Growing up we didn't celebrate Easter but enjoyed the festivities such as the Easter Bunny, dyeing eggs, and Easter baskets full of whatever cute items my parents saw. Many of my baskets were either Disney or Batman-themed (maybe a Barbie one thrown in for good measure), but for a good portion of my childhood, I was convinced that Bugs Bunny was also the Easter Bunny. It made sense to me. I knew nothing about the religious context behind Easter, but a rabbit was a rabbit to me.

Bugs Bunny was first properly introduced in the Warner Bros cartoon A Wild Hare on July 27, 1940. But WB tested the waters with a protagonist rabbit in a handful of cartoons prior. The unnamed rabbits have many of Bugs' characteristics, but they weren't fine-tuned until 1940. Director Tex Avery had included "What's up, Doc?" into the short, which would then become the character's most infamous saying.

So in the spirit of spring, and the holiday, let's take a look at some whimsical and fun Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes comics.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #1 Dell

Released in 1941, this is the first comic book appearance of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig. The comic boasts 68 pages and features the early designs of the popular characters. This version of Bugs is slightly more realistic, aside from the red gloves he's wearing. I'm a fan of yellow Golden Age covers, and this cover works well with the yellow background.

Bugs Bunny Whitman Big Little Book #530

This unique BLB is "tall" compared to its other Big Little Book siblings. This book wasn't the only one of the tall line, but it is one of the hardest to find! These have popped up on Heritage in the past 20 years, and I'm sure one will pop up again. Whitman would release a handful of other Bugs Bunny books, but this appears to be the only tall Bugs Bunny book. I'm particularly fond of the cover, which features a brown and white Bugs, as opposed to his traditional gray and white.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies #150

This Easter cover from April 1954 is fairly common to find. This basic cover features a very cartoony (if that was possible) version of Bugs holding a basket of eggs. On this cover, he's wearing yellow gloves, which begs the question -- why are we avoiding his white gloves? I'll assume it's because of a printing thing, but it just feels wrong.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #19

I genuinely love the creative liberties the cover artist took with Bugs on these comics. His white-tipped ears are very cute, and stayed with the character for several issues. It would take WB a few years before getting Bugs' look to be uniform across all media, so these deviations are a delight! This is another Easter cover, with Bugs painting a rabbit face on the egg he's holding.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #18

While many of us associate Bugs with either Daffy Duck or Elmer Fudd, Bugs and Porky Pig shared many comic book covers with each other over the years. These fictional characters were also not spared from the war efforts during World War II either. This cover features Porky helping Bugs with his hat after he is (presumably) enlisted by the United States Marine Corps. Several of the early Dell covers were very patriotic, as was the norm during this time.