Famous 20th Century Cartoonists

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Cartoonists, including Dr. Seuss, R. K. Laxman, Matt Groening, Gary Larson and Bill Watterson.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby
Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1994
Jacob Kurtzberg, or Jack Kirby, initially published comics under various other pseudonyms, such as "Jack Curtiss" and "Curt Davis." He worked with Marvel, where he co-created characters such as The Fantastic Four and the X-Men, along with Stan Lee. He then joined DC, where he created the Fourth World Saga

 2 Matt Groening

Matt Groening
Famous As: Cartoonist, Animator
Birthdate: February 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Matt Groening is best known as the creator of the iconic animated sitcom The Simpsons, which is the longest-running American primetime TV series and has won Groening 11 Emmys. He had initially gained fame for the comic strip Life in Hell and also created Futurama and the Netflix series Disenchantment.

 3 Alan Moore

Alan Moore
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 18, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northampton, England

Alan Moore is an English writer best known for his contributions to popular comic books, such as Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen, and The Ballad of Halo Jones. Some consider him to be the best comic book writer in the English language. His works have influenced several literary and television figures, such as Damon Lindelof, Joss Whedon, and Neil Gaiman.

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 4 Mike Judge

Mike Judge
Famous As: Actor, Cartoonist, Director, Musician
Birthdate: October 17, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Animator and filmmaker Michael Judge is best known for creating the iconic animated series Beavis and Butt-Head. Fans also loved his Emmy- and Annie Award-winning work in King of the Hill, one of the longest-running U.S. animated series, and his Critics' Choice Award-winning work in Silicon Valley.

 5 Bill Watterson

Bill Watterson
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: June 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Bill Watterson is a retired cartoonist and author. He is credited with writing the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes which was syndicated from 1985 to 1995. In 1988, Watterson became the sixth person to win the Reuben Award twice. In 2020, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

 6 William Hanna

William Hanna
Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: July 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Melrose, New Mexico, United States
Died: March 22, 2001
William Hanna was an American animator, best known for creating popular cartoon characters such as Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo. He co-founded the Hanna-Barbera company, along with his longtime partner Joseph Barbera. Their team had produced more than 3,000 half-hour shows for 150 television cartoon series that won seven Academy Awards and eight Emmy Awards.

 7 Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane
Famous As: Comic book artist best known as the creator of the popular Spawn comics.
Birthdate: March 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary, Canada

Todd McFarlane is a Canadian writer, artist, comic book creator, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. Renowned for his artistic work on The Amazing Spider-Man, Todd became a comic book superstar during the 1980s and 1990s for his work on the Spider-Man franchise. As an entrepreneur, Todd McFarlane is credited with founding Todd McFarlane Productions and its subsidiary McFarlane Toys.

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 8 Gary Larson

Gary Larson
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: August 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington

Gary Larson is an American environmentalist, cartoonist, and former musician. He is credited with creating a single-panel cartoon series titled The Far Side, which was syndicated for 15 years to over 1,900 newspapers around the world. In 1990 and 1994, Gary Larson was honored by the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) with the prestigious Reuben Award. 

 9 Joseph Joe Barbera

Joseph Joe Barbera
Famous As: Director, Animator
Birthdate: March 24, 1911
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Delancey Street, New York, United States
Died: December 18, 2006

Joseph Barbera was an American animator, cartoon artist, storyboard artist, director, and producer. He is credited with co-producing Tom and Jerry along with William Hanna while working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Barbera is also credited with co-founding the popular animation studio Hanna-Barbera which produced world-renowned programs like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, and The Smurfs. Hanna-Barbera's shows have been translated into over 28 languages.

 10 Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: November 26, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: February 12, 2000

Charles M. Schulz was an American cartoonist. He is credited with creating the popular comic strip, Peanuts, which featured world-renowned characters like Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Considered one of the most influential cartoonists ever, Schulz's works have influenced other cartoonists like Dav Pilkey, Matt Groening, and Jim Davis. In 1996, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 11 Robert Crumb

Robert Crumb
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: August 30, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Robert Crumb is a cartoonist whose work displays a satire of contemporary American culture. Crumb played a major role during the underground comix movement of the 1960s, contributing to the movement's seminal works. He is credited with founding Zap Comix, the first major underground comix series. In 1991, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

 12 Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones
Famous As: Animator, Filmmaker, Cartoonist, Author, Artist, & Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington, United States
Died: February 22, 2002

Chuck Jones was an American animator, painter, and voice actor. Jones is best remembered for his work on Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes. He is credited with founding Chuck Jones Enterprises where he produced and directed the film adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth. During the course of his career, Chuck Jones received three Academy Awards and the Edward MacDowell Medal.

 13 Scott Adams

Scott Adams
Famous As: Comics artist, Economist, Journalist
Birthdate: June 8, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Windham (town), New York

Best known for his iconic comic strip Dilbert, Scott Adams has an MBA degree and has worked in banks and tech firms earlier. The character Dilbert first appeared in Adams’s office presentations and was inspired by his co-workers. His social-media video series, Coffee with Scott Adams, too, was quite popular.

 14 Aaron McGruder

Aaron McGruder
Famous As: Writer, Cartoonist & Public Speaker
Birthdate: May 29, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago

Aaron McGruder is an American writer, cartoonist, screenwriter, producer, and lecturer. He is best known for writing a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip titled The Boondocks. He also wrote its TV series adaptation where he served as the creator, head writer, and executive producer.

 15 Bob Kane

Bob Kane
Famous As: Comic Book Writer
Birthdate: October 24, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: November 3, 1998

Bob Kane was an American animator, comic book writer, and artist. He is credited with co-creating the world-renowned DC Comics character Batman. He is also credited with co-creating the popular animated series Cool McCool. In 1977, Bob Kane was honored with the prestigious Inkpot Award. In 1996, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

 16 R. K. Laxman

R. K. Laxman
Famous As: Cartoonist & Creator of 'The Common Man"
Birthdate: October 24, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mysore
Died: January 26, 2015

 17 Bill Finger

Bill Finger
Famous As: Comic Book Writer
Birthdate: February 8, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: January 18, 1974

Bill Finger was an American film, TV, comic book, and comic strip writer. Although he had co-created the popular superhero character Batman along with Bob Kane, Finger's work was uncredited until 2015. As a result, Finger died in poverty and obscurity. He was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

 18 Tex Avery

Tex Avery
Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: February 26, 1908
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Taylor, Texas, United States
Died: August 26, 1980

Second only to Walt Disney in terms of influence, American animator and director Tex Avery is remembered for playing an important role in the development of  popular characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel  etc. Well-known for his technical innovation and directorial style, his characters are equally loved by adults for their inherent sarcasm.  

 19 Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss
Famous As: Children's Author And Illustrator
Birthdate: March 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 24, 1991

Dr. Seuss was an American children's author, illustrator, and political cartoonist. He is credited with writing some of the most famous children's books ever, including The Cat in the Hat. His works were translated into over 20 languages and sold more than 600 million copies by the time of his death. Many of his creations were adapted into animated cartoons.

 20 Hergé

Famous As: Cartoonist (Creator of Tintin)
Birthdate: May 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Belgium
Died: March 3, 1983

Better known by his pseudonym, Hergé, Belgian cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi was the man behind Tintin, a cartoon series that several generations of kids and young adults have grown up reading. He was a self-taught artist and wrote Destination Moon, featuring Tintin, 15 years before Neil Armstrong’s feat.

 21 Jim Lee

Jim Lee
Famous As: Publisher and Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics
Birthdate: August 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Korean-American comic-book artist Jim Lee began his career with Marvel and then soared to fame with his X-Men series. Though initially trained in psychology, he skipped medical school and became a comic writer instead. Apart from co-founding Image Comics, he also created WildStorm, which he sold to DC later.

 22 Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey
Birthdate: February 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: April 15, 2000
Edward Gorey is known for his pen-and-ink drawings which reflect his arch humor and gothic sensibility. He has published over 100 independent works and illustrated over 50 works by other authors. An iconic figure in gothic culture, Gorey's famous works include The Unstrung Harp, The Curious Sofa, The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley, The Dwindling Party.

 23 Jim Henson

Jim Henson
Famous As: Puppeteer
Birthdate: September 24, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greenville, Mississippi, United States
Died: May 16, 1990

Jim Henson was an American animator, puppeteer, cartoonist, inventor, actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, and composer. He is credited with creating The Muppets, an ensemble cast of puppet characters, for which he achieved worldwide popularity. He is also credited with co-founding Muppets, Inc. in 1958, which eventually became The Jim Henson Company. In 2011, Jim Henson was named a Disney Legend.

 24 J. Michael Straczynski

J. Michael Straczynski
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: July 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paterson

The son of a manual laborer, J. Michael Straczynski grew up to graduate in psychology and sociology. Best known for writing the Marvel Comics series The Amazing Spider-Man, he has written for both TV and films, apart from authoring his own books and creating the sci-fi TV show Babylon 5.

 25 Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 25, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 10, 1999

Shel Silverstein was an American writer, playwright, songwriter, and cartoonist. Renowned for his children's books, songs, and cartoons, Silverstein's works have been translated into over 30 languages. The recipient of many prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards, Shel Silverstein was posthumously inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

 26 Garry Trudeau

Garry Trudeau
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist, Garry Trudeau is best known for creating the Doonesbury comic strip which reflected social and political life in the US. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios political comedy series Alpha House. Trudeau has contributed articles to The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York,  Rolling Stone, and The Washington Post.

 27 Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stockton, California, USA

Justin Roiland is an American animator, voice actor, writer, director, and producer. He is credited with co-creating popular adult animated series like Adult Swim's Rick and Morty and Hulu's Solar Opposites. He is also credited with founding an animation studio named Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions as well as a video game studio named Squanch Games.

 28 Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel
Famous As: Known for the Long-Running Comic Strip 'Dykes to Watch Out For'
Birthdate: September 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, United States

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel is best known for her Dykes to Watch Out For strip, which gained a lot of popularity in various LGBT weeklies. The strip’s prime character is believed to be modeled on her. The lesbian artist’s works gave rise to the Bechdel Test, which targets gender inequality in Hollywood.

 29 Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko
Famous As: Comic book artist who co-created The Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange comics, as well as The Creeper
Birthdate: November 2, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 29, 2018

Steve Ditko was a writer and comics artist. He is credited with co-creating popular Marvel Comics superheroes like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Ditko is also credited with co-creating Captain Atom, a character that appears in DC Comics. Ditko received several awards including many Alley Awards. In 1994, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

 30 Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar
Famous As: Comics artist, Autobiographer, Writer, Music critic, Journalist
Birthdate: October 8, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cleveland
Died: July 12, 2010

 31 Jim Davis

Jim Davis
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: July 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Marion, Indiana, United States
Famous American cartoonist, Jim Davis is best known for his various comic strips such as U.S. Acres. He is the creator of Garfield which became one of the world's most widely syndicated comic strips. Davis wrote and co-wrote all of the Garfield TV specials for CBS. He is also the founder and president of Paws, Inc., a full-service licensing studio.

 32 Kevin Eastman

Kevin Eastman
Famous As: Comics artist, Publisher, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States

 33 Craig McCracken

Craig McCracken
Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: March 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charleroi, Pennsylvania, U.S.

 34 John Byrne

John Byrne
Famous As: Comic-book Writer & Artist
Birthdate: July 6, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: West Bromwich, England

 35 Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: March 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Dav Pilkey is an American cartoonist, illustrator, and author of children's literature. Pilkey is best known for illustrating and authoring a popular children's book series named Captain Underpants which earned him the prestigious Disney Adventures Kids' Choice Award in 2007.

 36 Caroll Spinney

Caroll Spinney
Famous As: Puppeteer
Birthdate: December 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waltham, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 8, 2019

Caroll Spinney was an American cartoonist, puppeteer, artist, author, and speaker. He is best remembered for playing Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird on the popular educational children's TV series Sesame Street from 1969 to 2018. Over the course of his illustrious career, Caroll Spinney was honored with two Grammy Awards and four Daytime Emmy Awards.

 37 Jean Giraud

Jean Giraud
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: May 8, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogent-sur-Marne, France
Died: March 10, 2012

 38 Ub Iwerks

Ub Iwerks
Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: March 24, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Died: July 7, 1971

Ub Iwerks was an American cartoonist, animator, inventor, character designer, and special effects technician. He is credited with designing such popular characters as Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Apart from being honored with several Academy Awards for his work, Iwerks was also named a Disney Legend. The Ub Iwerks Award for Technical Achievement is named in his honor.

 39 Charles Addams

Charles Addams
Famous As: Draughtsperson, Illustrator, Artist, Painter, Writer
Birthdate: January 7, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westfield
Died: September 29, 1988

Mostly known as a cartoonist for The New Yorker, Charles Addams was known for including dark humor in his works. Also known by his pseudonym, Chas Addams, he gained fame for his cartoons about a family of ghosts, which later inspired The Addams Family series of the 1960s.

 40 Berkeley Breathed

Berkeley Breathed
Famous As: Author, Writer, Cartoonist
Birthdate: June 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Encino

 41 Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 9, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helsinki, Finland
Died: June 27, 2001
Finnish author Tove Jansson was the woman behind the phenomenally successful children’s books and comics on the fictional white hippo-like creatures she called Moomins. While the Moomins books have been translated into more than 50 languages, Jansson’s literary works also include several other novels and short stories.

 42 Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rasht, Iran

Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novelist, illustrator, cartoonist, children's book author, and film director. Satrapi achieved international recognition in the early-2000s after releasing her critically acclaimed graphic novels. She is best known for writing and directing an animated biographical drama film titled Persepolis, which received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes.

 43 Jessie Cave

Jessie Cave
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 5, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

 44 Rob Liefeld

Rob Liefeld
Famous As: Editor, Comics writer, Draughtsperson, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Anaheim

Rob Liefeld is a comic book creator best known for co-creating characters like Deadpool and Cable. In the 1990s, he achieved popularity for his work on Marvel Comics' X-Force and The New Mutants. Rob Liefeld is credited with co-creating Image Comics which went on to become the third-largest comic book publisher.

 45 Doug Jones

Doug Jones
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Doug Jones is an American actor, mime artist, and contortionist. Jones is renowned for playing non-human creatures in sci-fi films and TV series. Over the years he has played important roles in popular films like Hellboy, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Absentia. His portrayal of Captain Saru in Star Trek: Discovery earned him a Saturn Award.

 46 Al Capp

Al Capp
Famous As: Cartoonist, Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: September 28, 1909
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Haven
Died: November 5, 1979

 47 Alex Ross

Alex Ross
Famous As: Comics artist, Illustrator, Painter
Birthdate: January 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland

 48 Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster
Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: July 10, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 30, 1992

Joe Shuster was a comic book artist best remembered for co-creating one of the most popular comic book characters, Superman. Throughout his life, Shuster was involved in several legal battles over the ownership of the character. He was inducted into Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1992 and 1993 respectively.

 49 Fujiko F. Fujio

Fujiko F. Fujio
Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: December 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Takaoka, Toyama, Japan
Died: September 23, 1996

 50 Al Jaffee

Al Jaffee
Famous As: Cartoonist, Journalist
Birthdate: March 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Savannah