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Cartoon universe

Did you know that cartoons have their origins in medieval tapestries? Today, the term essentially covers comic strips and cartoons from the United States, aimed primarily at a young audience. Disney films and heroes such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Roger Rabbit and many others have become cultural references.

From cardboard to cartoon

It's no coincidence that the word "cartoon" is so similar to the word "cardboard". In fact, it derives directly from the Italian word "cartone", which refers to what we know as cardboard, but also to any form of solid paper.

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, great artists used these "cartons" to draw detailed sketches of their works. Renowned craftsmen then transformed these sketches into tapestries, bas-reliefs or stained-glass windows.

In the 19th century, the term cartoon was also used to designate a new form of artistic expression: drawings or series of drawings, generally of a humorous nature. These were often caricatures.

Today, cartoon has evolved into two distinct branches:

  • The gag cartoon, essentially single drawings of a parodic, satirical or caricatural nature.
  • Cartoon strips, short comic strips

The term "cartoon" is also applied to large comic strips, graphic novels and the cartoons and animated films based on them.

Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel

Television has eagerly seized on the appeal of cartoons, whether for children, teenagers or adults. The main channels specialising in cartoons are Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney Channel.

Cartoon Network is particularly popular because of its inventiveness. In its early days (1991), the channel was content to broadcast old cartoons from Warner Bros studios, such as Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny, but now it has a huge repertoire of hit series such as Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory.

To keep up with all the hype, Cartoon Network, or CN, also broadcasts hugely successful Japanese animated series on its Toonami programme. These include the all-time greats Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon and Gundam Wing.

Find inspiration at Shop For Geek

To create your own cartoon images, post your cartoon photos online, or cartoonise photos, you can take inspiration from our whole range of cartoon, American cartoon and other accessories and collectibles.

At ShopForGeek, you'll find lots of figurines featuring the cartoon heroes of your childhood, including Tom & Jerry, the Flintstones, Captain Planet and Inspector Gadget.

You'll be spoilt for choice with figurines, cuddly toys, puzzles, printed T-shirts, mugs... and you could also find board games on themes that interest you, whether in the Cartoon universe or others.

Share your passion for cartoons with your family through clothes and cuddly toys for babies and young children. Or add a cartoonish touch to your environment with printed kitchen accessories, such as mugs, tins, cutlery... And what about spending long hours with your children over a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle in the glory of Tom & Jerry? There's no limit to what you can do in this fun, funny and always adventurous cartoon world.

So when you put Cartoon Network, or another specialist channel, back on the television, you'll be sharing some intense moments of relaxation and fun. As a discerning audience, you can also dig into the oldies, whether Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, or the adventures of so many animated heroes from across the Atlantic. Just because you're becoming an adult doesn't mean that the child in you can't follow the adventures of Scooby Doo or laugh out loud at an episode of Tom & Jerry.