music superstars, and now it’s time to take a look at the world of fiction. Here are the 12 best cartoon characters with mustaches.
So in no particular order: 12 cartoon characters with killer mustaches. If we missed your favorite – which we probably did – just leave a comment and let us know who it is.
Ready? Here we gooooooo!
Let’s start with the world’s most recognizable video game character, Mario. Created by Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario debuted in arcade form as Jumpman – a carpenter – in 1981’s Donkey Kong. The original storyline involved Jumpman abusing his pet ape, D.K.; the ape going apeshit crazy and dragging Jumpman’s girlfriend to the top of a building; and then Jumpman having to rescue his damsel in distress.
Miyamoto developed Mario’s distinctive mustache to deal with the graphical limitations of the time. “We gave him a mustache so that we didn’t need to draw a mouth,” Miyamoto said. Regarding Mario’s name, rumor has it that Nintendo named him after Mario Segale, the powerful Seattle-area real estate magnate whose warehouse Nintendo rented in the ’80s – and who got pissed when Nintendo didn’t make rent on time.
Did you know there’s a 1993 live-action Mario film spinoff called Super Mario Bros.? You probably shouldn’t watch it. You should, however, watch Mario raid a fridge and wipe in an old Got Milk? commercial. Just the kind of antics you’d expect from a member of the International Mustache Hall of Fame!
10. Yosemite Sam
So, back in the mid-1940s television life was getting a bit too posh for Bugs Bunny. His main adversary, Elmer Fudd, wasn’t tough enough to pose a challenge, so Warner Bros. raised the stakes. The result was a new character named Yosemite Sam, a short, angry man sporting a pair of gigantic mustaches with a pair of gigantic six-shooters to match.
Yosemite Sam’s creator was a man named Isadore “Friz” Freleng, the award-winning animator behind Bugs, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and many other cartoon characters from the Loonie Tunes and Merrie Melodies worlds. Freleng once told The Associated Press that he himself was the model for Yosemite Sam’s character. “I have the same temperament,” Freleng said. “I’m small, and I used to have a red mustache.” As they say, art imitates life.
9. The Lorax
Dr. Seuss published his beloved children’s book The Lorax in 1971, the year after the Environmental Protection Agency formed – pretty good timing given the book’s theme of environmental sustainability. In the story, The Lorax is an odd little cartoon spokesman who pops out of the trunk of a felled Truffula tree, which the enterprising Once-ler has chopped down and knitted into a Thneed. The Lorax wears a big droopy cartoon mustache that, if nothing else, enhances his expressions of anger and sadness at the Once-ler’s ever-increasing crimes against the Truffula trees and his pollution of the land with smogulous smoke, Gluppity-Glupp, and Schloppity-Schlopp. As you might remember, The Lorax and his ‘stache were no match for the Once-ler family’s enormous greed.
The American logging industry wasn’t impressed when The Lorax came out, and the book was actually banned in places where deforestation was in vogue. A couple decades later, a totally unbiased author and “active member of the hardwood flooring industry” named Terri Birkett wrote a rebuttal called Truax, made possible by the totally unbiased National Wood Flooring Manufacturers’ Association Environmental Committee. In place of The Lorax, who speaks for the trees, is Guardbark, wishy-washy protector of trees with nightmare fuel for a face. The book is “20 pages of complaining about The Lorax,” concludes blogger Tom B., and also this writer.
8. Batroc the Leaper
Now on to the world of comics. Let’s start with a Marvel selection – Georges Batroc, better known as “Batroc the Leaper” for his excellent jumping ability, first appeared in 1966’s Tales of Suspense #75. Batroc hails from Marseille, France, and did a stint in the French Foreign Legion before hopping off on his own as a mercenary, preferring a life of crime to honest breadwinning. He sometimes appears with a beard in addition to his waxed handlebar.
In the comics, Batroc clashes frequently with Captain America, and among the running gags associated with his character are his frequent defeats at Captain America’s hands. The other gags are his stereotypical French accent and his good cheer even in the face of defeat (“You have ruined me again, Capitan! You… I… Oh well! I guess those are the fortunes of war! C’est la vie!”). Interestingly, Batroc isn’t superhuman – just really, really good at the French martial art savate, and very spry to boot. Batroc appears in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played by Canadian MMA and UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre, and sparring with Chris Evans.
7. The Comedian
Since we did Marvel, we pretty much have to include a selection from DC Comics. Our choice is The Comedian, probably most famous for his part in the popular graphic novel Watchmen, in which he appears in flashback (the novel opens the day after he falls to his death). The Comedian’s real name is Eddie Blake – a nod to director Blake Edwards – and he is a darkly sarcastic, cynical vigilante with stubble, a small mustache, and an extremely violent side. There’s a reason his famous badge, a smiley face, comes with blood spatter.
A member of the Minutemen, and later the Crimebusters, The Comedian got himself into all kinds of dangerous hijinks during World War II and Vietnam. Supposedly, he was an accomplice in (or was responsible for) the assassinations of JFK as well as Watergate whistleblowers Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. He also got a Vietnamese gal pregnant and then walked out on her and the child. All in all, a pretty nice guy.
6. Ned Flanders
“*SQUEEEEEE* Purple drapes! All my life I’ve wanted purple drapes! *SQUEEEEEE*”
and a charming dia-diddly-lect known as Flanderspeak. Here is an English to Flanderspeak translator in case you need to sound insane while talking to someone. As you can see, Ned is the proud owner of one totally banger walrus mustache.
Thanks in part to the immense success of The Simpsons, Flanders, who is a frustratingly perfect, devoted Christian, has ended up as a poster boy for evangelical Christianity on par with several world leaders. So of course it makes sense that there is a Ned Flanders-themed metal band called Okilly Dokilly, with members Head Ned, Bled Ned, Red Ned, Thread Ned, and Stead Ned.
5. The Inspector
The Pink Panther Show is a series of cartoon shorts spun off from the live-action film series The Pink Panther, starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau. From the get-go, The Pink Panther films included an animated intro featuring the famous Pink Panther and Inspector characters, plus a catchy theme song that will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Just like the live actor, the animated inspector also wore a stylish little mustache.
The Pink Panther Show was co-produced by David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng – the Yosemite Sam creator who also helped make the Pink Panther happen. For one film reviewer in 1964, that animated panther was the saving grace for the live-action film. After shredding Sellers’ acting as forced and lambasting the movie script as “a basically unoriginal and largely witless piece of farce carpentry,” Bosley Crowther calls the cartoon panther the “one thing about this picture that is clever and joyous.”
We’re including Whitebeard, who does not have a beard, on this list because holy cow, look at that giant weapon of a ‘stache. Whitebeard’s real name was Edward Newgate, and he was the powerful captain of the Whitebeard Pirates in the One Piece world created by the ridiculously hardworking Japanese mangaka Eiichiro Oda. That is, until the Blackbeard Pirates, led by Blackbeard the betrayer, managed to kill him.
Whitebeard was a giant of a man – and the strongest man in the world, according to legend – who could conjure shock waves and uplift huge chunks of land and ocean during battle. Not exactly the kind of guy you wanted to be on the wrong side of. P.S., let us know if you find any gura gura no mi lying around; we’d like to sling some shock waves of our own the next time someone cuts us off in traffic.
3. Carl Brutananadilewski
Carl Brutananadilewski, or just “Carl”, is the only human protagonist from Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The others are anthropomorphic fast-food items (literally, a shake, some fries, and… well, a meat wad). Frylock has a goatee, technically. Anyway, Carl has a mustache. He died numerous deaths during the show’s run due to factors largely out of his control, like parasites and electrocution (Aquateen has a notable disregard for conventions like continuity). ATHF was officially canceled in 2015, but Carl lives on in his own Adult Swim spinoff, Carl’s Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week.
2. Cleanliness Committee Chief
So far most of the characters on this list are pretty recognizable, even if you’re not an avid comic fan. We wanted to include a lesser-known entry, so we went digging through the archives of Anime-Planet. Meet Cleanliness Committee Chief, the Planet of Confession’s lollipop-sucking cover-up artist. He’s featured in the anime version of Leiji Matsumoto’s Galaxy Express 999 manga series.
GE 999 is the name of the train that takes Tetsuro in search of an immortal mechanical body. We meet Mr. Chief in season 1, episode 19 (1979), “Planet of Confession” (aka “Kingdom of Atonement,” or “Kingdom of Repentance”). The chief, who is not the upstanding citizen you might expect, shows up at the 7-minute mark.
1. Captain Hook
Captain James Hook comes to us from J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up as the captain of the Jolly Roger. But Hook wasn’t actually in the original draft of the play; he was added later to give stagehands extra time to switch sets. Barrie decided pirates would make for good filler, and so was James Hook born into entertainment. Barrie openly acknowledged Hook’s obsession with the crocodile is a nod to Ahab, the vengeful captain from the classic Moby Dick.
The character we’re featuring here is, of course, the Captain Hook from Disney’s 1953 film, Peter Pan. We could probably also mention 1991’s Hook – not a cartoon, but Dustin Hoffman rocked a really great handlebar mustache.
Numbers aren’t our strong suit, but if we counted right that should bring us to 12 characters. Thanks for tagging along! We hope you enjoyed all the mustache stops along the way.
Feel free to leave a comment and let us know your favorite mustachioed cartoon character! Have a jolly day, and stay hairy, my friend!