BUGS BUNNY [Comic-Con@Home]: 80th Anniversary Extravaganza!

Dave Beaudrie

Without ever having really thought about it, I’d assumed there was only ever one “official” Bugs Bunny. One voice actor carrying the mantle for Warner Bros until he steps down and another takes over. I was wrong in that not-thought-out assumption. Bugs abound in this panel looking at the legacy of the Bunny, but more importantly to hype an upcoming Blu-Ray release of his greatest hits and unseen classics.

The lack of any real visual presentation is a struggle I feel for all the @Home panels as slide shows give an audience something to look at aside from talking heads for an hour, especially with one dealing with animation. This one was at least buoyed by liberal use of clips throughout Bugs’ career, starting with a short video from his 10th anniversary in 1950. (Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. Feel old yet?)

Moderator Yvette Nicole Brown (Community, Avengers: Endgame, DC Super Hero Girls) showed great enthusiasm for the subject matter, and Eric Bauza injected much-needed energy into the proceedings by suddenly launching into an offended Daffy Duck wondering why there wasn’t a panel for him.

Aside from that bright spot, the panel was a pretty dry affair with middle-aged men quietly talking about Bugs’s good ‘ol days, but it was a delight to see how much passion they all genuinely have for the history of Bugs, Looney Tunes, Merry Melodies and the entire franchise contained therein. One panelist would mention a cartoon title from the 60s and the rest would start marking out over it like wrestling fans talking the Flair/Steamboat trilogy from ’89. (I totally mean that as a compliment.) The history of Bugs is the history of cartoons in the United States, which Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight) shed a lot of light on.

Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa), the producer for the new HBO MAX Looney Tunes series, was really odd-man out most of the panel until Brown made a concerted effort to get him more involved near the end.

Ultimately, the panel was less about Bugs Bunny himself and more about the bottom-line of selling a new Blu-Ray set, which ultimately hurt things. I was hoping to hear more about the new series and how they’re navigating Bugs in a more culturally sensitive world (such as the “no guns” controversy), but instead all that got ignored to discuss what cartoons got selected for the Blu-Ray. An enjoyable panel, but also a missed opportunity and lacking the edge that Bugs himself would have wanted to bring to the proceedings. 3/5 Bibles.

-Dave Beaudrie

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