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A new character appears in 1949 in the cartoon Wags
to Riches : the dog called Spike. It will be present in 11 Avery's films
under this name, but a cartoon as The Counterfeit Cat
(1950) uses a very nearby dog.
It corresponds however to an increasingly marked weakness of
the scenarios, which are satisfied to put two foreseeable characters
in opposition and to align the gags.
The cartoons where Spike is the principal character seem to me more interesting. None of through its first personality really shows on the surface. Spike appears well as what it is from the beggining: a scapegoat, a victim.
Its confrontation with the emaciated cock of Cock-a-Doodle Dog, its timidity in front of Joe Bear and its courage in front of the sadistic puppy in Rock-A-Bye-Bear, the repeated aggressions of Drippy "a strong guy" in Droopy's Double Trouble make of it an extremely likable character, completely disorientated by a fatum which exceeds it. This Spike appears very human to me. It is interesting to note that it is the unique hero of the Avery's universe which finishes sometimes insane at the end of the cartoons.
Spike's apotheosis must be found in Magical Maestro, where its vanity makes him put the Misto magician outside the theater. This last one will undertake to ridicule Spike in a dazzling Fregoli involuntary performance until the revenge of Poochini-Spike which make undergo the same fate to its torturer.
From the beginning, Spike is a graphically simplified character. U.P.A.'s style (as adopted by M.G.M.'s studio at the beginning of 50') will still be able to reduce it to the stub character of Cellbound, the last cartoon directed by Avery.