HOMER PIGEONOriginal Medium: Theatrical Animation
Released by: Universal (Walter Lantz)
First Appeared: 1942
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Homer Pigeon was far from a superstar of animated cartoons. In fact, he appeared in only three, and the last staggered to the screen almost 13 years after the second. Nor was he a superstar of comic books, appearing only in back pages and never on a cover — in fact, even such pages as he was allotted never amounted to as many as a dozen. But he
was a comfortable, familiar, never-changing presence in New Funnies, which specialized in the Walter Lantz characters, for over a dozen years.
Homer (a bumpkin type like Beaky Buzzard or Goofy) first appeared in Pigeon Patrol, which was released by Universal Studios on August 3, 1942. That one depicted him as a military hero, very common at the time. The second, Swing Your Partner (1943) was just him and his sweetie. In both, his voice was done by Dal McKennon (Archie in Filmation productions, and both Bucky and Pepito). McKennon reprised the role when, on January 16, 1956, they brought out Pigeon Holed, Homer's third and final film.
He made his third appearance in the back pages of New Funnies #83 (January, 1944), published by Dell Comics. The title had begun as The Funnies, a venue for newspaper comics such as Tailspin Tommy and Captain Easy, but quickly added other licensed properties, including Raggedy Ann and Bosko. Even Bugs and Elmer popped in once before the Lantz characters, like Andy Panda, Li'l Eight Ball and (of course) Woody Woodpecker, completely took over. A couple of years after Homer's addition to the lineup, the title was changed to Walter Lantz New Funnies.
Homer's comic book series was a typical funny animal sitcom, with Homer wooing his enamorata, Carrie. Both lived in Birdville, which looked like a typical American suburb. Conflict was provided by a rival suitor, Red Cardinal. Homer, Carrie and Red did variations on the ancient triangle theme as long as the series lasted.
Considering he was such a minor character and had such a well-worn scenario, that was quite a long time. Lantz never did field very many characters with noticeable Q-ratings in fact, years later, when editor Chase Craig needed a new Lantz star, he had to have one created by his own freelancers, and give it to Lantz so there weren't a whole lot of rising stars coming along to oust New Funnies regulars. But Chilly Willy, of all people, started guest-starring with Homer circa 1954, and gradually took over his slot. Homer moved to the back pages of Woody Woodpecker's comic.
He remained there until 1961, when he was dropped in favor of Oswald the Rabbit. After that, he disappeared from the face of the Earth.