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Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time. (Read 503 times)
Rat Man
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Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Sep 4th, 2020 at 3:31pm
 
   The title says it all.  My pick is Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPMpDCxhKGU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5AJgS_4FvU
Fighting not good.  Somebody always get hurt:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D_6z1EnSik

Edit:  I could have put Mr. Miyagi in my Bad Assed Movie Characters thread.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #1 - Sep 7th, 2020 at 8:41am
 
tricky one to define.

'loved' - if that was 'universally known' - then probably 'sherlock holmes' - who many americans believe was a real person whistle

I suspect it's also a generational thing as well as a cultural and country based thing too.

Interesting to see what people come up with. Smiley

Harry potter - probably the most recent and completely globally loved character around.
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NooneOfConsequence
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #2 - Sep 8th, 2020 at 5:08am
 
Mickey Mouse.  Nobody dislikes Mickey. 

I suppose if this is truly “of all time” then older characters would have an advantage over modern ones simply because they have been around longer and more people have had an opportunity to love them.

D’Artagnan probably has a slight advantage over the Count of Monte Christo simply because The Three Musketeers has broader cultural penetration. The Count was a more compelling and dynamic character overall... he was the original Batman, using his fortunes to fight evil, but he’s also less well-known compared to D’Artagnan among characters invented by Dumas.

You might have to go with someone like Hercules from Greek Mythology. He’s had a couple thousand years to be appreciated across many cultures and languages.  I guess you would really have to look at the sum of all generations over 2,000 years and compare that against the exponential population explosion of the last 100 years to do a fair comparison of Hercules versus Mickey Mouse
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“My final hour is at hand. We face an enemy more numerous and cunning than the world has yet seen. Remember your training, and do not fear the hordes of Judas. I, without sin, shall cast the first stone. That will be your sign to attack! But you shall not fight this unholy enemy with stones. No! RAZOR GLANDES!  Aim for the eyes! May the Lord have mercy, for we shall show none!“  -Jesus the Noodler
 
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #3 - Sep 8th, 2020 at 5:29am
 
Nope. Forget my previous analysis. I’ve got it. Clearly the answer is Jesus the Noodler!
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“My final hour is at hand. We face an enemy more numerous and cunning than the world has yet seen. Remember your training, and do not fear the hordes of Judas. I, without sin, shall cast the first stone. That will be your sign to attack! But you shall not fight this unholy enemy with stones. No! RAZOR GLANDES!  Aim for the eyes! May the Lord have mercy, for we shall show none!“  -Jesus the Noodler
 
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #4 - Sep 8th, 2020 at 7:03am
 
Out of left field -> Ripley from Alien.
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #5 - Sep 14th, 2020 at 6:22am
 
Doctor Who.
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #6 - Oct 20th, 2020 at 4:07pm
 
NooneOfConsequence wrote on Sep 8th, 2020 at 5:08am:
Mickey Mouse.  Nobody dislikes Mickey. 


I have to disagree.
I (or someone else) could write an entire book series exploring this topic but a single post on slinging.org will have to do.

The baseline is that Disney comic magazines are HUGE everywhere in Western Europe. Such magazines contain numerous different comics and are produced both in A4 format of 30-40 pages like American comics and A5 format of 80-100 pages like Japanese manga, and sold at gas stations and kiosks so everyone have been exposed to them at least a little. The height of Disney magazines, at least around here, both quality- and quantitywise were in the 90s and early 2000s.

Many different artists from European countries contribute. Local publishes then create their own localized magazines while using the comics foreign artists produce. Italy is the main producer of especially the A5 comics. However, the reason to why Disney comics are popular here in the first place is mainly because of just two American artists: Carl Barks and Don Rosa.

Starting with Barks it would only be SLIGHT hyperbole to say that Carl Barks is revered in Europe as a god. That is because:
1. When Disney comics began publishing in Europe his comics were licensed by many European publishers
2. Disney magazines mostly began publishing after WW2 and were among the first regular comic magazines to do so, meaning that everyone older than 20 have read them at least a little with the older generation having been showered in them since childhood
3. Carl Barks is awesome. He created the modern image of Donald Duck and completely revolutionized the character and brought the Donald Duck universe to its modern form.

The importance of Bark's work to Donald is tantamount to the creation of Donald Duck himself, I would argue, and if he had created his stories with another character that would probably have worked as well.

And now, to finally mention Mickey Mouse then the first thing to say is that he is not as popular as Donald Duck in Europe. Another point to mention is that there is a North/South divide on how popular Mickey is in relation to Donald. In the Mediterranean area Mickey is far more popular (maybe even more so than the duck) and many magazines bear his name. A pizza covered with french fries in Italy is called an Americana or Topolini (Italian for Mickey Mouse).

In the North, Donald Duck is undisputed king and Disney magazines are literally called "Donald Duck magazines". Stories featuring Mickey are rare and he appears at most once every one issue. In fact, he might very well be called disliked or even despised as he doesn't resonate among people used to Donald Duck (me being in that camp).
IN FACT, there are clubs in all the Nordic countries, and some other, named "Donaldist" unions that basically discuss comics featuring Donald Duck. I saw one of their yearly made-for-the-club illustrations depicting their members outright threatening Mickey Mouse.

In total, Duck over Mouse as the popularity of Donald in Southern Europe is not nearly as unbalanced as it is in North Europe.

Barks definitely have had a thing to say in this situation as he only produced a single Mouse comic during his decades long career. I am not sure why Italy likes Mickey Mouse so much but they had Mickey Mouse comics since the 30's.

The second Donald Duck artist to have an enormous impact on the character would be Don Rosa. He is unlike very few Disney artists before or after him (I can think of maybe 3 or 4 other) as he created long running stories that needed several magazine issues to be completed and often tied into one another (the main form of Disney comics are one shots or 2-4 issue long stories that aren't part of a greater universe). His stories were very mature and often featured carefully researched historically and scientifically accurate settings. His Disney career is basically a love letter to Carl Barks and many of Rosa's comics expanded on or continued on Barks stories that Barks himself had always intended to be nothing more than one-shots. Rosa neatly made sure that each and every of the more adventurous Bark stories fitted into a larger universe which again was in accordance with real historic events.

His magnus opus, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, tells the entire story of how Scrooge McDuck went from being a poor boy in Glasgow to become the richest duck in the universe and then meeting Donald Duck and his nephews. Barks had already painted the broad strokes of his life but only in passing, like how Kenobi mentioned the clone wars. Then came Rosa around and made what is the (or among, as some would say) the best comic ever created, anywhere.

Another of his Disney comics was specially made for Finland as the popularity of Donald Duck is at the VERY top there.

I mean
THE.
VERY.
TOP.

Even in other Nordic countries Donald Duck is not as popular. Its insane.
Any ways, this particular comic managed to tie the childhood of Scrooge McDuck into not only Finnish mythology but also historical Finnish persons and famous Finnish paintings in a respectful and historically accurate manner. So all in all, Rosa is awesome.

The whole Rosa/Barks/Europe/USA situation is very odd actually. Rosa was often told by American publishers to tone down his homages to Barks as the American audience was not very familiar with his stories.
Rosa also had a disdain for Mickey Mouse and just one of his many trademarks was to portray Mickey Mouse in humiliating manners either as squashed under the foot of an elephant or as hunting game (he never made a comic actually featuring him).   






Also in spirit of what I wrote above my contender for this thread's topic would be Donald Duck.

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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #7 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 8:13am
 
I read the life and times of scrooge mcduck after listening to the album that tuomas holopainen wrote. Really solid actually. I went in with low expectations but it is a solid read. Solid soundtrack too actually.

Donald Duck shorts were actually more popular and bigger earners than mickey ones here in the states but for whatever reason Mickey is still the icon. I still love watching Donald cartoons but Mickey, Minnie, Pluto never really amused me.
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"Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no more;they know nothing about themselves and they pass no judgement upon themselves. What is it, then, that pronounces the judgement? Our own guide and ruler, Reason."
 
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #8 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 12:11pm
 
Ha ha, of course a Finn made such and album. Gotta give it a try.

I have seen Disney shorts a long time ago but I think the Donald and Mickey ones were equally entertaining to me. They are from before Barks came around and Mickey isn’t that annoying. Pluto was fun though.
I guess the icon thing has to do with Mickey being a favorite of Disney and his silhouet being easily recognizable.

Also I claimed that Disney comics didn’t really exist in USA but it is actually true? Both now and in the past.
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #9 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 1:03pm
 
my understanding is that they were never as popular as other graphic novels here in the states. They were seen as "kid stuff" even among kids. So a 10 year old in the US would spend his allowance on a batman/spiderman/superman rather than a disney comic. But they did exist at a low level, my wife read some when she was a kid, but her family loves disney. I read maybe a couple but never if I could get my hands on something else.

25 years later (now) there's a bit more but mainly because we found out they were popular in Europe. So more 'serious' graphic novel fans started exploring it. Sort of like we have done with your board games Grin
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"Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no more;they know nothing about themselves and they pass no judgement upon themselves. What is it, then, that pronounces the judgement? Our own guide and ruler, Reason."
 
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #10 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 1:38pm
 
Slyngorm wrote on Oct 20th, 2020 at 4:07pm:
specially made for Finland as the popularity of Donald Duck is at the VERY top there.

It's absolutely true. Every family, EVERY family, has a collection of Donald Duck (Aku Ankka) comics and books. You can buy them in all supermarkets and there is genuine hype when new ones come out. My wife's father and uncle still have collections that reach back into at least the 70's. Her brother has his own collection which consists of binders upon binders of copies and all the special release books.

Don Rosa is worshiped here. We went to a book fair/exhibition (it's a real big one they have every year here in Helsinki that's mostly for publishing industry types but we get free tickets because of connections and then spend most of the time in the food exhibition which happens at the same time and has lots of free samples Cheesy) when Don Rosa was there doing talks and signing stuff. The line to meet him and get something signed snaked across the whole exhibition area. And he signed everything. He was there for hours. We didn't join the line because myself and my wife aren't truly fans and we had places to be, but he wasn't just signing stuff and pushing it along. He was talking with people and having that moment with them and really seemed like a nice guy that really cares.

And he does it EVERY YEAR.

It really is crazy.
With the comics themselves, I've read bits and pieces of them, but it's not the easiest for me to read with my poor Finnish. The language used isn't just simple children's stuff. It's quite nuanced and deep and uses a lot of unusual, seldom-used words. Adults regularly read them and it's not thought of as childish because they are real books.

The literacy level in Finland is really high for, I think, two reasons (other than the great education system):
1. TV and movies all get subtitles. There is a lot of stuff dubbed but that's only for very small children. With Finland being so small, a lot of their media is foreign so you have to learn to read quick if you want to keep up.
2. Reading is encouraged and very much part of the culture. It's taken seriously here which way  The opening of the new library in Helsinki, Oodi, to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence, really shows that. They put a LOT of money into it and people flocked to it and it's still busy all the time. One of my favourite places to be honestly. Donald Duck comics are very much a part of that as they are so much a part of the culture. The comics and reading culture both feed into each other and it means kids are reading early and they're reading more than just their ABCs. They've had multiple campaigns encouraging reading with Aku Ankka and supporting children's literacy. It's truly fantastic and it's sad to compare the UK and Finland in this regard because I feel like that ingrained love of reading just isn't as strong as it is here.

To speak shortly on comics in general, they are given far more respect here than in the UK as well. A lot of classic comics really took off over here and have their own life. The Phantom (the guy in the purple jumpsuit jumping around in the rainforest) was inexplicably incredibly popular over here in decades past for example. At that same book fair I mentioned, there is a dedicated LARGE area devoted to comics of all types, genres and styles. Every library I've ever been too in Finland has had an, at least, decent comic book section that are always being updated with new releases and they're not just superhero comics. Comics are really respected and I love it.
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Rat Man
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #11 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 3:43pm
 
   Donald Duck has been around even longer than me.  It's hard and strange to imagine him a super star in Finland.
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #12 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 3:53pm
 
Rat Man wrote on Oct 21st, 2020 at 3:43pm:
   Donald Duck has been around even longer than me.  It's hard and strange to imagine him a super star in Finland. 

It's really weird, but he truly is. Mickey Mouse is less iconic than Donald Duck over here. In a lot of ways I can see why. He's certainly a more relatable character. Mickey is basically a boring blank slate because he's a glorified mascot. Donald actually has a personality. An angry one, but a personality none the less.
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Rat Man
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #13 - Oct 21st, 2020 at 9:24pm
 
     Donald IS a lot more fun to watch than Mickey.
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Re: Most Universally Loved Fictional Characters of All Time.
Reply #14 - Oct 23rd, 2020 at 9:04am
 
I went to a local comics convention some years ago when Rosa was visiting. He was so popular that there was a line to receive tickets so that you later on could stand in line to meet him.

Which I did of course.
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