Felix in the future, by Otto Messmer 1933

Otto Messmer is generally known as the creator of the famous 'Felix the Cat' character. Messmer started his professional career in 1914 with illustrating for magazines and newspapers like Fun and Life Magazine. Soon, he started out in the animation field to eventually join the Pat Sullivan Studios in late 1915. After a period working as a telegraphist in France during World War I, he returned to his native country and the Sullivan studios. He made a cartoon version of Charlie Chaplin and launched a series called 'Boomer Bill'.

Felix the Cat, by Otto Messmer

Then in 1919, he animated the famous black cat Felix for the cartoon 'Feline Follies'. Actually, as early as 1917 Pat Sullivan had made an animated short called 'The Tail of Thomas Kat', featuring a prototype of the later Felix. At first, Messmer's Felix was called Master Tom, but from the third cartoon, his name changed to Felix. While being the most popular cartoon character of the silent era, 'Felix the Cat' was also introduced as a newspaper comic in 1923, distributed by King Features. Messmer also did the art on the comic, which he continued doing until 1955, sometimes assisted by Jack Boyle and Bill Holman.

illustration by Otto Messmer


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