All of us are here because we love games and shameless appeals to our childhoods. While nostalgia is often derided as a hollow pursuit that the entertainment industry capitalizes on, there’s a reason why we can’t get enough of it. The Saturday morning cartoons we grew up watching — or some of you may be watching for the first time nowadays — hold a special place in our hearts. We’re growing/grew up with these stories. For many of us, they were our first introductions into drama and character. If you’ve seen enough episodes, no matter how old you are, you’re still invested in Helga and Arnold’s relationship or you’re rooting for Ashi and Samurai Jack to get it on. Everybody remembers their first.
But TV or movies rarely work out the way we want them to, even when we’re treated to cookie-cutter happy endings. There’s always so much left unsaid. There’s always so much you can’t say because of censor boards. We may crave for these cartoon characters to grow up and behave in adult ways, but the very nature of them being cartoon characters prevents it. That’s where artists come in. Fans from all over the world have long sought to fill the gap between expectation and result. Using their considerable talents for good, these benefactors give us webcomics that imagine What Might Have Been. Other times they’re just hilariously sick and twisted. If you’re a fan of these kids cartoons like us, there’s no looking away.
Here are 25 kids cartoons comics that make us blush.
The Princess and the Frog was the first Disney movie to feature a black Princess character as the lead. Unfortunately, the movie may not be remembered for much else; it hasn’t struck the same chord with audiences as other classic Disney films. The movie’s premise revolves around Tiana breaking the spell of a frog who claims to be a prince. This comic hilariously imagines Tiana’s ulterior motives. It’s a thought that would never occur to the Tiana in the movie, but maybe it would to a real adult. What if she kept the good parts about having a boyfriend with an elongated tongue? For all you precious children out there, there’s no need to google further.
There’s something vaguely creepy about googling and compiling a list of comics of beloved Nickelodeon characters. But before you judge me too quickly, you’re reading this sentence which means you clicked this article and got this far. We’re in this together. I’M NOT GOING BACK TO JAIL. Anyways, here we have an artistic reinterpretation of Danny and Sam from the hit show Danny Phantom. Sam is supposed to be Danny’s best friend but of course, they have all that will-they-won’t-they tension. Sam’s all worried about others finding out she’s rich and only liking her for her money, so she doesn’t open up to Danny. She does here though. I haven’t seen much of the show but I don’t think the animators have often shown Danny’s washboard abs.
Another Disney Princess reimagined in a modern setting. In this clever adaptation of The Princess and the Frog from Collegehumor, Tiana suffers the real-life equivalent to what kissing a frog is really like. No doubt she awoke the next morning, cold dread hitting her in her sober state as she realized she just spent the night with a frog. So she sneaks out — maybe before he even wakes up — and embarks on the long walk of shame back to her dorm room. The hero’s journey here is converted to that very walk. Walk of Shame? Own it! Call it the Stride of Pride! Bonus points for the clever use of “pad” on the door. Always been a pun I’ve appreciated.
Oh, Princess Anna. Why are you crushing on Prince Hans from the Kingdom of the Southern Isles when he’s clearly not the right guy for you? When Frozen came out in 2014, it was praised for subverting the age-old Disney trope where women just fall for princes, get married, and live happily ever after. Real life doesn’t work like that. Princess Anna soon learns a valuable lesson about not jumping into marriage with the first guy she meets when — spoilers — Hans turns out to be a real stinker. This comic shows how we can all relate to a princess’s crush. In real life, many of us can daydream over people who are night right for us.
There’s nothing about this Prince that is charming. Adam Ellis created this webcomic series, The Book of Adam, and it often lampoons pop culture such as Disney movies. Pro tip: if you;’re googling cartoon comics that make a person blush for an article, Adam Ellis is your MVP. Here we have Aurora from Sleeping Beauty re-imagined as a partygoer at some college shindig and Prince Charming is some random dude talking her ear off. She’s put to sleep not by a curse, but by Prince Charming’s mildly misogynistic banter: “the gender pay gap is just a myth… you’re not like the other girls…” The only myth here is Prince Charming. If you like Adam’s stuff, you should check out his site.
Okay, there are SO many things wrong with Disney movies. This comic impressively sums up all the major problems surrounding Disney princesses in just a single panel. Think about it: Sleeping Beauty is kissed against her will to break her sleeping curse; Belle is abducted and basically the victim of Stockholm Syndrome; Ariel has to give up her entire life and adapt to Prince Eric to be with him. This comic imagines the princesses as suburban housewife in the Desperate Housewives style. They’re seen here gathered for an afternoon session with the drinks flowing. And they’ve got a lot of legitimate stuff to complain about. We’re glad that Disney and Pixar are making moves toward better portrayals of women like in Brave, Frozen, and Moana.
Everybody can relate to what it’s like to have a crush. That’s what makes the love stories in Disney movies so universal (y’know, besides the outdated gender norms and unrealistic depictions of men and women that have messed up our romantic standards for life). As such, Disney movies are more often than not timeless classics. So we love to see our beloved characters translated to our modern day lives. Here an artist envisions what it might be like for Ariel’s love for Prince Eric transported to our world. Ariel is har, har, in marine biology while the object of her affection is in European History 101. Also, sorry, but I have to say this for all the Seinfeld fans out there: “Is anybody here a marine biologist!?”
Oh no, if there’s one person Rapunzel should never meet, it’s Edward Scissor-hands. The best kind of fanart crossovers are the ones that match two characters from distinctly different universes, yet their pairing seems inevitable in retrospect. A good example would be Samura Aran and Master Chief. While they’re from two different worlds and franchises, they’re perfectly suited to each other. Here Rapunzel and Edward might not have a love connection (though Edward seems pretty smitten), we have an ironic take on the fan art crossover. Rapunzel’s endless locks is like an illicit substance for Edward Scissorhands. He can’t help himself but cut her hair over and over while it grows back endlessly. Poor Rapunzel doesn’t look like she loves the idea too much.
This comic from Toonhole points to one of the underlying ethical problems in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Princess Aurora is under a spell that requires a kiss from Prince Charming to wake her up. But if she’s under the spell and sleeping, she can’t very well agree to him kissing her, can she? While commonly seen as a romantic and benign fairytale, it rings all kinds of alarms today. But if you think the Disney version is problematic, wait until you hear the old version— the original fairytale has Princess Aurora getting pregnant while she’s still sleeping. She only wakes up when her newborn baby bites on her fingertip. This is one time we’re happy Disney totally Disneyfied the adult content here.
This funny comic addresses something nobody really wants to talk about in the world of Pokémon: the creatures are animals and so they need to have some private time and make noises. Nintendo’s best-selling franchise and the beloved anime are strictly G-Rated, so you would never even get the hint of anything like natural reproduction. No, it’s better to depict violent battles of the creatures you keep in your pocket until they beat each other into a coma. The video games eventually touched on Pokémon breeding a little bit by giving players the option to drop their Pokémon off at the farm, which is where this comic’s inspiration no doubt comes from. Just like in the games, Ditto is the big hit of the party.
Here’s a comic certain to make you blush. We have Superman paired with a traditional super heroine. That is to say, she’s traditional because she has to fight the forces of evil in nothing but fishnet stockings while Superman’s got his blue spandex and a whole cape to protect himself. Although she points out the hypocrisy, she doesn’t mind getting closer to Superman. Her last words, “come closer, I’ll whisper it in your super ear” hints at what the next panel might theoretically entail. It’s the kind of one panel comic that has nerds everywhere frantically scouring the deep recesses of the web in search of the sequel. Alas, it must exist in your mind as fan art can only do and show so much.
I burst out laughing when I first saw this. There’s something about little Charmander’s disappointed face that the artist simply nailed. Anybody who grew up in the nineties knows what it’s like to get the fabled Charizard card. Charizard is one of the all-time Pokémon favourites. Unfortunately, it’s gonna take a couple of evolutions before Charmander gets to become Charizard. At one point in our lives — and maybe you’re there now — we all felt like Charmander here, trying to play with the big kids. Also, what kind of weird back-door Pokémon club is Charmander trying to get into anyway? Is it a Pokémon breeding ground? Gross. There are so many questions that I absolutely do not want the answer to. I regret I even asked.
My boy Adam Ellis is at it again. Besides all the ethical issues dogging the princes and princesses of Disney films — and boy howdie, are there lots of those — there are some gaping plot holes. Take exhibit A: when Ariel turns into a human but loses her voice, the plot revolves around the fact they can’t communicate. Well, hmm… what to do about that… Oh, I know! WRITE A GOSH-DANG LETTER. Ariel can’t write English? No problem, DRAW A GOSH-DANG PICTURE. Can’t do that either? Then charades it up, girl. Prince Eric is from Western Europe in the nineteenth century, he’s well-versed in communicating with strange locals he wants to subjugate. Honestly there are so many easy fixes.
Helga’s love for Arnold on Hey Arnold! remains one of the cutest things ever. As soon as the fanbase grew up and were able to draw actual good art, the Helga/Arnold fan art shipping clogged the servers of the internet. Helga’s love for Arnold is unrequited, but that never stopped fans from fantasizing. Romantic tension has that effect on people; if a show isn’t going to resolve it in a timely fashion, artists will take matters into their own hands. This comic depicts a mutually romantic version of their love where Arnold and Helga openly love each other. Although things aren’t perfect. Arnold is still a little awkward about his feelings and hides them from everyone else. I guess no love can be perfect, even in fantasy webcomics.
Say what you will about Beast, he’s got luscious flowing locks. Sure, he might be a tyrant whose selfishness led to a castle-wide curse wherein his innocent servants got punished as much as he did. But he gets nicer after a mid-movie montage so it’s all good. Belle, for one, is willing to overlook all these flaws (maybe not at first, but certainly by the mid-movie montage). Here she’s seen asking about what conditioner the beast uses or something and seems to offer herself up to him for the answer. Although that’s crazy talk, ask yourself if her actions in the movie are really that much smarter. Huh? Is this webcomic just a quick gag or does it provide trenchant commentary?
Here we have another Hey Arnold! Helga and Arnold fan pairing. It looks like Arnold and Helga have just gotten back from a night out on the town, but the date is going a little badly. Helga got all dressed up, shedding her old raggedy look for a stunning black dress. Arnold is infatuated. But it isn’t with the new and “improved” Helga. No, he prefers the old one. That’s the girl he fell in love with; the one who was always calling him a football head and making fun of him in front of all his friends. What I love about this comic is that you can understand all of that through the use of effective and minimalist imagery. Not a word is spoken.
This is what Ariel would’ve done if she were smarter. But then, of course, there would’ve been no movie. As was pointed out by many, when Ariel loses her voice in exchange for legs and ends up in Prince Eric’s care, the movie’s plot hinges around their lack of communication. Prince Eric is happy. Being a scumbag Disney prince, he’s perfectly content to settle for a woman who doesn’t talk. Ariel subverts that, however. Using the incredible technology of a pad and paper, she writes to Eric instead. In turn, the movie ends abruptly when Ursula is thwarted. Ursula doesn’t look overly pleased with the end result in the last panel here. How ironic. The octopus was defeated by ink.
Okay, the beast has got a great point here. He may be a tyrant whose selfishness has led to the castle-wide curse of his entire innocent staff, as has been pointed out, but he’s still got feelings. Belle keeps calling him Beast to his face— and even well after the mid-movie montage when they’re supposed to love each other because they had an endearing snowball fight. Gotta love how Beast calls her out of her bull (I can call him Beast, thank you very much, because I’m not saying it to his face). Also, it’s not like he’s the only Beast in the world. She’s basically calling him by his species. Wow, so she’s specist on top of it all.
There are many similarities to be made between Tangled and Frozen. Both came out within a few years of each other. Both marked Disney’s return to strong female leads in musically-driven CG animations. Although Frozen ended up being the box office smash it was, Tangled easily could’ve won that honour. Kristen Bell was even up for the role of Rapunzel until Mandy Moore got it. The animation styles are similar too, which is why this comic is so effective. Taking place after the events of Tangled, brunette Rapunzel runs across Prince Hans from Frozen and falls for him the same way Anna does. There’s something instantly marriageable about him. Luckily Eugene is there to swoop in and save her, probably the only time his damsel is ever in distress.
Here’s yet another imaginative take on a roundtable of Disney princesses. I think there’s an everlasting fascination with these sorts of crossovers because their stories tend to be so similar (not to mention ethically messed-up most of the time). So instead of venting all their well-deserved complaints here, the women are bragging and comparing notes a little. Then the Disney princesses throw shade at Jane Porter. The girls are under the impression that Tarzan’s not rocking a whole lot under his loin cloth. I don’t know why Tarzan’s getting the flack here (unless Jane has previously shared details beyond the bounds of these panels). To me it would seem that if Jane should be embarrassed for anything, it’s that Phill Collins croons over her every spoken word.
Everybody remember when you found your mom’s neck massager and it resulted in a long awkward conversation? It’s something that happens to every single person. Every single one. This comic comes courtesy of Dorkly, purveyor of many fine Disney comics that push the line often without going too far. Here they’re poking fun — yes, pun intended — at Elsa’s often inconvenient penchant for freezing things. She’s like the cross between Mr. Freeze and King Midas. Obviously, that would make for some pretty inconvenient situations. Another appealing thing about these comics, besides how funny they are, is seeing Disney characters in grown up circumstances without all the G-rated sanitization. It’s an abiding fascination.
Toy Story boasts a wonderful premise: when children are not around, their favourite toys magically come to life. It was an idea that resonated with millions of children and adults around the world and led to a lucrative trilogy as well as Pixar unseating Disney for a time as the king over our imaginations. But there’s also something really wrong here. What happens when Andy grows up and the toys are still watching? As this comics shows, it can make for some unpleasant revelations. Toy Story is riddled with all kinds of head-scratchers like this when you think about what the adults are doing around the toys. Ever hear the old joke that Woody and Buzz are the same names that Andy’s mom calls her toys?
Samurai Jack was a hit Cartoon Network show from the early 2000s (and a personal favourite of mine) that has blessedly returned to us. The new show sees Samurai Jack teaming up with his former enemy, Ashi. Ashi brings a freshness to the show because she’s a fascinating character and also serves as Jack’s love interest. Jack is the picture of the stoic and honourable samurai, often contrasting with Ashi. Sometimes, though, that means Jack is not entirely observant. Take, for example, his curious absence of clothes. Whenever there’s a fight, Samurai Jack seems to lose his clothes. Yet since he’s the honourable Samurai he barks at Ashi whenever she’s about to change. Talk about hypocrisy. I’m glad somebody finally called him out in a webcomic!
Still a better love story than Twilight. If there’s one thing the internet can unite over, it’s hatred for Bella and Edward. The comic here calls back many superhero romance scenes. Being super-powered, you’d think that midnight fun would result in collapsed beds as seen in Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Well, as if to illustrate how weak Twilight is compared to other famous franchises (both literally and figuratively), we have the aftermath of Bella and Edward’s love contrasted with the aftermath of Superman and Wonder Woman. As you can see, it’s no competition. Bella and Edward think they’re cool stuff because they broke a bed? Superman and Wonder Woman broke gosh-dang Mount Everest! There’s no better analogy for The Man of Steel and The Amazon Warrior’s superiority over sparkly vampires.
Ah, the unspoken romance between Lefou and Gaston is finally given expression. In the original Beauty and the Beast, Lefou’s love for Gaston was only hinted at, though fairly obviously. It could very well be that he only liked him as a friend. But in the new Emma Waston-led live-action adaptation, Josh Gad’s Lefou is explicit about his feelings for Gaston. I’ve spoken about this before, but it’s an awesome point for the LGBTQ community. It also doubled as a litmus test for horrible human beings who complained, specifically a bunch of parents who seem overly bothered with gay relationships. I love how this artist has concocted a requited relationship between the two. No doubt Gaston’s fate would have ended better if he moved in with Lefou instead of chased Belle.