Memorable 90s cartoon characters include Doug Funnie, Dexter, Tommy Pickles, Susie Carmichael, Johnny Bravo, and Pepper Ann.
Dive back into the ’90s—a glittering era that birthed iconic shows still capturing hearts today. While some characters remain in the spotlight, dazzling new fans, others have gently faded into nostalgia’s embrace.
But what sets these animated legends apart?
Their unmistakable charm, raw relatability, and, above all, their timeless sense of humor.
Iconic 90s Cartoon Characters
Step into the dynamic 1990s—a revolutionary era that forever transformed the world of animated cinema! This was when studios began to embrace the magic of computer-generated wonders while still flirting with traditional cut-out animation.
Ready for a blast from the past? Let’s dive into the iconic cartoon characters that ruled the ’90s and uncover the secret sauce behind their allure!
Stay tuned; this is just the tip of the iceberg!
With over 200 characters in the ’90s universe, who knows? Parts 2 and 3 might be around the corner.
I.M. Weasel, the star of the eponymous animated series, stands out as a brilliant and adept weasel in a universe riddled with cluelessness.
Initially portrayed as a beacon of help and adoration, his patience wears thin as the series progresses, grappling with the absurdity around him. Over time, his once unblemished “heroic” image starts to reveal its imperfections.
39I. R. Baboon
In the animated series “I Am Weasel,” there’s a bumbling baboon fueled by envy who ultimately becomes Weasel’s closest ally. Initially depicted as perpetually attempting (and failing) to divert attention from Weasel, the world eventually warms up to him, elevating his status to that of a “hero” as it descends into his level of silliness.
A peculiar quirk? He flies off the handle if anyone dares to snicker at his backside.
38Streex – Street Sharks
Bobby, a famous cartoon character in the 1990s, is depicted as a strapping young man with brown hair and eyes, donning a white shirt with red stripes, lime green shorts secured with a brown belt, and black rollerskates.
When transformed into “Streex,” he looks like a light blue tiger shark adorned with purple stripes. Despite his aquatic form, he retains his lime green shorts. Completing his look are black fingerless gloves, red knee pads, and black rollerskates with turquoise details.
37Modo – Biker Mice From Mars
Among the iconic characters, Modo is the chillest and kindest of the Biker Mice. While he revels in the adrenaline of battling villains, he truly cherishes a tranquil fishing day, especially alongside his nephew Rimfire.
Threaten Charley, his bros, or his bike, and you’ll ignite his swift fury. And a word to the wise: never call him a rat, even in jest. Whenever someone does, his right eye tends to glow a fiery red.
36Max – Mighty Max
Max, one of the most memorable cartoon characters from Mighty Max, is a cheeky teenager who inherits an intriguing baseball cap from his presumably late father. But this wasn’t just any cap—it transported him straight into the mysterious Horror Zone.
Max navigated treacherous challenges within this realm, deciphering enigmatic hints to overcome his foes.
Earthworm Jim, one of the beloved characters, stars as the protagonist in the Earthworm Jim video game series.
He also headlines the action figure line, graces the pages of the comic book mini-series, and animates the television series that ran for two seasons.
Ace Hart – Dog City
Ace Hart, a notable dog character from the 90s, takes center stage in the animated segments of Dog City. Known as “Ace Hart, Private Eye Dog,” he is the brainchild of animator Eliot Shag.
Yet, he doesn’t just exist within the animation; he banteringly trades quips, offers advice, and debates with Eliot as an equal.
34Razor – Swat Kats
Jake “Razor” Clawson, one of the 90s iconic characters, forms half of the vigilante duo known as the SWAT Kats. He actively operates the weapons systems of the Turbokat.
While Jake shares Chance’s carefree, confident, courageous, loyal, and friendly nature, he stands out as smarter and more athletic. He crafts all the weapons the SWAT Kats deploy in their adventures and skillfully wields them with his martial arts prowess.
33Hunter – Road Rovers
Hunter, one of the standout male characters, is a Goldador from the United States who takes the helm as the team’s leader. Optimistic, humorous, devoted, friendly, and level-headed, he exemplifies the qualities of an effective leader.
Hunter possesses the incredible ability of super speed, enabling him to race faster than the speed of sound. He has the privilege of residing in the White House with President Bill Clinton.
Jonny, one of the best cartoon characters in the 1990s, sports blond hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion.
This adventurous teenage boy has a lean athletic frame, standing at 5’2″ and weighing around 112 lbs at 13 years old. He usually rocks a black T-shirt, blue straight-legged jeans, and white sneakers.
Beyond his energetic and curious nature, Jonny’s passion leans toward the action-packed elements of his father’s investigations rather than the academic side.
Bucky O’Hare is one of the main characters and the hero of his namesake comic book series, along with various spin-off media such as animated TV series, toys, and video games.
Dreamed up by comic book writer Larry Hama and artist Michael Golden between 1977 and 1978, Bucky O’Hare appeared in the May 1984 issue of Echo of Futurepast #1, published by Continuity Comics.
Beetlejuice, one of the 90s best cartoon characters, is a mischievous ghost who relishes in consuming bugs and has a notorious reputation in the Neitherworld as a prankster.
He holds the title of the eldest son in the Juice family, born to Gnat and Bee Juice.
They incessantly pester him about securing a job and maintaining cleanliness, often affectionately referring to him as “Junior.”
29Doug Funnie: The Everykid (Doug, 1991)
The quiet, daydreaming Doug Funnie was an instant hit, capturing the hearts of millions. Premiering in 1991, “Doug” showcased a relatable, imaginative protagonist who resonated with audiences everywhere. Doug’s charming simplicity and relatable struggles made him the perfect poster child for the ’90s kid.
The animation style was minimalist and colorful, with each character sporting a unique color scheme. This choice lent the show a distinct visual identity that set it apart from its contemporaries.
28Dexter: The Lovable Genius (Dexter’s Laboratory, 1996)
Dexter’s Laboratory burst onto the scene in 1996, introducing the world to Dexter, the brilliant, socially awkward boy-genius. Dexter became an instant fan favorite with his thick accent and oversized glasses.
His never-ending quest for scientific knowledge and mastery clashed with the chaos his older sister, Dee Dee, created.
27Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup: The Powerpuff Girls
Dive back into the world of ‘90s cartoon characters and remember the magic of Sugar, spice, and everything nice! Meant to concoct the ideal little girls, Professor Utonium had a serendipitous mishap by adding Chemical X. And voila!
The Powerpuff Girls—Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup—burst onto the scene in 1998, epitomizing girl power like never before.
Drawing inspiration from Japanese anime, The Powerpuff Girls’ animation showcased those signature large, emotive eyes and a sleek, minimalist design.
Truly, they are unforgettable icons in the realm of ‘90s cartoon characters.🌟📺🌈
26Johnny Bravo: The Lovably Clueless Hunk (Johnny Bravo, 1997)
Johnny Bravo stood out in the vibrant tapestry of cartoon characters in the ’90s, strutting onto our screens in 1997. This pompadour-rocking, sunglasses-wearing heartthrob, with muscles for days, embodied exaggerated charisma.
Yet, for all his bravado, Johnny’s often comical misadventures in romance painted him as irresistibly endearing.
More than just a muscular figure, he burst with a larger-than-life personality and side-splitting catchphrases. With sheer confidence and surprising naivety, Johnny Bravo provided ’90s viewers with an unforgettable cocktail of laughter and nostalgia. 🕺📺🎙️
25Daria Morgendorffer: The Queen of Sarcasm (Daria, 1997)
In the pantheon of 90s female cartoon characters, Daria Morgendorffer stands tall. Debuting in 1997 as the star of the trailblazing MTV series “Daria,” she redefined how teenage girls were portrayed in animation.
With her unmistakable round glasses, combat boots, and signature deadpan voice, Daria became an emblematic figure of ’90s youth culture.
Daria’s widespread appeal stemmed from her razor-sharp wit, candid insights, and spot-on sarcastic humor.
She resonated deeply for many teenagers feeling out of step with the world, tackling the tumultuous high school years and societal pressures with a refreshing blend of wit and depth.
24The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Heroes in a Half Shell
Though they debuted in the late ’80s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remained a staple of ’90s cartoons. Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo blend action, comedy, and camaraderie perfectly.
Each turtle’s unique personality and color-coded mask created a well-rounded team dynamic. The tough guy Raphael donned a red mask, and the fun-loving Michelangelo wore orange. Leonardo, the level-headed leader, sported a blue mask, while the inventive Donatello wore purple.
23Arnold: The Kid with the Football-Shaped Head (Hey Arnold!, 1996)
In the vibrant era of classic 90s cartoon characters, 1996 saw the emergence of Arnold, the iconic boy with a football-shaped head and a golden heart.
Beyond his distinctive silhouette, Arnold’s cool, composed nature and knack for solving dilemmas made him a trusted pillar for friends and neighbors alike.
Set against the backdrop of a diverse urban setting, his adventures provided poignant commentary on themes like prejudice, friendship, and family ties.
In the colorful tapestry of ’90s animation, Arnold remains a timeless emblem.🏈🌆📺🌟
22Rocko: (Rocko’s Modern Life, 1993)
In the vibrant world of cartoon characters in the 90s, Rocko, an endearing anthropomorphic wallaby, made a splash in 1993.
“Rocko’s Modern Life” wasn’t just another cartoon; it masterfully mixed slapstick hilarity with sharp social critiques, all wrapped up in delightfully absurd scenarios.
But beyond the laughs, Rocko resonated on a deeper level. As an immigrant trying to find his footing in a new land, his tales of perseverance, resilience, and humor in the face of challenges felt genuine.
His wholesome and earnest persona endeared him to fans, painting a memorable picture of the quirks and nuances of the ’90s.🦘📺🌀
21Yakko, Wakko, and Dot: The Animaniacs
Among the best 90s cartoon characters, the Animaniacs trio—Yakko, Wakko, and Dot—stood out, leaving an indelible mark with their infectious energy and madcap humor.
These siblings didn’t just entertain; they mesmerized with a concoction of pop culture nods, witty wordplay, and a universal appeal that captivated both young and old.
What elevated their fame? It was their innovative blend of humor: sassy yet smart, entertaining yet enlightening. Whether diving into history, trekking across geography, or demystifying grammar, they made learning a thrilling ride.
But they weren’t just another cartoon act.
The Animaniacs embodied the audacious spirit of the ’90s, fearlessly defying the status quo and setting new benchmarks in animation. 🌟📺🎤
20CatDog: The Ultimate Odd Couple (CatDog, 1998)
CatDog, the conjoined cat and dog duo, debuted in 1998, presenting viewers with a unique premise and a fresh take on the classic “odd couple” dynamic. The show’s humor was derived from the siblings’ clashing personalities and their never-ending struggle to coexist.
Their popularity can be traced back to the relatable themes of family and acceptance that were explored throughout the series.
Despite their differences, Cat and Dog often found common ground and learned to appreciate each other’s unique qualities. The show’s wacky concept and engaging character dynamics stood out in the ‘90s cartoon landscape.
19Courage: The Cowardly Dog with a Big Heart
Though Courage the Cowardly Dog premiered at the tail-end of the ’90s, it quickly became a fan favorite. This lovable pink dog, known for his fearfulness and loyalty, captured viewers’ hearts as he faced many supernatural and bizarre foes with protecting his family.
Courage’s popularity can be attributed to his relatable anxieties and unwavering love for his family. Despite his timid nature, he consistently found the courage to face his fears, making him an unlikely hero.
18Pepper Ann: The Spirited Tween (Pepper Ann, 1997)
Pepper Ann, a spunky redhead with an active imagination, burst onto the scene in 1997 as part of Disney’s One Saturday Morning lineup. Created by Sue Rose, the show depicted the trials and tribulations of middle school life through the eyes of its titular character.
Pepper Ann was popular for her relatable nature and distinctive personality. Her struggles with adolescence, friendships, and fitting in were themes that resonated with young viewers.
The series’ playful animation style and memorable theme song contributed to its success, making it a beloved part of Disney’s television history.
17Beavis and Butt-Head: The Ultimate Slackers
Beavis and Butt-Head, the brainchild of Mike Judge, premiered on MTV in 1993. The show centered around two socially awkward, dim-witted teenagers and struck a chord with audiences for its unapologetically irreverent humor and biting social commentary.
These iconic slackers were popular for their over-the-top antics and unique perspectives on music videos, pop culture, and the world around them.
Their crude humor and memorable catchphrases cemented their status as quintessential ’90s characters.
16Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Adorable Scare Trio
In the animated heyday of 90s cartoon characters, 1994 saw Nickelodeon unveiling a quirky gem: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. The narrative revolved around Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, a trio of budding monsters navigating their frightful coursework at Monster Academy.
Beyond their comical appearance, this whimsical threesome carved a special place in viewers’ hearts with their quirky quirks and an unbreakable bond of friendship.
What set the show apart? A refreshing storyline, avant-garde animation, and the palpable camaraderie among its characters.
Today, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters stands as a revered relic, evoking waves of nostalgia for ’90s aficionados everywhere. 📺👹🌙
15Sailor Moon: The Defender of Love and Justice
In the vibrant realm of female cartoon characters from the 90s, Sailor Moon shimmered with undeniable charm. Although it debuted in Japan in 1992, North America quickly fell under its enchanting spell during the 1990s.
At the heart of its allure was a poignant blend of love, camaraderie, and the power of female empowerment.
With her enduring impact on pop culture, Sailor Moon undoubtedly reigns as a cornerstone in the pantheon of 1990s female icons. 🌙✨🎀
14Bobby Generic: (Bobby’s World, 1990)
Bobby’s World, created by and starring comedian Howie Mandel, debuted on Fox Kids in 1990. The show revolved around the imaginative adventures of Bobby Generic, a curious and creative little boy who viewed the world through a unique lens.
Bobby’s popularity can be attributed to his boundless imagination and relatable childhood experiences. The show struck a chord with viewers by exploring universal family, friendship, and self-discovery themes.
Bobby’s World showcased the power of imagination and the importance of understanding different perspectives, making it a cherished part of ’90s cartoon history.
13Gargoyles: The Dark Defenders (Gargoyles, 1994)
Gargoyles, a darker and more mature offering from Disney, premiered in 1994. The series followed a clan of nocturnal, ancient creatures awakened from a thousand-year slumber to protect modern-day Manhattan.
The clan leader Goliath quickly became a fan favorite for his wisdom, strength, and unwavering sense of duty.
The show’s popularity can be traced to its unique blend of mythology, action, and compelling storytelling. Gargoyles tackled loyalty, prejudice, and redemption themes, making it stand out from its more light-hearted counterparts.
The series’ devoted fan base and enduring cultural impact make Goliath and the Gargoyles iconic ’90s characters.
12Gerald Martin Johanssen 90s Cartoon Characters
Gerald Martin Johanssen, a key character from the hit ‘90s Nickelodeon show Hey Arnold!, debuted in 1996. As Arnold’s loyal best friend, Gerald brought a cool and confident vibe to the series.
With his trademark skinny frame and tall red-and-white striped hairstyle, he was instantly recognizable and became a fan favorite.
Gerald’s popularity can be attributed to his laid-back personality, unwavering friendship with Arnold, and ability to handle various situations with a level head.
11The Wild Thornberrys: The Adventurous Family
The 1990s were a golden era of animation, and amidst the roster of popular cartoon characters in the 90s, The Wild Thornberrys emerged as a breath of fresh air. Launched in 1998 by Nickelodeon, this animated series invited viewers on global adventures with a unique family of wildlife documentarians.
The allure of The Wild Thornberrys was rooted in its spirit of adventure, beautifully interspersed with glimpses of diverse cultures and vibrant ecosystems.
Her heartwarming chats with the animal kingdom offered a delightful mix of comedy and depth. A standout in the 90s animation scene, the series also highlighted the significance of environmental conservation and the beauty of global unity.
10Darkwing Duck: The Caped Crusader (Darkwing Duck, 1991)
Darkwing Duck swooped onto television screens in 1991 as part of Disney’s animated lineup. The show featured the crime-fighting escapades of Darkwing Duck, a superhero with an alter ego, Drake Mallard.
The show’s popularity can be attributed to its unique take on the superhero genre, combining elements of comedy, adventure, and drama.
Darkwing Duck’s catchphrases, like “I am the terror that flaps in the night,” added to the character’s charm and appeal. The series’ distinctive style, memorable characters, and compelling storylines made Darkwing Duck a beloved part of 1990s animation.
Captain Planet, a blue-skinned alien with a striking green mullet, tops this list of 90s cartoon characters with the best theme songs. His powers, a fusion of the elements controlled by the five Planeteers, give him the strength to combat eco-threats.
Although the show Captain Planet and the Planeteers was a lighthearted cartoon and a merchandising success, it communicated a serious message. He endures as a 1990s icon and one of the few characters who earnestly strived to make a difference.
Kit Cloudkicker is a character from the animated television series “TaleSpin,” which was produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and first aired in 1990.
The show is set in the fictional city of Cape Suzette and includes several characters from Disney’s 1967 animated film “The Jungle Book,” though it’s set in a different narrative universe.
While Wolverine’s popularity started with the comic books, his prominence increased greatly during the 1990s, in large part due to his central role in the “X-Men: The Animated Series” which aired from 1992 to 1997.
This show, popular on Saturday mornings, played a key role in introducing a new generation to the X-Men and solidifying Wolverine’s place as a beloved character.
6Stewie Griffin – 1998
Stewie Griffin is a key character from the animated television show “Family Guy,” created by Seth MacFarlane and produced by Fox Broadcasting Company.
However, it should be noted that Stewie Griffin and “Family Guy” technically do not belong to the 1990s; the show debuted on January 31, 1999 and primarily belonged to the early 2000s.
SpongeBob SquarePants, an energetic and optimistic yellow sea sponge, resides in a pineapple under the sea. He brings his childlike enthusiasm to his job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab fast food restaurant.
He passionately pursues a boat-driving license from Mrs. Puff’s Boating School, though he never achieves it.
In his free time, he loves “jellyfishing” – catching jellyfish with a net, similar to butterfly catching, and crafting elaborate shapes by blowing soap bubbles.
Bart Simpson is a central character in the animated television show “The Simpsons,” which was created by Matt Groening and produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company.
The show initially started as a series of animated shorts for “The Tracey Ullman Show” in 1987 before becoming a full-fledged series in 1989. Therefore, Bart Simpson was indeed a significant cartoon character throughout the 1990s.
3Pinky and The Brain
Pinky and the Brain is an animated television show in the 1990s cartoon culture. The show was created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment in collaboration with Warner Bros. Animation.
The series first aired in 1995 and quickly became a popular part of the “Animaniacs” cartoon series, eventually spinning off into its own show due to its success.
Chuckie Finster is a character from the animated television show “Rugrats,” which aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2004. The show and its characters were an integral part of 90s pop culture.
Chuckie is portrayed as the loyal best friend of the main character, Tommy Pickles. Known for his thick glasses, messy red hair, and consistent outfit of a blue shirt and green shorts, Chuckie is the easiest scared and most cautious among the Rugrats.
1Tommy Pickles: The Fearless Baby (Rugrats, 1991)
In 1991, “Rugrats” introduced the world to Tommy Pickles, the fearless leader of a ragtag group of babies. Tommy’s unflinching bravery and optimism, even in the face of the unknown, made him an endearing and inspirational character.
The animation style of “Rugrats” was quirky and a bit rough around the edges, perfectly capturing childhood’s messy, unpredictable nature. The show’s unique perspective, presenting the world through the eyes of the babies, provided a fresh and entertaining viewpoint.
Male Cartoon Characters From The 1990s
- Homer Simpson (The Simpsons, 1989)
- Eric Cartman (South Park, 1997)
- Stimpy (The Ren & Stimpy Show, 1991)
- Rocko (Rocko’s Modern Life, 1993)
- Fry (Futurama, 1999)
- Dexter (Dexter’s Laboratory, 1996)
- Yakko Warner (Animaniacs, 1993)
- Hank Hill (King of the Hill, 1997)
- Bobby Hill (King of the Hill, 1997)
- Eddy (Ed, Edd n Eddy, 1999)
- Cow and Chicken’s Dad (Cow and Chicken, 1997)
- Darkwing Duck (Darkwing Duck, 1991)
- Peter Griffin (Family Guy, 1999)
- Goliath (Gargoyles, 1994)
- Beavis (Beavis and Butt-Head, 1993)
- Butt-Head (Beavis and Butt-Head, 1993)
- T.J. Detweiler (Recess, 1997)
- Ickis (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, 1994)
- Norbert Beaver (The Angry Beavers, 1997)
- Zapp Brannigan (Futurama, 1999)
- Chuckie Finster (Rugrats, 1990)
- Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop, 1998)
- Squidward Tentacles (SpongeBob SquarePants, 1999)
- Courage (Courage the Cowardly Dog, 1999)
- Lionel Hutz (The Simpsons, 1989)
- P.J. Pete (Goof Troop, 1992)
- Phil DeVille (Rugrats, 1990)
- Quailman (Doug, 1991)
- Aladdin (Aladdin: The Series, 1994)
- Brain (Pinky and the Brain, 1995)
Female Cartoon Characters From The 1990s
- Daria Morgendorffer (Daria, 1997)
- Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons, 1989)
- Marge Simpson (The Simpsons, 1989)
- Helga Pataki (Hey Arnold!, 1996)
- Blossom (The Powerpuff Girls, 1998)
- Bubbles (The Powerpuff Girls, 1998)
- Buttercup (The Powerpuff Girls, 1998)
- Eliza Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys, 1998)
- Jane Lane (Daria, 1997)
- Angelica Pickles (Rugrats, 1990)
- Velma Dinkley (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, 1988; continued into the ’90s)
- Dot Warner (Animaniacs, 1993)
- Patty Mayonnaise (Doug, 1991)
- Debbie Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys, 1998)
- Susie Carmichael (Rugrats, 1990)
- Luanne Platter (King of the Hill, 1997)
- Charlotte Pickles (Rugrats, 1990)
- Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, 1994)
- Gosalyn Mallard (Darkwing Duck, 1991)
- Pepper Ann Pearson (Pepper Ann, 1997)
- Princess Jasmine (Aladdin: The Series, 1994)
- Leela (Futurama, 1999)
- Miss Grotke (Recess, 1997)
- Spinelli (Recess, 1997)
- Meg Griffin (Family Guy, 1999)
- Foxxy Love (Drawn Together, 2004; based on ’90s character Valerie Brown from Josie and the Pussycats)
- Numbuh 3 (Codename: Kids Next Door, 2002; influenced by ’90s cartoons)
- Patti Mayonnaise (Doug, 1991)
- Morgana Macawber (Darkwing Duck, 1991)
- Judy Funnie (Doug, 1991)
What Was Special About 90s Cartoon Characters?
The 1990s was a golden age for cartoons, particularly in the US, and the characters from this era left a significant mark on pop culture.
Here’s what made the ’90s cartoon characters special:
Diversity of Genres and Styles: From the surreal and wacky humor of “Ren & Stimpy” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” to the superhero drama of “Batman: The Animated Series” and “X-Men”, the ’90s covered a wide range of genres. This meant there was something for everyone.
Crossover of Audience: While many cartoons of the era were designed for children, they often contained humor and references that adults could appreciate. Shows like “Animaniacs” and “The Simpsons” were lauded for their wit and sharp cultural commentary.
Iconic Characters: Many characters from ’90s cartoons have become pop culture icons, from the titular characters of “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Johnny Bravo” to the ensemble casts of “Rugrats” and “Hey Arnold!”
Experimental and Edgy Content: The ’90s saw networks taking risks, leading to some offbeat and edgy content. “Courage the Cowardly Dog”, for instance, introduced horror themes in a children’s cartoon format.
Continuity and Character Development: While episodic formats were still dominant, some ’90s cartoons started developing longer story arcs and delving deeper into character backstories, offering more narrative depth.
Cultural Impact: ’90s cartoons often touched upon societal issues and challenges, sometimes in subtle ways. “Captain Planet”, for instance, tackled environmental issues, while “Recess” touched on the social dynamics of school life.