Famous fictional characters
There are many famous characters from fiction: Emma, Anna, Becky, Jane, Lily, Gatsby, Heathcliff, Oskar, Bloom, Zorba, Ahab, Humbert, K, Gulliver, D'Artagnan, Tristam, Copperfield, Meursault, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, Quixote, Portnoy, Yossarian. But there is a particular group that becomes archetypal, almost cartoon-like, in their fame: Dracula, Frankenstein, Marlowe (Chandler not Conrad), Scrooge, Faust, Bond, Peter Pan, and, perhaps the most famous of all, Sherlock Holmes.
"He has been the subject of at least 100 movies and nearly as many plays and radio dramas, and he has inspired an entire library's worth of books. There have been countless sequels and knockoffs - among them Nicholas Meyer's trilogy, which paired Holmes with figures like Freud, Oscar Wilde and the Phantom of the Opera; Laurie R. King's Mary Russell novels, about a young heiress who teams up with the retired Holmes; and "A Samba for Sherlock," by the Brazilian writer and television personality Jô Soares, which transports a fumbling, nearsighted Holmes to Rio to solve the case of a stolen violin. There is also a vast and ever-growing trove of serious and semiserious Holmes scholarship." More here.
What's interesting about the list above, is that we can picture all of them vividly in their physical aspect (except for Faust, the man who makes a bargain with the devil). What they look like, how they dress, is part of their fame. That's what probably constitutes their cartoon-like essence.