Famous American Cartoonists

Remember those Sunday mornings when there was nothing more exciting to you then spending the holiday watching a marathon of cartoons — Mighty Mouse, Bugs Bunny and the Superfriends. Animation has come a long, long way since then. But even today, we cannot do without our weekly dose of The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, and Archer. Young or old, these cartoon characters have come to hold a special place in every heart. Someone has rightly said, "You can never be too old for cartoons." Inane, satirical, political, sexist, racist, or adult, cartoons have never failed to drive a reaction — shock, amaze, and entertain. And all the credit for making these cartoons so lovable and unforgettable goes to a talented lot of cartoonists like Walt Disney, Gary Larson, Matt Groening, Jim Davis, Bill Amend, and Berkeley Breathed. These were some of America's legendary cartoonists who got us cackling with their wit, and at times, their black humor. Read the biographies to explore the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on America's famous cartoonists.

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.
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Famous As: Comic Book Artist
Birthdate: August 28, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, 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.
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Animator
Birthdate: February 15, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland
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 Mike Judge

Mike Judge.
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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.

 4 Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz.
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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.

 5 William Hanna

William Hanna.
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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.

 6 Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Comics artist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: March 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Calgary

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.

 7 Bill Watterson

Bill Watterson.
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: July 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

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.

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 8 Scott Adams

Scott Adams
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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.

 9 Robert Crumb

Robert Crumb.
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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.

 10 Joseph Joe Barbera

Joseph Joe Barbera.
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Famous As: Director
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.

 11 Gary Larson

Gary Larson.
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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. 

 12 Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones.
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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 Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss.
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Famous As: Author
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.

 14 Jim Henson

Jim Henson.
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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.

 15 Aaron McGruder

Aaron McGruder.
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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.

 16 Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein.
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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.

 17 Bob Kane

Bob Kane.
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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.

 18 Jim Lee

Jim Lee
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Famous As: Comics artist, Publisher, Blogger, Writer, Artist, Cartoonist, Visual artist
Birthdate: August 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seoul

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.

 19 Tex Avery

Tex Avery
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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.  

 20 Bill Finger

Bill Finger.
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Famous As: Screenwriter
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.

 21 J. Michael Straczynski

J. Michael Straczynski
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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.

 22 Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Comics Artist, writer
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.

 23 Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg.
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: July 4, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, U.S.
Died: December 7, 1970

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Rube Goldberg, whose works gave rise to the expression Rube Goldberg machines, had started as an engineer and designed sewer pipes. He later worked for the San Francisco Chronicle and eventually soared to fame with his cartoons depicting gadgets and the character Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts.

 24 Jim Davis

Jim Davis
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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.

 25 Garry Trudeau

Garry Trudeau
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Journalist
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
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.

 26 Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey.
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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.

 27 Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey.
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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.

 28 Caroll Spinney

Caroll Spinney.
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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.

 29 Ub Iwerks

Ub Iwerks
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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.

 30 Harvey Pekar

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

 31 Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko
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Famous As: Comics artist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 2, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Johnstown

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.

 32 Craig McCracken

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

 33 Rob Liefeld

Rob Liefeld
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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.

 34 Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast.
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: September 27, 1840
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Landau
Died: December 7, 1902

Political caricaturist and cartoonist Thomas Nast was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. at age 6. He began his career as a draftsman at the Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and then worked for Harper’s Weekly and the New York Illustrated News. His creations include the Republican Party elephant.

 35 John Byrne

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

 36 Charles Addams

Charles Addams
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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.

 37 Justin Roiland

Justin Roiland
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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.

 38 Kevin Eastman

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

 39 Doug Jones

Doug Jones
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Indianapolis Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.

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.

 40 Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Writer, Editor, Educator
Birthdate: February 15, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stockholm

Art Spiegelman is an American cartoonist, comics advocate, and editor. His graphic novel Maus earned a special Pulitzer Prize for popularizing the comics medium among scholars. Over the years Spiegelman has helped promote a better understanding of comics. In 2005, he was named in Time's Top 100 Most Influential People list. He has also won many awards like Inkpot Award.

 41 Joe Shuster

Joe Shuster
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Famous As: Comics artist, Designer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 10, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto
Died: July 30, 1992

 42 James Thurber

James Thurber.
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Famous As: Cartoonist, Author, Journalist & Playwright
Birthdate: December 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: November 2, 1961

 43 Ed Brubaker

Ed Brubaker
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Famous As: Writer, Cartoonist
Birthdate: November 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bethesda

 44 Al Capp

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

 45 Jhonen Vasquez

Jhonen Vasquez.
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: September 1, 1974
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

 46 Bud Luckey

Bud Luckey
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Famous As: Animator
Birthdate: July 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Billings, Montana, USA
Died: February 24, 2018

 47 Berkeley Breathed

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

 48 Alex Ross

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

 49 Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola
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Famous As: Comics artist, Novelist, Artist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 16, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berkeley

 50 Derf

Derf
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Famous As: Cartoonist
Birthdate: October 31, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Richfield, Ohio