Pluggers is a comic panel created by Jeff MacNelly in 1993 that relies on reader submissions (referred to as "Pluggerisms") for the premise of each day's panel. Editorial cartoonist Gary Brookins took over in 1997, three years prior to MacNelly's death from lymphoma in 2000.
It is syndicated by Tribune Media Services in 60 newspapers, mostly in the Southern, Mid-West, Plains, and Rocky Mountain states.
In the context of this strip, "pluggers" are defined as rural, blue-collar workers who live a typical working-class American lifestyle, accompanied by a mentality characteristic of the veteran and Baby Boomer generations. In the comic, pluggers are portrayed in the form of anthropomorphic animals, most often a plump bear, dog, chicken, or rhinoceros, sometimes a kangaroo or a cat.
- Andy Bear is a father of three who works as a foreman and estimator at construction company. He is married to Sheila Roo.
- Sheila Roo is an aerobics instructor from Australia and the wife of Andy Bear.
- Carl Rhinowski, a rhinoceros construction worker.
- Earl Houndstooth, a dog, married to Henrietta Beak.
- Henrietta Beak, a hen, married to Earl Houndstooth who works at Costco.
- Doreen, who works at Costco with Henrietta.
- Hamilton Ivory, Andy's technophobic employer.
- Ginger, a canine café owner.
- Alan Litigator, a lawyer and alligator.
- Moose K. MacMoose III, a wealthy, retired moose.
- Dingo, a bear cub.
- DeeDee Doo, a hair stylist who, being a bird, actually has no hair of her own.
- Arthur Goldwyn, a salesman lion.
Criticism of strip
In 1996 Dave Eggers from Salon.com criticized the strip for lionizing the working class despite being written by a committee of "current and former CEOs", and objected to "the self-important and vaguely jingoistic way the creators promote the cartoon".
Gary Brookins himself argues that "Pluggers are self-deprecating and have a healthy sense of humor about themselves. They represent the majority of us who don't live for the latest trend, who keep plugging along without fanfare and try to balance work, play and family life."
- "Cast of Characters". Pluggers.com. 1996-06-24. Archived from the original on February 8, 1997. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- "ComicStrip/Pluggers". Television Tropes and Idioms. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- Brookins, Gary (c). Pluggers. June 10, 2014, Universal Uclick.
- Eggers, Dave (1996-07-10). "Crude Caricatures: A Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist goes slumming". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Peters, Mike. "You're a plugger if...". Dallas Morning News. 2006-10-29.