Every World Cup since 1966 has featured an official cartoon mascot. Apart from the ill-advised "Ciao" for Italy in 1990 and the beyond awful German Goleo VI (and his talking ball Pille) in 2006 they are all pretty good. Despite looking rather charming I'm not really sure what Germany was thinking with Tip & Tap. Maybe back in 1974 it might not have looked quite so creepy. The Stryker character was designed by Warner Brothers Studios for USA 1994. They've done a lot better than the Olympic mascots. Who can forget Atlanta's disastrous Izzy/Whatizit (although Cobi for Barcelona 1992 is perhaps the greatest sporting mascot of all time).
The World Cup mascot for 2010 is Zakumi who is a leopard (apparently). My guess is they really wanted to do a lion but Germany used one for the previous tournament.
Zakumi comes complete with his own comic strip written by Rico Schacherl & Stephen Francis, the two creators of the popular South African cartoon, Madam and Eve.
There's a bunch more strips here.