Saturday, November 26, 2022

Shulz Centennial


Oh, Good Grief.

Psychiatric Help 5 Cents. Fussbudget. Slugs. Rats! Security Blanket. Kite-Eating Tree. Great Pumpkin. Sweet Baboo. Snicker-Snacks. Blockhead. Joe Shlabotnik. Round-Headed Kid. Supertime Dance. Sidney or the Bush. Cat Next Door. Beethoven. World War One Flying Ace. Sopwith Camel. Red Baron. Vincent Van Gogh. Joe Cool. Vulture. Miss Othmar. Lazy Eye. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. The Six Bunny-Wunnies. I Got a Rock. Don't Call Me Sir. Naturally Curly Hair. Woodstock. 

Good Old Charlie Brown.

This weekend marks the 100th Birthday of Charles Shulz, creator of Peanuts. Peanuts was a touchstone for much of my generation and and for generations before and after us. It was incredibly popular, expanding from the daily and Sunday strips to movies, TV shows, comic books, records, songs and Broadway shows. Even its huxtering brought attention to Dolly Madison Cakes and Met Life. Its Christmas Special is one of the wonders of its age. 

A lot of people (in particular other cartoonists) are commemorating the centennial, but I just want to note how much of our childhood language was influenced by his comic strips. Words, history, and situations have taken on an extended life in our memories after being incorporated into his strips. The kids were kids, but they were very smart, generally well-informed kids.  Snoopy had an incredibly detailed alternate life, ranging from the coolest guy on campus to being a lawyer to an astronaut to captaining the Starship Enterprise. All of this formed a common ground for our generation, a shared experience told in four panels per day, with color versions in the Sunday paper. 

Shulz passed on in 2000, the day after his last comic strip was published. Yet his reprinted strips are still often the most amusing thing on the comic pages, and reach far beyond the nostalgia of our youth. Charles Shulz was one of the most influential writers of the later 20th Cent. He just did it while drawing the pictures as well.

More later,