Honey Bunny is a female rabbit cartoon character, designed by Robert McKimson and is the girlfriend of Bugs Bunny who was used for merchandising purposes beginning in the late 1960s. Honey Bunny is an older version of Lola Bunny who first appeared in Space Jam in 1996.
Comic books and merchandising
A prototype version of Honey Bunny first appeared in the Bugs Bunny's Album comic book from 1953. Instead of being portrayed as his love interest, this version of Honey Bunny is a small white rabbit (and famous African explorer) who is his cousin.
The more well-known version of Honey Bunny debuted in Bugs Bunny Comic Book #108 (November 1966) and was a semi-regular fixture in the series of Looney Tunes comic books published by Gold Key throughout the 1960s and 1970s, usually co-starring with Bugs Bunny. Their relationship through the comics was somewhat variable at times; while they were often depicted as a dating couple, there were times when their relationship could be decidedly un-romantic and even adversarial if a particular story demanded it.
Honey's physical appearance also varied considerably over time. In some appearances, she had yellow or pale tan fur and wore a bow between her ears (which were worn down instead of pointing up). She was later drawn to a very "Bugs Bunny-like" model with gray fur that made her look nearly identical to Bugs himself, aside from her female clothing. Eventually, however, Honey was redesigned to a more visibly feminine model. While she still shared Bugs' basic coloration and design, her facial features (primarily her mouth and muzzle) and tail-tuft were made a bit smaller to give them a softer, more delicate appearance, her eyes were made a little larger and drawn with more prominent feminine eyelashes, and her female curves were given a bit more emphasis. This later version, which began appearing in the early 1970s, became the new "official" model and was used frequently in various Looney Tunes merchandise throughout the 1980s and early 1990s..
Animation and other media
Officially, she is considered a member of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters, even though she has never officially appeared in a single animated short; her appearances were limited solely to promotional and ancillary merchandising items. However, a female rabbit with Honey Bunny's yellow character design (who is unnamed in the cartoon but credited as Honey Bunny) makes a cameo appearance in the closing scene of the Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet animated television special in 1978. She also appeared in The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle video game in 1989  and the Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball pinball game in 1990.
The most recent mention of Honey was in the book "Looney Tunes: The Official Visual Guide," where Honey is referred to as a former travel companion of Bugs Bunny.
In the middle 1990's artists working for Warner Bros. started working on "Space Jam". In this movie Honey Bunny was planned to be Bugs Bunny's female counterpart. In early sketches an athletic female bunny with a bow on her head is seen, wearing a dress referring to the flag of the United States of America. However, some artists commented that she looks too much like Bugs in drag and they decided to change her look. They probably took an earlier yellow version of Honey Bunny and updated her to a more modern look.
Probably from the very beginning they wanted to change her name as well. Among proposed names there appeared such ones like Bunni Bunny, Lola Buni, Lola Rabbit, and even Daisy Lou. Eventually, the character has got the name of Lola Bunny.
Technically speaking, Honey Bunny and Lola Bunny are the same character who has just been redesigned and renamed. The same thing happened to Melissa Duck who in now-aired The Looney Tunes Show has got the name of Tina Russo Duck.
Comparison to Bugs Bunny's other girlfriends
The 1942 cartoon, Hold the Lion, Please, depicts Bugs married to a female rabbit (credited as Mrs. Bugs Bunny) who looks identical to him except for a bow in her hair and a yellow dress. She tells the audience that she wears the (literal) pants in the family. This character has not been seen since. Throughout the years, other female rabbits shown attraction to Bugs Bunny, including a shapely robotic female rabbit used as a bait for Bugs by Gossamer's creator in the 1946 cartoon Hair-Raising Hare, Daisy Lou (who bears a strong resemblance to Honey Bunny's eventual character design from the 1970s-1990s) in the 1948 cartoon Hare Splitter, Witch Hazel (who is transformed into an attractive female rabbit) in the 1954 cartoon Bewitched Bunny, and Millicent (an overweight rabbit) in the 1957 cartoon Rabbit Romeo.
The release of the 1996 film Space Jam introduced a new female rabbit character, Lola Bunny, who almost completely supplanted Honey as both a merchandising figure and Bugs' sweetheart. During the time the movie was in the theaters, and for some time thereafter, Lola appeared on practically every merchandising item released by Warners or its licensees (whether or not they were tied-in to the movie or not) while Honey seemed all but forgotten.
However, Lola's popularity soon began to wane as well since Space Jam, having met with mixed reviews by critics, did not generate the kind of audience enthusiasm that would have led to further animated appearances for the character. Honey began to reappear around 1998–1999, particularly on items sold via the (now defunct) Warner Brothers Studio Stores. For a time, the two characters coexisted. However, with the closure of the WB Studio Store chain in 2001 and the subsequent general reduction in Looney Tunes merchandise, Honey has once again faded from view, and seems unlikely to return to prominence any time in the near future.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Honey's Debut!". Tripod. Archived from the original on 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Honey Bunny's Collectables". Tripod. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Wabbits! Wabbits! Wabbits! The OTHER rabbits of Warner Brothers cartoons". Golden Age Cartoons. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ "Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ "The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (Video Game 1989)". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ "Honey's Game Room". Tripod. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- ↑ "Bugs Bunny's Birthday (pinball game)". HoneyBunnyWorld.com. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Honey Bunny's Biography - part 5". HoneyBunnyWorld.com. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- ↑ "Tina Russo Duck at Looney City Citizens". wikia.com. Retrieved 2012-04-23.