The art of cosplaying seems to go hand-in-hand with comic books, video games, famous movies, or pop culture book phenomena. So where is the love for the classic cartoons? There’s plenty of that too, it’s just that it’s an impossible job to really be able to do right. Of course, kid’s cartoons feature all kinds of outlandish and heightened concepts that tend to only work on the small screen as an animated venture, and definitely not in real life.
Still, as seen by the pictures down below, the cosplay force is strong with the classic cartoons as several fans have taken on the high task of ingeniously re-enacting everything from talking ducks to animated blobs of green clay.
They’ve got a massive selection to choose from, too, as the cartoon wheelhouse is vast and varied with such classics as the Walt Disney repertoire or the Warner Bros' Looney Tunes backlog, to the later Hanna Barbera cast of characters or Cartoon Network's game-changing toons that emerged in the mid-90s.
It’s no easy or mild task to take these on and do it successfully, though; many have tried and failed. There are way too many creepy or plain weird misfires of cartoon cosplay creations out there on the internet; weird arms, misjudged facial features, unintentionally creepy make-up... if you don’t believe me, just Google it.
So, we should champion and celebrate the smart and passionate cosplayers that managed to get that impossible balance just right. Here they are...
30 Johnny Bravo
In the mid-90s, a whole slew of impressive original characters emerged on Cartoon Network's broadcast. None were more memorable than Johnny Bravo, the ultimate muscle-bound self-centered doofus that scores out with the ladies at an impressively consistent rate. Of course, his trademark black t-shirt and blue jeans combo are an easy wear for a cosplayer to wear.
The muscle-bound physique and gravity-defying hairstyling: not as easy.
Not for cosplayer Metalslimer, who shared his impressive Comic-Con outfit. The resemblance and build is uncanny in the result of a walking-and-talking live-action version of the low intelligence guy.
29 Bart Simpson
No doubt one of the longest-running cartoon series ever made, The Simpsons is all about that family unit, even though little rascal Bart remained the clear favorite in the show's early years.
Many have tried and failed at replicating his trademark look, yet it’s hardly as easy as you’d think; bright yellow skin and jagged straight up hair are his signature stylings. Most attempt a full-on paper mache head, yet the results are awkward.
Cosplayer xXramenfoxXx really clicked with the challenge, though, and nailed the youthful and surreal traits of the character, along with his difficult trademark features.
28 Boris Badenov And Natasha Fatale
Rocky And Bullwinkle may not be ingrained into the post-modern zeitgeist at present-day... heck, it wasn’t even part of the pop-culture even back when it was airing. Yet, fans of the cult program know that nefarious agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are one of the fondest memories for most of its watchers.
They were portrayed perfectly in the mediocre 2000 movie by Jason Alexander and Rene Russo.
That being said, the performance reviews were ultimately mixed. Still, even more impressive are these unknown cosplayers pretty much looking as if they were ripped straight off the page of the newspaper they are holding... pretty uncanny, no?
27 Charlie Brown
In the comic strip Peanuts, kid protagonist Charlie Brown went through all kinds of adventures with his buddies, even if they were easily overshadowed by their dog mascot Snoopy when the property came to TV screens as a cartoon.
A distinct t-shirt and a bald head with a squiggle line are what makes up Charlie Brown.
At first glance, it's probably not that difficult to replicate. Yet, Charles Schulz' distinct art style would be difficult to replicate in real life. But not for this unknown cosplayer, who brought this ingenious use of paper mache to adapt Brown into costume.
26 Goofy And Max
Walt Disney’s Goofy was always an oddity amongst his fellow compatriots; if Goofy is a dog, then what is Pluto? Still, the loveable sidekick became an endearing fan favourite over the decades.
So much so that he landed a solo movie in 1995, which featured his misadventures with him and his son Max.
There have been some infamously creepy versions of Goofy cosplay out on the internet that misfire on every level (Google it)... but not by cosplayer RhymeLawliet (as Goofy) accompanied by buddy GrangerGal9089 (as Max), replicating a pitch-perfect scene from the movie.
25 Marvin The Martian
Warner Bros' Looney Tunes cartoons contain so many classic and memorable characters you would struggle to name them all on two hands. One of those that might not spring to mind immediately, but is nonetheless still memorable, is the mild-mannered yet tough Martian called Marvin.
Here, captured at Anime Expo 2008 by photographer NightengaleX5, is an unknown cosplayer with a self-made variation of that specific alien. He gets points for impressively portraying the character's signature cranky moods as well.
24 Krusty The Clown
Another The Simpsons entry, yet this one is a variation of everyone’s favorite hard-living kids show host, Krusty.
He’s actually quite difficult to get right via cosplay, with the internet littered with failed attempts of achieving it as an effective costume.
The hilariously scuzzy and masculine cartoon character gets a fantastic live-action variation here, with it, hands down, being the best cosplay version of the character. Productive cosplayer The Trash Mask absolutely slam-dunks her version of Krusty in this slight female spin on the character... impressive stuff indeed.
Hanna Barbera cartoons hold plenty of adored characters, but probably none so more than the Scooby-Doo gang. Fred, Wilma, Daphne, and of course, Shaggy and Scooby. It’s one of the rare HB cartoons to get a live-action adaptation, although the CGI dog and Matthew Lillard really didn’t do the title justice in those roles.
Shaggy is not impossible to do in a cosplay adaptation; in fact, he’s basically a lanky sort of hippie looking fellow. Still, credit really has to go to cosplayer MentalHaggis, as he pretty much looks like the pitch-perfect variation come to life of Scooby-Doo’s best bud.
22 Felix The Cat
The cartoon featuring a happy-go-lucky cat and his bag of limitless tricks is one of those old-school classics that still holds up today.
His nefarious nemesis wasnamed simply The Professor.
He was the first of many evil scientist types in cartoons, something we'd see a lot of later. This ingenious DIY Halloween costume from an unknown cosplayer manages to skilfully put both of the characters into one costume that easily does both justice. They should really mass produce these for Halloween every season.
21 Samurai Jack
One of the several classic titles Genndy Tartakovsky created with Cartoon Network, and arguably the best as well. It was an arresting cartoon that worked well for the kids and for the adults too.
Tartakovsky’s trademark blocky and minimalist style is a charming trademark that goes hand-in-hand with storytelling, yet it makes it darn difficult to replicate if you are going for a completely faithful real-life rendition of that character. Cosplayer demonsee (with a photo by Evan Narcisse) knocked this one out of the park, though.
20 Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. Coyote and his obsessive quest to off that fast and weird bird is no doubt a TV classic that is as hilarious in this day-and-age is it was back then. Creating the humanoid look of the dessert critter is another story.
Most people intent on dressing as the Coyote usually go the easy route and just buy the old furry store variation.
Not in the case of this Road Runner super-fan. Aptly named WileE2005, he went out of his way by building this incredible replication of the character from scratch for a Halloween party, and the effort shows.
The always scrap-ready sailor who's fueled by his spinach and no-nonsense demeanour is an all-time favourite for cartoon watchers.
His distinct look is hard to get right in real-life, though, with a misfiring Robin Williams movie not doing it justice and with several fans attempting to build fake arms (or sometimes fake facial features) just being plain odd.
Leave it to this cosplayer, named The Rock to get the build, costume, and glare all correct; hmmm, that guy looks familiar? Maybe he was in a movie or something?
18 The Grinch
Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a heart-warming story that received a great and faithful cartoon rendition in 1966. Later on, a live-action version was achieved with mixed results, although the make-up and effects created to make Jim Carrey transform into the Grinch were astounding.
But the movie was done with an endless budget, and special effects maestro Rick Baker behind it.
If you wanted to do the same thing at home, that would be impossible, no? Well, not according to cosplayer Alison D who basically did just that easy DIY methods and household items.
17 Donald Duck
Walt Disney’s cartoon character Donald Duck is easily irritable (and weirdly pantless) duck that ends up on all kinds of wacky adventures with Mickey Mouse and co, so his prominent cosplay variation usual goes the simple Disneyland suit path. Well, what if someone decided to go a more practical route?
This cosplay re-enactment takes up the task of taking an actual duck and dressing him up like Donald... blows the mind, kind of?
Sure, it’s a silly meme, but you got to admire this unknown photographer who took the time in recreating the character in as accurate a way as possible.
16 Dexter And DeeDee
Genndy Tartakovsky and his genius Cartoon Network output strikes this list again... this time with his ultra-classic Dexter’s Laboratory getting a live-action variation.
Revolving around the boy genius and his dimwitted sister, the two are front and centre in this sharp cosplay photo.
Active cosplayers Cosplay Hazard (as Dexter) and Medium Rarity (as DeeDee) are photographed by Video Game Stupid in this impressive cosplay version of the cartoon. It certainly captures the style and flavour of that distinct cartoon series all in just one photo... don’t push that button, DeeDee!
15 SpongeBob SquarePants
That wacky undersea sponge-thing that likes to wears his clothes smart casual has been a cartoon mainstay for the kid’s TV programming since his debut. He’s also a prevalent costume at annual events and festivals with the trademark bulky and plastic factory made outfit a top seller.
This cosplayer took it to another level with his variation, all made with DIY care and affection. It's made by a man that goes by the name jlegighkrupp, who designed this costume for his son’s Halloween party with less than 10 dollars' worth of materials... not bad for that price at all.
14 Bugs Bunny
The mascot of the Looney Tunes cartoons is a rascally rabbit with a penchant for carrots and making life difficult for his several baddies.
He’s also a major mainstay at several theme-parks with the common blocky fur-suit variation representing him.
But what if a cosplayer took on a different rote and instead of looking like an awkward man in a suit, personified him as an actual human with all the personality traits intact? Based off of fan art by sakimichan that was adapted by cosplayer DakunCosplay, it’s an anime style slant that captures everything about the rabbit we know and love.
The Jetsons is a stalwart show from Hanna Barbera productions. It basically plays like a space-age spin on The Flintstones but is a classic nonetheless. One of the iconic characters would be the robotic maid Rosie, whose space-age appearance would make her highly difficult to replicate as cosplay.
Leave it up to a clever (and unknown) cosplayer to not only create an excellent and manageable costume of the character but also to make it with low-grade materials from the household. Who needs space-age technology for this costume?
Sylvester and Tweety are at the top of the list when it comes to memorable Looney Tunes characters; the classic cat-and-bird dynamic is great, as the two attempt to outmatch the other in all sorts of wacky cartoon shorts.
But what about the vital part of the equation... the character of Granny?
In fact, her insisting that the two pets live side by side is the whole reason for the conflict in the first place. Well, here this unknown cosplayer pretty much personifies the character to a tee, with the added bonus of the cuddly toy versions of Sylvester and Tweety being a cute extra plus.
11 Homer Simpson
Yet another The Simpsons cosplayer strikes again, but in this case, it’s saving the best for last. The show is really anchored by the dimwitted dad Homer Simpson, whose flippant behaviour makes the butt of several classic jokes throughout its epic (and currently still going) run.
Regardless of how well known he is, it doesn’t make his weird stylings any easier to cosplay. Shame this cosplayer remains unknown and unnamed because his variation on Homer is awesome and spot-on... give the man a Duff already!
10 Inspector Gadget
A trademark cartoon on TV screens during the late 1980s, Inspector Gadget featured the bumbling agent getting in all sorts of trouble, with his niece Penny usually getting him out of it. Despite that, he had an endless supply of crazy awesome gadgets to help on his missions to take down Doctor Claw.
This unknown model is posing for a clever DIY variation for the website Maskerix that specializes in easy and feasible ways of creating your own cool Halloween costumes. It personifies Agent Gadget with just a little effort and smart appliances.
When it comes to old-school classic cartoon shows, Gumby is fondly remembered during the late 1980s. All told in the specialized stop-motion clay animation of the time, it makes for difficult cosplay to get pitch perfect though.
Most cosplayers go with a bag suit for Gumby cosplay, but it tends to look like someone in just a green sack and not much else.
Not so for this unknown cosplayer spotted at the Emerald City Comic-Con 2013 (and photographed by David ‘DTJAAAM’ Ngo), with him doing a pretty stellar job of bringing the character into real-life cosplay glory.
The blatant cartoon variation on Superman (except, you know, with a dog) is a fondly remembered mid-60s cartoon. It saw hopeless character Shoeshine Boy saddled with secret powers, and when called upon he would jump into a phone booth and bust out as Underdog, a cape-wearing and flying superhero.
This unknown cosplayer decided to go the extra mile and be creative with recreating Underdog; instead of wearing a clunky and uncomfortable animal head costume, he went with some creative make-up and the do-gooder attitude to capture the character.
7 Space Ghost
This is one Hanna Barbera character that had several interesting variations; first as a no-nonsense superhero in the mid-60s, then he was brought back for the offbeat fake talk show Space Ghost: Coast To Coast where his character took a more tongue-in-cheek persona.
Then DC comics brought him back in the 2000s for a mini-series where he was all serious again.
Here, this unknown cosplayer personifies him at a Comic-Con, getting the trademark costume right, plus the stoic stance and deadpan glare. Oh, and of course those spray-on muscles, while fake, do the job fine enough.
6 Captain Caveman
Another Hanna Barbera character is the focus here; this time as the unstoppable force of Captain Caveman. Sporting a beard so gigantic that it basically covers his entire body, he’s not the go-to for people when thinking of achievable cosplay.
This unknown cosplayer, who submitted to Mexican cosplay site Cospobre, does a clever twist on creating the old Captain as a costume; by sitting on his hands and knows and placing the facial features on his wig and striking a pose, its pretty genius. Sure, you couldn’t wear it for an entire Halloween night, but for one humorous photo, it more then works.
5 Darkwing Duck
A Walt Disney spin on the whole dark brooding superhero thing of the early 90s (a.k.a. Batman fever), Darkwing Duck was a fun counterpart to all the other Disney duck related shows that seemed to come out in droves during the period.
And while a memorable character, cosplaying a life-sized and tough duck person is a high mountain to climb.
Not for cosplayer king_kaehamayhem, who executed this fantastic and faithful recreation of the duck-faced vigilante for the MC Chris Show with simple second-hand clothes and household items.
4 Dick Dastardly
Mr Dastardly and his snickering dog sidekick Muttley were Hanna Barbera mainstays through several shows and spin-offs. Starting off as a supporting character in Wacky Races, he soon went front and centred for Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
For this commercial homage to the Wacky Races show, costume designer Sharon Gilham recaptured the look and outfit of Dastardly to an uncanny real-life resemblance. Still, the item that really sells it is that subtle fake nose that makes Dastardly completely come to life.
3 Minnie Mouse
Mickey Mouse’s one true love is no doubt Minnie, and her persona is all over any Disney related park you can go to.
The costume gets the same variation over and over though; the big animal head, the dead eyes and the A-gap mouth.
What if a cosplayer went a more inventive direction? Cosplayer Tink Ichigo did just that by completely capturing the persona and style of Minnie without the disconnect of a big furry suit. It’s a quaint and adorable photo that does the character justice in a creative way.
2 Magica De Spell
The dark villainess was recurring on the classic kids show DuckTales. On a constant quest to steal Scrooge McDuck’s riches, she unsuccessfully tried to do this time and time again. Again, we come to the difficulty of successfully dressing like a Disney character without looking like an out-of-work Disneyland employee.
A prominent YouTuber who hosts the channel MakeYourFace came up with a pretty ingenious method of bringing old Magica to life. Armed with some clever make-up effects, she successfully brings that awkward duck bill feature to life while still able to enjoy her drink at the next Halloween party.
One of the most frightening villains from 1980s kid shows was Skeletor, He-Man’s sworn nemesis and evil overlord of the planet Eternia. Every week on Masters Of The Universe the two would duck it out on seemingly an endless and counterproductive basis.
Still, that didn’t hamper that he was a great villain very much worthy of cosplay, although that’s easier said than done.
This custom made the costume by the talent group Dark Iron Productions brings the villain to chilling life with just spandex, foam, glue, and rubberized coating materials. Looks tons better than that silly 80s movie version.