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Marmaduke
Marmaduke.png
Author(s) Brad Anderson
Current status / schedule Running
Launch date 1954
Syndicate(s) United Features Syndicate

Marmaduke is a newspaper comic strip drawn by Brad Anderson from 1954 to the present day. The strip was created by Anderson, with help from Phil Leeming (1955-1962) and later Dorothy Leeming (1963-1969). The strip revolves around the Winslow family and their Great Dane, Marmaduke. The strip on Sundays also has a side feature called "Dog Gone Funny," in which one or more panels are devoted to dog anecdotes submitted by the fans. Anderson, who says he draws on Laurel and Hardy routines for his ideas,[1] received the National Cartoonists Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for the strip in 1978.

Contents

Characters

  • Marmaduke - A Great Dane. Marmaduke lives with the Winslow family and exhibits many characteristics not typically displayed by dogs.
  • Dottie - Housewife of the family whose daily life would probably be a lot less of a hassle if she didn't have Marmaduke around.
  • Phil - The head of the household. Phil loves his dog despite Marmaduke's antics but, not surprisingly, gets fed up once in a while.
  • Barbara - The Winslows' oldest child, also known as "Barbie".
  • Billy - The youngest Winslow. Billy is somewhat more at the mercy of Marmaduke than the others, as he is still dwarfed by the family pet.

Animated series adaptation

Ruby-Spears produced Marmaduke segments for the 1980 animated series Heathcliff, whose title character was also based on a comic strip character. In this animated version, the male characters were voiced by Paul Winchell and the females were voiced by Russi Taylor.

Reception

Brad Anderson won the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Newspaper Panel Cartoon in 1978,[2] and the George Arents Pioneer Medal for Syracuse University alumni in 1999.[3]

Marmaduke continues to be widely syndicated,[3] and is popular with readers: attempts to cancel Marmaduke have drawn protest, such as those by readers of The Toronto Star in 1999,[4] of the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 2007,[5] and of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1986.[6]

Despite this, its longevity and perceived monotony[7] have been noted by satirical publications such as The Onion,[8] and made it a butt of jokes,[4] or "a hot source of retro-ironic-subversive humor":[9] a blog called "Joe Mathlete Explains Today's Marmaduke"[10] deconstructs the strip to offer an alternative explanation for what's happening in the drawing;[11][12][7][9] another blog called "Marmaduke Can Vote" gives each panel a political slant;[13][9] and "The Marmaduke Project" re-imagines Marmaduke in other forms.[14][9]

In his satirical analysis at The Comic Strip Doctor, David Malki of Wondermark ranked Marmaduke among "the worst newspaper comic strips" alongside Heathcliff, Family Circus and Dennis the Menace.[15]

Motion picture adaptation

A combined live-action/animation Marmaduke movie, in which the Winslows and their computer-generated dog move from Kansas to California, is planned for release in June 2010. Actor Owen Wilson will voice Marmaduke, with actors Judy Greer, William H. Macy, and Lee Pace playing humans, and Steve Coogan, Fergie, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Damon Wayans and Marlon Wayans in voice roles.[16]

References

  1. ^ History, Great Dane defy rain at Brocton-Portland festival, Evening Observer
  2. ^ Marmaduke, bio at United Feature Syndicate website
  3. ^ a b ARENTS AWARD WINNERS, Syracuse University Magazine 1999: "The strip [...] now syndicated in more than 600 newspapers worldwide."
  4. ^ a b Garnet Fraser (February 3, 2008), "Web sites mocking comic strips gain following", The Toronto Star, http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/299901 : "Marmaduke has arguably spent 50 years retelling the same two jokes – Marmaduke is a dog with some human qualities, and Marmaduke is gargantuan – but the Star's attempt to drop it in 1999 sparked a reader revolt."
  5. ^ FROM YOUR READER ADVOCATE, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 13-JAN-07
  6. ^ Our readers show their loyalties, Chicago Sun Times, October 1, 1986
  7. ^ a b Laughing at, not with, the comics, Troy Reimink, Grand Rapids Press: "The daily comic strip strikes me as such a moldy, arcane form of entertainment, based on tired jokes repeated ad nauseam until the end of time. We get it: Garfield likes lasagna. Marmaduke is big."
  8. ^ Some Old Man Still Churning Out Marmaduke, The Onion, March 14, 2008
  9. ^ a b c d Jay Cridlin (October 10, 2006), "Doggone funny at last", St. Petersburg Times: 1E–2E, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=0eANAAAAIBAJ&sjid=eHgDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2222%2C5144274 
  10. ^ Marmaduke Explained
  11. ^ NPR Story about Marmaduke Explained: " Let's be clear. No one thinks Marmaduke is funny. [...] However, someone explaining Marmaduke -- that's funny."
  12. ^ CNN Article which mentions Marmaduke Explained
  13. ^ Marmaduke Can Vote
  14. ^ Marmaduke Project
  15. ^ The Comic Strip Doctor - Marmaduke
  16. ^ Owen Wilson to Voice Famous Comic Strip Character "Marmaduke"
  • Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1.

External links

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