These days, there are so many great animated shows and movies aimed at all ages that plenty of folks still turn to cartoons as a respite from the real world. Animation is a modern art form: It can be a commentary on society and a way of understanding the world, giving viewers the opportunity to see themselves in those colorful characters. But unlike live-action shows, cartoon characters often live in worlds of boundless possibility, creating a fertile space for exploring complex ideas, dabbling in the absurd, and parodying subjects that might be too sensitive to cover elsewhere.
No matter how old viewers are or what generation they were born in, most have fond memories of cartoons that made an impression on them during their formative years. From early cartoons like Gertie the Dinosaur to iconic Disney villains like Ursula, everyone has their favorite. After considering everything from cult followings to cultural impact, we're ranking the 60 best cartoon characters of all time.