Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Fine. You win.
Good grief. (Archive link, five cents.)
Peanuts was the brainchild of Charles Schulz, and it ran for damn near fifty consecutive years of original strips, and is still reprinted to this day. “Sparky” Schulz never liked the name “Peanuts”– it was foisted upon him– but Peanuts it was.
The strip came to encompass a cast of thoroughly nutty characters. There was Charlie Brown, of course, the world’s most depressed little boy; Lucy, Charlie Brown’s friend and also antagonist who would dispense psychiatric advice for a nickel and nag for free; Linus, who never went anywhere without his security blanket; Pepper Mint Pattie and her far more intelligent sidekick Marcie; Pig-Pen, the world’s dirtiest kid (and one of my favorite characters); Schroeder, resident pianist; and, of course, Snoopy, the crazy dog, and his little bird friend Woodstock. There were loads of others, of course, from Shermy to Franklin to Sally to Rerun.
Mostly, the strip seems to be about giving little kids adult sensibilities and worries. It was also about other wacky stuff, my favorite of which was Snoopy masquerading as the World War I Flying Ace. Regardless, Peanuts showed a keen philosophical and psychological insight into its characters.
Charlie Brown never got to kick the football, or fly the kite, or make time with the little red haired girl. He’ll be trapped forever in a web of his own neuroses. And maybe that’s for the best. (We do know he grows up to own his own chain of steakhouses, though, so it’s cool.) Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and all the rest– frozen in time and remembered forever. Snoopy is a cultural icon. Charlie Brown is the world’s most famous sad sack (he’s totally emo). Charles Schulz’s gigantic one-man masterwork will most certainly stand the test of time. Peanuts will go down in history as the comic strip.
You all raked me over the coals for not really liking Peanuts, so I’m going to turn this over to you, the readers. Tell us why you love Peanuts!
Roughly ten billion collections of the strip exist, but the ones you need are the fancy Complete Peanuts volumes currently being published by Fantagraphics. Meanwhile, hit up the Peanuts website.
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