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mygif

I agree completely, MGK.

Bloom County, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes are three of my all-time favourites, but when it came to comic strips that blew my mind…Peanuts was my *first*, and to me, Schulz will always be the MAN for that.

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Lister Sage said on September 24th, 2008 at 9:28 am

I don’t find them funny (the baseball strip is amusing), but I think it’s because there are to many moments in my life that parallel these strips for me to find the humor in them.

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mygif

While I admire Shultz’s work ethic (I certainly won’t work when I get cancer!) I never liked Peanuts for two reasons: (1) it was philosophical, and I can’t stands me them philosofers; and (2), it wasn’t very funny. Dry humour, certainly, but I’ve never read a Peanuts strip that made me laugh. Some made me smile, plenty made me sad. None made me laugh. (And this is despite having two feet worth of shelfspace occupied by Peanuts books.)

I don’t know if you get the Fred Basset cartoon in North America, but Fred Basset always struck me as the English Peanuts – save Fred never made me smile, but Snoopy did.

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mygif

If you sincerely doubt the power of Peanuts, one need only look at “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Linus’s reciting of the story of the birth of Christ is still one of the single most outstanding scenes in animation ever. (And I say that as a person who isn’t fond of religion at all.)

And yes, I know the animated series/specials/movies aren’t the comic strip itself, but you have to think that if the comic strip hadn’t been the success it was (and still is), it likely never would have been animated — and it likely wouldn’t have gotten Linus’s speech in against the network’s objections.

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mygif

I’ve always loved Peanuts and always appreciated its place in history in comics. I think part of me has kind of forgotten all about it, but I can’t wait until next term to study it in my Comics & Cartoons class.

Also, regarding the animated specials and such, how much influence did Schultz have on them, I wonder?

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mygif

While I’m not overwhelmed by this strips, I did crack up at “the center cannot hold”, just because I’ve had so many days when I wished I could just say that and everything’s summed up. Peanut’s is weird like that. It certainly gets written off in pop culture as something that, by virtue of being old, must naturally be hokey and passive. We say it’s from the 50s, some it must automatically by myopic and now irrelevant.

Also, I never realized it before, the Schultz’s style really does have a bit of a timeless element to it, doesn’t it? Mostly because it’s so simple and empty that the characters really are free of anything that would define a time period. The background, being so sparsely defined, could be anywhere and anywhen.

I was reading an issue of Action Philosophers and it had a parody, ‘You’re A Good Man, John Stuart Mills.’ And besides the additional clunkiness of the dialog to squeeze all of the underlying logic, it was pretty much indistinguishable from Peanuts.

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mygif

Hear, hear. Oh, and the post you link to above explains why I don’t bother posting to Scans Daily anymore: too many chiefs, not enough Indians…

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mygif

I’m a Brit and never really paid much attention to Peanuts. However after reading the examples posted (I love the Charlie in bed strips) I think it’s about time I did so I’ve started ordering the new hardcover collections I can see on Amazon. Thanks for the post.

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mygif

Absolutely. I’ve always admired the hell out of Peanuts, and there’s no question that Charles Schultz was a genius and an inspiration to cartoonists everywhere. (I’ll never forget Tom Tomorrow’s moving tribute to Schultz in ‘This Modern World’.)

Even so, I think it’s time to retire the strip from syndication. They’ve put out some wonderful bound editions of the series for people who want to read it, and there are thousands of up-and-coming young cartoonists with their own vision. It’d be nice if there was room for them. We don’t see re-runs of Pogo, the Far Side, or Calvin and Hobbes (or Krazy Kat or Little Nemo or…the list goes on and on and on…) Why should Peanuts be any different from the other legends of the field?

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mygif

A-Fucking-Men. The ubiquity and quietness of Peanuts cause people to take it for granted. We overlook just how great it was. Part of the reason is that Schulz is, in a way, like the Beatles or Elvis — he changed the entire medium, and damn near everything that came after was an echo of him. He doesn’t strike us as fresh because so many comic artists from the last fifty years borrowed heavily from him.

He opened the comics to a different set of emotions and ideas. Alienation? The agonizing silence of God? The sense of futility that haunts us all at one point or another? All told with gentle humor and an aching heart? You don’t find that shit in Marmaduke.

The strip was, at times, Leave It to Beaver as interpreted by Ingmar Bergman. With jokes.

I heartily recommend reading large slabs of the strip at one sitting to appreciate where Schulz was going. Also, pick out different eras if you can, to see how it changed. The Peanuts of 1957 was not the Peanuts of 1977 or 1997, and all are worth checking out.

In the late eighties, he introduced a new character: Olaf, Snoopy and Spike’s ugly brother. My own brother, then in college, told me in shock: “My god, he’s done it…Peanuts has no business still being funny.” It was true. Not all of the strips are gems, and the latter years were so melancholic as to make one’s molars ache, but the genius and artistry were still there.

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mygif

Can I at least hate The Family Circus?

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mygif

Sorry, i don’t agree. For me it was good up until when Peppermint Patty FINALLY realizes that Snoopy wasn’t a funny looking kid with a big nose.

But I will say that part of the problem was that other strips started riffing on peanuts and therefore diluting his uniqueness.

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mygif

….people that call anything “speed metal” shouldnt ever talk about hard/heavy music. just trying to help you out for any future conversations.

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mygif

joedistort: Consider it a measure of my lack of interest in guitars going really really really fast.

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mygif

About the only thing I’ll give Scott Adams credit for is he draws a cat better than Schultz did.

Woodstock, however, rocks. 😀

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mygif

haha, thats understandable. but that term is what old people in the 80s used. i was trying to help you out, since you have expressed lack of musical nerdiness in the past. on topic: charlie brown is a depressing fellow, since we are so similar. this makes him great. i grew up reading peanuts, and wouldnt have the appreciation for other strips (or maybe comics in general?) without it.

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CandidGamera said on September 24th, 2008 at 11:55 am

Each strip like a Marvel comic full of emo pain..

Peanuts is important. It’s poignant. Schultz clearly knew what he was doing.

But Peanuts isn’t that funny – which is an entirely subjective thing, I realize. There are occasional exceptions, but I’m not reading the funny pages to hear a cartoonist’s musings on philosophy, nor am I some kind of sadist who enjoys bald kids suffering. The strip doesn’t consistently entertain me. Only three of your eleven examples amused me to some degree. (Snowman, “Oh”, and the Oar.)

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mygif

I actually think the later “Rerun” strips he did towards the end are equal in greatness to his alleged “classic” period. Really funny, bittersweet stuff.

If there was a fallow period at all, I suppose it was during the mid to late-80s, though even that era has great bits like the one where the butterfly lands on Peppermint Patty’s nose and she becomes convinced it’s an angel with a message from God.

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mygif

I don’t like Elvis or the Beatles, either.

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mygif

[…] You’re Going Sadly Unrecognized In Certain Quarters, Charlie Brown from Mightygodking.com […]

mygif

Hear, hear.

There should be certain cartoonists/animators whose works are taught in schools. Charles Schulz is one of them.

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mygif

It’s okay Andrew. Elvis was a pedophile and a hack. In a similar vein, John Wayne is not a friend to me.

I remember really liking Peanuts as a kid, but as I got older, it became kind of like that one depressing kid you just don’t invite to your party. He’ll bring you down and kill the mood. Peanuts is still great though… Now Calvin and Hobbes, I’ve actually been reading that since I was about 5 years old and it hasn’t stopped being funny.

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mygif

I remember, growing up, I never much loved Peanuts, partly, I think, because my comics page opened with Calvin & Hobbes (always and forever my favorite), which it tried to follow with by-then late era Peanuts. I just never appreciated it.

And then I found a book that collected early Peanuts strips, and I discovered I liked that material quite a lot.

I unfortunately have to dispute the two options thing, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt there and reading it as tongue planted firmly in cheek, mainly because I’m pretty sure you’re smarter than that argument.

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mygif

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mygif

Not all opinions are created equal. Particularly in regards to Peanuts.

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mygif

I found basically all of these hilarious. I also second the appreciation of the later Rerun strips. I have two where Rerun is drawing comics in class that I’ve kept ever since they came out in the mid 90s.

The first includes an exchange like this:

Rerun (after describing his Tarzan-versus-aliens-versus-other-stuff comic): “I’m into basement comics.”

Classmate: “You mean underground.”

Rerun: “Whatever.”

Then a second one where he’s standing in front of class talking about how the comic he drew is about a kid who is slowly an inexorably crushed by the educational system…and then defers to the teacher and shows his other one, about some bunnies.

(And Schulz also had an entire sequence where one of Linus’s favorite book series has its latest book banned from the school library. The book? “The six bunny wunnies freak out.”)

Yeah. I’m gonna have to go with the “something the fuck wrong with you” label for all of you who aren’t loving it. :)

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mygif

In my opinion, Peanuts is the second greatest comic strip ever (after Pogo and ahead of Calvin and Hobbes). I won’t reiterate what I said in that link, other than to note that Peanuts rewards thoughtfulness like no other gag-a-day strip in the history of the medium.

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mygif

I imagine that if you read the bio of any of your favorite comic artists, they all reference Shultz and Peanuts in a glowing fashion.

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mygif

Garfield minus Garfield does bleak better because most strips don’t bother beating you over the head with the all-too-obvious point of the strip in the last panel. ugh.

That baseball strip was awesome until the Buckleyesque “He got hit in the head. He is now strange.” explanation at the end.

In conclusion, Peanuts is bad. You are either bad for liking it or for pretending to like it to earn some form of indie cred. This is not up for discussion, unfortunately. These are your options. Sorry!

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mygif

I think objections against Peanuts are a product of expectations. Reading the comics is usually a lot like eating sugary cereal, inasmuch as they’re mostly light and they try for a laugh (although most fail miserably) Finding a piece of steak in your cereal is a disappointment. I respect the strips above, but they’re not light fare, nor are they all funny to me, although your personal mileage may vary.

I respect Peanuts. The collections are wonderful, but the strip often fell flat in the middle of the funnies page.

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mygif

There are no words for what Peanuts meant to pretty much any comic that came after it. Whoever said it was the Beatles of comics pretty well nailed it- it’s universally influential. Although I think my favorite tribute is still Charlie Brown being in the Danger Room in that one issue of Astonishing X-Men. :)

Also, I have the complete Calvin & Hobbes- the big 3-volume hardcover collection they did. It, in a word, rocks. I’d buy something similar for Pogo, actually. I shudder to think about how many volumes Peanuts would take, though. Dozens? I remember reading a lot of the 70’s strips as a kid from collections in the school library, and miss them, though.

Wow, that was disjointed. Anyway….Peanuts good, dissenters are morons.

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mygif

I was never a big fan of Peanuts until I found some of the recent ’50s rereleases in my high school library. But even then, while I admit it’s a great, funny strip, I think that Calvin and Hobbes is better. It’s true that most of what made Calvin and Hobbes did was already done in Peanuts, but I think that Calvin and Hobbes managed to compress all of that into one strip. Virtually every Peanut’s character has only one dimension, and one that I feel was explored much better in Calvin. Calvin has the surprisingly philosophical genius of Linus, the complete bastard-ity of latter-day Lucy, and the imagination of Snoopy, combined with a subversive look at commercialism and modern life in general.

Further, you’re posting some good examples of Peanuts work, but these are a very few good examples from a 20-year interval. Yes, Schulz was still doing good stuff, but there was also a lot of bad. Whereas Calvin had very few strips that weren’t really funny, even towards the end of the run.

Peanuts is one of the greatest comic strips of all time, certainly.

I just think Calvin & Hobbes is better.

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mygif

“There is just something the fuck wrong with you”? I’ll own that diagnosis!

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Evil Midnight Lurker said on September 24th, 2008 at 2:50 pm

My mother disliked Peanuts because she *hated Charles Schulz* for repeatedly claiming that World War 2 was the high point of his life. Make of that what you will.

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mygif

I share the opinion that Peanuts has always been insightful, intelligent, and witty… just not necessarily funny. I honestly can’t remember laughing out loud at anything Charlie Brown & Co. did since I was a kid. I do recognize its importance in the fabric of 20th Century pop culture, but I’ve always been more of a Calvin & Hobbes fan.

If you’ll excuse me, I see some off-topic comments I’m compelled to address.

joedistort said:
….people that call anything “speed metal” shouldnt ever talk about hard/heavy music. just trying to help you out for any future conversations.

And:
haha, thats understandable. but that term is what old people in the 80s used.

……

….

Ummm…. what? You should know that the metal community does recognize speed metal as a distinct sub genre with its own defined characteristics. And that, while not as popular now as it was in the 80’s, there are still several speed bands around today, many of them even springing up as recent as the 2000’s. Encyclopaedia Metallum (http://www.metal-archives.com/) lists over 1400 of them, including crossovers with power and thrash metal. Just trying to save you some embarrassment in future conversations mate.

Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_metal

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mygif

Test? Can’t seem to post comments.

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mygif

The comic store I work in got a whole bunch of those purty hardback collections of Peanuts. I think I shall buy them. All of them

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mygif

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Seconded.

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mygif

I don’t like Peanuts because it’s one giant continuous gun to the temple. This guy should have figured his life out rather than bringing everyone down.

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mygif

Amen, MGK. Peanuts was the first comic strip that I connected to as a kid– I remember reading a biography of Charles Schulz in the 3rd grade and being incredibly inspired to draw and to write. Even as a grade schooler Peanuts’ mix of the neurotic and quixotic resonated with me and as I’ve grown up, that resonance has only deepened.

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Thomas Wilde said on September 24th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

You don’t have to like “Peanuts”; you don’t have to like much of anything.

You’re a goddamned fool if you don’t respect it, though.

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mygif

Lister Sage,

I feel your pain. So did the artist. Charles Shultz dug deep into the pain of his soul and turned it into Peanuts. “All humor is born of pain. If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t funny.” I am not sure who Said that originally, but it is true. If you have ever watched Laurel and Hardy, few are as great an example of that as Oliver Hardy. The way he would step off a curb and fall into a bottomless puddle, then turn to the camera, look you right in the eye, and sigh.

Chin up! Remember, if you can’t laugh at yourself, … Make fun of other people!

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mygif

My introduction to Peanuts was a bunch of old paperback collections so old that they’d gone yellow at the edges. One or two had chips flaking off the edge of the pages. I have no idea of the year, but they were back from the era when Snoopy first came on the scene and was walking about on four legs. Loved them. I honestly read those things to pieces. But trying to get into the daily strips in the local paper was just too big a disconnect after that.

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mygif

John Seavey- the problem with retiring Peanuts is some fans aren’t ready to let go. The Washington Post runs comics polls to help decide what it’ll publish and Classic Peanuts has had multiple times the votes of many current comics.

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mygif

A lot has been said, two things I want to add.

1) Schultz’s artwork is deceptively simple. Try to draw Charlie Brown, it’s a lot harder than it looks.

2) No Schultz means no Kovalic. This would be a big hit to the geek community.

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mygif

Lately I’ve felt kind of jaded about Peanuts. I loved it as a kid, but the deluxe collections and everybody — and I do mean everybody — talking about how AMAZING it is have been turning me off it lately. Pure Hype Aversion: nothing to do with the work in itself, just a desire to quiet the shrieking voices in my ear saying “Love this or be deficient as a human being!”

I was reluctant to click on the “read more” link, but I’m glad I did. I’m glad to be reminded of why I loved the strip so much when I was younger. I don’t want to join the chorus of “omg BEST EVAR” because… well, I don’t like making comparisons between artworks like that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: art’s not a horse race. “Best” is meaningless. But “good” — hell, “great”? Yeah, I can join that chorus.

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mygif

Peanuts is subversive, melancholy, and funny in the ‘if you didn’t laugh at the world, you’d cry” vein that Schultz mined so well. Like many posting here, I remember laughing at Peanuts as a kid, or more accurately, feeling happy while reading along, but as an adult, feeling a little melancholy myself that I can’t quite recapture that same feeling now. This feeling is one of the experiences Schultz captured so well in Peanuts—a part of childhood which naturally “goes away” as we get older. Some people ignore that loss, others glaze over it with nostalgia, some forget it, but Schultz values the loss. Part of Schultz’ greatness is that he captured childlike wonder within an enduring and universal framework of sadness, joy, guilt, love, anger, and happiness, wrapped in a deceptively simple package that appealed to people, not just kids. It’s true that Bill Watterson captured the whimsy of strips like Peanuts in a way which appealed to a new generation, maybe better, maybe not, than others, but Schultz had a way of expressing the full range of human emotion and feelings in the dialog of children which rarely sounded forced or false.

While we are in the mood to think and talk about great cartoonists that laid the ground work for those that are popular today, we must remember another great Charles, Charles Addams, whose twisted panels, for a time, became a beloved part of Americana. Most people only know him from The Addams Family movies and television, but his cartoon collections are well worth buying, and much more macabre and subversive than his more “popular” work. Larson, Tim Burton, and many others owe and acknowledge a great debt to his work.

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mygif

Isn’t 1) just a subset of 2) ?

Mike.

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mygif

I don’t know why we don’t have a similar term to Mangaka, but we should and it would fit Schulz perfectly. Peanuts is the perfect comic strip, and whilst a strip like Calvin and Hobbes is ‘the Peanuts strip’ for that generation, it does not come close, as history will show, to capuring the iconic status of Schulz’s masterwork.

A repeated motif in Peanuts is Charlie Brown’s unshakeable belief in the goodness of the human race. Time after time he truely believes that Lucy will hold that ball in place, and time after time she pulls it away – and yet he never gives up believeing that she will change. It is the single greatest encapsulation of the doctrine of the triumph of hope over experiece in any literature. Peanuts should break your heart, or you don’t have one.

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mygif

I suppose I sort of come at the issue differently, but the fact that Peanuts often seemed out of place on the comics page always struck me as reflecting poorly on the comics page, rather than the reverse.

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mygif

I’ve put together a page of some of my favorite Peanuts strips here (in chronological order):
http://www.rebas.se/temp/peanuts.html

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mygif

I have to say my favorite parts of Peanuts were the fact that Patty had an inexplicably huge crush on Charlie Brown… and he never noticed.

And when he finally lost his shit at the Kite-Eating Tree and took a bite out of it–and then it turned out it was an endangered species and the EPA made him apologize to it. Not Schultz’s finest hour, but my personal favorite.

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mygif

bentarc- he noticed. He just didn’t know how to deal with it.

I remember one strip where Patty calls him and asks if he still loves her, the Marcie has Patty ask the same thing, then they show him, “I’m sorry, I’m not here right now, I’ve suddenly become a recording.”

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Tom Spurgeon said on September 26th, 2008 at 9:24 am

I really like that second drawing of Snoopy lying on Charlie Brown’s bed.

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mygif

This is post makes a good case for Peanuts but not necessarily the strongest one. It’s true that the strip goes above and beyond the well-worn medium in its unexpected detours into philosophy and heartbreak, but it’s not always this heavy and eggheaded (sorry! I don’t mean that in a completely negative way).

For me some of the funniest Peanuts moments are about how children can be so cruel … Great examples in Martin’s page above, thanks for posting.

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mygif

Something else: I just remembered that at a certain point Peanuts just seemed too preoccupied with Snoopy-is-cute gags … not a fan of that aspect of Peanuts, even if it did appeal to a lot of people

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mygif

Well, I will say this much: while I agree that his peak lasted a lot longer than some of the doubters claim, the syndicate and his estate put me off in choosing to reprint starting from the milder, later-peak stuff (early 70s on), deliberately skipping over the period of increased weirdness of the mid (or so) 60s (Snoopy’s helicopter ears, anyone?). But that’s just because they’re snubbing my favourite Peanuts era.
(Followed by the super early everyone-looks-different era and lastly the currently being rerun 70s stuff that was coming out when I was a kid. For some reason I developed more affection for the stuff I read in paperbacks when I was home sick from school over the stuff appearing new in the paper.)

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mygif

I remember laughing until I couldn’t breathe over this early strip:

Linus reaches under a table and bumps his head. He writhes in pain; he screams and holds his head. Then Lucy arrives and asks one question after another: are you bleeding? Do you need a doctor? Do you want to go the hospital? What happened? Finally, Linus screams at her, “I bumped my head.” Lucy responds, “What a crab!”

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mygif

So many just don’t get it. They don’t have to find it funny, but one has to at least acknowledge Schultz’s strips inspired so many other cartoonists. It’s clearly there, if one looks. YOU ARE PREACHING THE GOSPEL ON THIS ONE. Thanks

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