Feiffer vs. Warners: A Problem With Bugs

Bugs Bunny’s popularity is largely due to his irreverent, even anarchic charm, but Warner Bros. apparently feels the Wascally Wabbit should be treated with respect. For the just-released Bugs Bunny magazine--part of the studio’s media campaign to celebrate the character’s 50th birthday and push Bugs merchandise--Warners commissioned tributes from some of America’s top comic-strip artists (Jim Davis, Charles Schulz and Matt Groening among them). But Jules Feiffer is conspicuously absent--Warners turned down the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s cartoon.

“They asked me for a drawing, then rejected it with the sort of excuse I’ve been getting for years: ‘ We love it, but we think it would offend other people,’ ” Feiffer tells us. “They said they were afraid it might offend Warren Beatty, because I refer to his age, and Mel Blanc’s family, because I announce the fact that Mel is dead” (a fact that’s mentioned at least twice in articles in the mag).

“It’s one of those loony-bin situations that recur in America. You’ve got a character whose style is based on irreverence, but when you celebrate him, the one thing you can’t be is irreverent. That attitude proves Bugs is dead and in the hands of the morticians.”

Warner Bros. reps had no comment.


The final irony: Feiffer says someone from Warners bought the original of his cartoon-- after it had been rejected.