Our newest feature here at WNC is called Sunday Funnies. With these posts, we will bring you info about the main reason I continue to buy the daily newspaper, the comic strips! We will start out with what is arguably the most famous comic strip EVER, Peanuts by Charles Schulz. The strip ran for 50 years, with over 17,897 strips printed. The strip still runs in most newspapers today. It has spawned numerous TV specials, shows, movies and even a Broadway musical. (When I was in high school, we performed the musical and I played Linus, blanket and all.) Peanuts characters have been featured in hundreds of commercials. Snoopy has been a float in the Macy’s parade for 39 years and had seven different incarnations. A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the most beloved specials of the season and the Linus and Lucy theme has become the unofficial theme of the strip. There is also a CGI Peanuts movie due in theaters Nov. 6, 2015.
Fantagraphics Books is publishing all the strips in editions that cover each year of the strip,two volumes a year in May and October. They began in 2004 and will be complete in 2016.
As for the strip itself, what else needs to be said? It is a piece of the American cultural heritage and it’s hard to imagine anyone who has not read a Peanuts comic strip at some point in their lives. Charlie Brown and the football, Snoopy and the Red Baron, Linus and his security blanket, all classic themes throughout the strip. Do you remember Frieda and her naturally curl hair? How about 555 95472, the kid whose father changed all their names to numbers in protest? Tapioca Pudding, with her parents plan to become rich by licensing her image? Charlie Brown’s favorite baseball player, Joe Schlabotnik? And Linus’ girlfriend, Truffles?
Charles Schulz and his creations have inspired several generations of cartoonists. Peanuts was my introduction to the world of comic strips and is still one my favorites to this day. If you haven’t read Peanuts before(do live under a rock?) or it’s been a while, check it out. It still holds up.