Peter rides a bicycle without touching the pedals. Artist: Rube Grossman.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1953
Creator: Rube Grossman
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Like a majority of today's more prominent American comic book publishers, DC Comics puts out a lot of superheroes. But like an even greater majority of those that go back more …

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… than a couple of decades, DC has more variety in its past — including that anathema to most self-respecting superhero fans, funny animals. Raccoon Kids, The Dodo & the Frog and Doodles Duck were only a few DC characters of that genre.

Peter Panda was the first of that crowd to debut in his own title. The first issue, dated September, 1953, introduced Peter, along with his human friends, Jimmy and Janie Jones; his non-human friend, Dronald Dragon (who spoke in rhyme); and his girlfriend, Pretty Panda. The supporting characters didn't interact much. They met once in a while, but in a typical issue, Peter would do a story with Pretty, one with Dronald and one with Jimmy and Janie. A fourth story would be about a separate character, Stanley the Timid Scarecrow.

Peter and his friends routinely encountered magical things such as winged horses and toys that suddenly grow enormous. Mother Goose's house was within walking distance. A nearby neighborhood (where Dronald lived, as did his girlfriend Drucilla) was populated entirely with dragons. Most stories involved dealing with magic gone awry or small personal crises, but there was occasional outright villainy on the part of Foxy Dan or his ilk.

From beginning to end, Peter's illustrator was Rube Grossman, who also did the comic book version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and in animation worked on The Mighty Hercules. It isn't known for sure who wrote it, but the writer of the first issue is believed to be Sy Reit, co-creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Reit has the same "quasi-credit" on DC's Peter Porkchops — that is, it's believed, but not known for sure, he wrote that character's first story too.

Like most of DC's funny animals, Peter Panda sputtered out in the late 1950s. His last issue was #31, dated September, 1958. Also like most, he's seldom been seen or alluded to since.


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Text ©2005 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.