Bugs Bunny is the modern American Trickster and the most famous star of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. This character as Funny Animal is found in many cultures’ mythologies, including Reynard the Fox, Anansi the spider, American Indian spirit Coyote, and Bugs’ great-grandfather,Br’er Rabbit. Bugs is specifically a Karmic Trickster: harmless when left alone, but gleefully ready to dish out poetic justice whenever he perceives the need. There is an element of education in his revenge.Like many of his peers, Bugs’ origins are unclear, lost in the mists of time and memory. Before him, The Marx Brothers were the premier American tricksters, and traces of their influence can be found in many of his best known mannerisms. (In fact, many people aren’t aware that Bugs’ saying, “Of course you realize, dis means war!” originated in films such as Duck Soupand A Night at the Opera.)More directly, shy, timid prey unexpectedly turning on the pursuer was a common theme at the Warner Bros. animation studios in the early days – Daffy Duck made his debut in the same way. Director Ben ‘Bugs’ Hardaway introduced the notion of this character as a “scwewy wabbit” in “Porky’s Hare Hunt” (1938), and the same small white hare appears in various later shorts, notably Chuck Jones’ “Elmer’s Candid Camera” (1940). His name, first seen on-screen in the credits for 1941’s “Elmer’s Pet Rabbit”, derives either from Hardaway’s — model sheets were said to have been tagged with “Bugs’ Bunny” — or the contemporary Brooklyn slang “bugs”, meaning “crazy”. Or both. Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, as well as Robert Givens, however, adamantly insist that Hardaway’s Bugs was a completely separate character from the Bugs we know and love, that the name and species is all he shares in common with the real Bugs.However it’s generally accepted that Tex Avery produced the prototype of the smart, suave, on-the-ball wabbit we know and love today, in “A Wild Hare” (1940). Chuck Jones later made him more sympathetic by giving Bugs that iconic attitude of live-and-let-live, right up until he’s pushed just that one step too far, and then, it’s war — “at which point [he] retaliates in every way he can imagine, and he is a very imaginative rabbit.”The job of any trickster, but especially the American type, is to think the thoughts and do the things that they say can’t be thought or done. He’s most likely to be found disturbing the complacency of his culture, or deflating the pompousness of its symbols. Since Bugs is also a comedy hero, he has the added advantage of Plot Armor that could stop an armor-piercing round.His influence on modern American culture, like that of all the Looney Tunes characters, has been far-reaching to the point of ubiquity. For obvious reasons, though, Bugs is the especial favourite, especially in the theatrical years, getting more shorts than any of his co-stars, with a impressive 168 titles under his beltnote . Naturally, he has spawned several imitators over the years, notably direct descendant Buster Bunny of Tiny Toon Adventures and Yakko, Wakko and Dot of Animaniacs — although these last three skew more heavily toward the Screwy Squirrel.Bugs is currently making appearances in The Looney Tunes Show, having given up his nomadic roots and rabbit holes in favor of an average suburb, shared with co-star Daffy Duck. In 2015, a new series starring Bugs—Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production—debuted on Cartoon Network.Naturally, Bugs has starred in many a hit short subject, with six of his cartoons being put on The 50 Greatest Cartoons (withWhat’s Opera, Doc? at the No. 1 spot!) and 10 of his shorts serving as runner-ups on the list. He also holds a whopping 34 spots on The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes list (not counting shorts he cameoed in).