As Easter is nigh upon us, let’s reflect on something special: rabbits. Yes, comics are an interesting and wild thing, and because of that, I can list of a few very special characters who are giant rabbits. I mean, when else would I make this list? I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity. And, while I’m sure that somewhere there is a cosmically powered Easter Bunny, I’m not aware of it, so don’t get too disappointed. Let’s HOP to it. Ha?
Bucky O’ Hare
For a long time, I didn’t know Bucky O’Hare was a comic book character. The only thing I knew about him was that he was a stupid cool space captain bunny. I was introduced to him in the arcade game at Chucky Cheese’s as a kid, and it was pretty much love at first sight. I mean, what kid wouldn’t love a green space bunny with a laser pistol? Years later, I came to find out he had his own cartoon for a while. And then I discovered that he actually started life as a comic character co-created by Larry Hama. You know, the guy that wrote the original G.I. Joe comics for Marvel! Yeah, I was pretty surprised by that. But at the same time, maybe not. I’ve never found any of these comics, but I imagine that they are just completely weird, and thus amazing.
Ah, yes, another entry in the legion of Captains in comics. Except this captain is a giant bunny. So, you might have heard of this one if you read DC comics, but probably not. Captain Carrot is one of the companies many very, very odd characters. He is the leader of a group of super heroes called the Zoo Crew, which is exactly what it sounds. They are all animals based on other DC super heroes. And Captain Carrot is the big cheese, er…carrot, I guess. His name is really Rodney Rabbit, too, which is pretty cool. He is of course one a member of an alternate Earth (of which DC has plenty), and I guess he ate a cosmic carrot once? But, to be honest, I don’t need much reasoning as to why this guy exists. His costume is also probably my favorite on this list because, I mean…it’s just so…Captain Carrot.
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
Here’s another giant rabbit given to us by DC Comics. I know that might be a little confusing, because it says “Marvel” in the name, but Hoppy is actually a member of the Marvel family. But you might know Captain Marvel as just Shazam these days, and it’s probably better, and certainly easier, that way. The great thing about Hoppy is that he is just a rabbit wearing the Shazam suit. But, that’s pretty much how that family works. Everyone gets the bolt on their chest. Hoppy probably isn’t even the weirdest member of the family. Mister Tawky Tawny is a humanoid tiger, and a very posh one at that. Then there’s Uncle Dudley, who’s just sort of an older, fatter man. And he stays that way when he suits up. So, what’s a big pinkish bunny to that, really? I don’t know that I’ve ever really read anything with Hoppy in it, but this list would be incomplete without a magical bunny aided by an ancient wizard who kind of hands out Shazam powers left and right.
“Pirate” a.k.a. 3
OK, so here’s the thing, if you haven’t read Grant Morrison’s We3 then you absolutely should. It’s about a trio of animals who have been turned into government weapons. They were given these suits of robotic armor that can do all kinds of damage. These animals are a dog, a cat, and of course, a rabbit. This is by far the most serious entry on the list, because there is a lot of fighting, exploding, and questioning of humanity and ethics. Pirate/3 is the rabbit, and was definitely my favorite of the group. I can’t say too much about this book without accidentally spoiling anything, but this rabbit kicked almost the most ass on this entire list. That honor goes to the next entry. This whole concept may sound a little gonzo, but keep in mind it was written by Grant Morrison, so it really comes together. Plus that rabbit is a bad mother.
Duh. While this list is in no order, and just so happened to be arranged alphabetical on reread, Usagi is the greatest of all comic book rabbits. He’s the one who’s kicked the most ass. After all, he’s been doing it for over 30 years. That’s pretty serious. Stan Sakai’s ronin rabbit is a landmark on American comics not only because of its longevity, but also because of its quality. Usagi Yojimbo is a comic to read if you want to know how to make comics. But I’ve said all that before. Usagi himself is the top of this list because he is honorable, loyal, and dangerous. He’s a hero we can get behind and it never feels phony. He’s a samurai, and who doesn’t love a samurai, huh? Tell me that. He balances the tones of a bloody battle, with the playful creatures of the forest. Usagi has seen it all, even numerous crossovers with the Ninja Turtles. There will likely never be a better rabbit in comics. And certainly never a cooler one. For this, I bow to Usagi Yojimbo and realize that he is the greatest.
And with that, I say happy Easter!