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(Salon)   "Peanuts" and the death of comics: Why the 60th anniversary of Charlie Brown and company is a gloomy reminder that no comic strip will ever be as beloved or as important   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Bill Watterson, Charles Schulz, comics artist, op-ed, cartoonists, anthologies, Calvinball, comics  
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2385 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 05 Jan 2011 at 4:53 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-01-05 04:25:02 PM  

Rev.K: If anyone posts the picture of Hobbes in the trashcan, I will curl up in the fetal position and cry.


During high school, one of my classmates was really good at imitating Waterson's art, and made this one comic that I wish someone had saved/put on the internet. It basically went like so:

(girl who looks like Suzy but blonde is digging through boxes in an attic for one frame)
(in the next frame Hobbes pops up from the box and she jumps back, scared)
Hobbes: That was way longer than five minutes! Who are you?
Girl: I'm ____ (I forget the name)
Hobbes: Oh, phew, I thought you'd transmorgified yourself into a girl.
(enter guy who looks like Calvin's dad but blonde; Hobbes is drawn as a stuffed animal during this scene)
Dad: Did you find your baby pictures yet? Oh hey, my old tiger!
Girl: He was yours?
Dad: Sure was. We had lots of adventures.
Girl: What kind?
Dad: Oh... really... tame, normal things that were legal.
Girl: Wow! Can I keep him?
Dad: Tell you what, I'll throw him in the wash, and then you can keep him. Head on downstairs, I'll be right behind you.
Girl: Yay! (girl leaves excitedly)
(Hobbes is drawn animated again)
Hobbes: Legal?
Calvin: If you even MENTION the word Noodle to her...

It was corny, but it was a great anecdote to all the "Calvin and Hobbes are sad and separated as adults" comics I've seen.
 
2011-01-05 04:39:39 PM  

DarnoKonrad: xkcd


imgs.xkcd.com.

mahuika: During high school, one of my classmates was really good at imitating Waterson's art, and made this one comic that I wish someone had saved/put on the internet.


lci.typepad.com

 
2011-01-05 04:52:39 PM  

abb3w: mahuika: During high school, one of my classmates was really good at imitating Waterson's art, and made this one comic that I wish someone had saved/put on the internet.

[macro]


That's so funny! I hadn't seen that. But not the same guy, I think.
 
2011-01-05 04:58:46 PM  

mahuika: But it's impossible to compare them on their ability to be recognized, because how much of Peanuts' popularity stems from the comic alon, and how much came later with the TV specials and series? I'm not saying that those need to be totally separated, but the reason anyone under 30 in your 2 to 98 grouping knows who Snoopy is has nothing to do with the newspaper comics.

And I remember growing up with C&H. It was the only reason I read newspaper comics at the time, and I know tons of people who are definitely in my boat.

They're both beloved.


Not only that, but Watterson deliberately avoided the kind of metathesizing whoring it would take to make Calvin a familiar face to non-comic readers the way that Charlie Brown is.

That says nothing about which is better-loved. Just that which is more familiar.

And either way, every time I opened the comics page... what I wanted more than anything in the world was to see Charlie Brown beat the ever-loving shiat out of Lucy Van Pelt. I wanted to see him get medieval on her ass - I wanted to see her lose teeth. And this was when I was like 9.

So while Schultz may have not gotten my undying love compared to Calvin and Hobbes, he did manage to cultivate utter loathing for a character. That's something.
 
2011-01-05 05:02:13 PM  
except calvin & hobbes.
 
2011-01-05 05:04:04 PM  

sweetmelissa31: Gotta love Mallard Fillmore.


owall.net
 
2011-01-05 05:04:48 PM  
abb3w: lci.typepad.com

damn, did it just get dusty in here, or is it just me?
 
2011-01-05 05:08:03 PM  

russlar: abb3w:

damn, did it just get dusty in here, or is it just me?


Not just you. I'm just gonna go wash my face.
 
2011-01-05 05:08:14 PM  
Peanuts blew--always wanted to kick Lucy in the head. That lying harpie was always the biggest biatch. Charlie was a wimp, Sally was a whiner, Linus was stupid, and Sally was messed up.

Schroeder, Snoopy & Big Bird were OK.


Calvin & Hobbes
Far Side
Bloom County
 
2011-01-05 05:08:54 PM  

mahuika: During high school, one of my classmates was really good at imitating Waterson's art, and made this one comic that I wish someone had saved/put on the internet. It basically went like so:


Damn. Try facebooking that guy and ask him if he still has it.
 
2011-01-05 05:09:52 PM  

quoinguy: Schroeder, Snoopy & Big Bird Woodstock were OK.


FTFY
 
2011-01-05 05:12:04 PM  

quoinguy: Peanuts blew--always wanted to kick Lucy in the head. That lying harpie was always the biggest biatch. Charlie was a wimp, Sally was a whiner, Linus was stupid, and Sally was messed up.

Schroeder, Snoopy & Big Bird were OK.


Calvin & Hobbes
Far Side
Bloom County


Sorry--meant Marcie was messed up.

/Big Bird was a joke--guess it fell flat.
 
2011-01-05 05:12:34 PM  
I am a big fan of comic strip (draw some in my spare time) and Peanuts is a huge influence of mine.

In my opinion C&H's influence is far greater

/what do I know my strips suck.
 
2011-01-05 05:13:33 PM  
Did anyone mention Calvin and Hobbes?

/currently, Pearls Before Swine is the best, but it can be hit or miss.
 
2011-01-05 05:17:02 PM  

alaric3: But I doubt any comic is as "beloved" as Calvin & Hobbes.


Except The Far Side.
 
2011-01-05 05:17:48 PM  

Supes: /currently, Pearls Before Swine is the best, but it can be hit or miss.


Pearls has been getting worse for a few years now. Get Fuzzy, Non Sequetir, and Dustin are my current favorites along with Pearls
 
2011-01-05 05:18:49 PM  
I prefer Rex Morgan M.D.

media.hamptonroads.com

Classic.
 
2011-01-05 05:20:13 PM  
This weekend marks the 60th anniversary of "Peanuts," which debuted Oct. 2, 1950.

Did it just get three months earlier in here?
 
2011-01-05 05:23:32 PM  
Speaking as someone who has read (and thoroughly enjoyed) The Complete Calvin & Hobbes and The Complete Far Side, I have to say that Peanuts is the gold standard in my book. I don't say that from a place of nostalgia; I say that because I enjoy all the philosophical and existential reflections and musings that Schulz brought to a lighthearted and deceptively simple strip.

Even when Rerun and Spike appeared more frequently in the strip's latter days (perhaps a movement that reflects feelings of isolationism and/or an ever-changing world), I still got a kick out of it... and appreciated how he tried to change things up.

In Bill Watterson's own words: "I was not always enthusiastic about Schulz's later choices, but it says something for Schulz that he resisted the simple, robotic repetition of a successful formula. In this, too, Peanuts was unlike most other comic strips."

So... there is that.

But as I said, nothing but love for all three of the above mentioned comic strips. My reasons for enjoying Peanuts are different from my reasons for enjoying Calvin & Hobbes WHICH IN TURN are different from my reasons for enjoying The Far Side, but they're all top-notch to me.

Or as mahuika said of Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes: "They're both beloved."

Granted, I'd expand mahuika's earlier post to say that "all three are beloved" by factoring in The Far Side, but you get my point.
 
2011-01-05 05:24:20 PM  
TFA ...because even if there were somebody out there doing early Schulz-quality work, who would know about it? I mean, besides die-hards who consciously go spelunking for good new strips online and spread the word when they find something? Seriously, does anyone even do that?

Meanwhile, Penny Arcade's charity just raised 2.2 million dollars for children's hospitals. It wasn't one guy who donated that, Mr. What?-There-Are-Comics-On-The-Internet-now? guy.
 
2011-01-05 05:39:11 PM  
Having re-read all of the Peanuts strips (they've been coming out in books with 10 year intervals and my library has them), I'm really seeing how much Watterson was influenced by Peanuts. I know he said he was (Watterson, that is) but I was surprised to find similar interactions between Charlie Brown and Lucy and Calvin and Susie Derkins and also Linus making strange snowmen/snow sculptures.

And I'm totally showing my age but I love Peanuts, especially the ones from the 70's.

/did you know that not only did Charles Shulz draw ALL of the Peanuts, without help, but he also hand drew the farking BOXES he drew them in, over 10,000 strips by himself.
//get off my lawn
 
2011-01-05 05:41:54 PM  
Almost everyone is dead, Charlie Brown!
farm6.static.flickr.com
 
2011-01-05 05:42:36 PM  
How could they forget about Calvin & Hobbes?!
 
2011-01-05 05:46:46 PM  
Can't forget the laugh riot that is Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft (new window)
 
2011-01-05 05:46:52 PM  
www.joeydevilla.com
 
2011-01-05 05:50:03 PM  

RocketRod: alaric3: Except Calvin & Hobbes

Jmast7: Except Calvin & Hobbes

I Said: Except Calvin & Hobbes

mahuika: /Except Calvin and Hobbes

kingoomieiii: I'd like to point out Hobbes & Calvin

/and Beth and Kent, his parents

Earguy: Except Calvin and Hobbes. And Far Side.

/Peanuts sucked for at least the final ten years, maybe more.

oldfarthenry: Also: Calvin & Hobbes

Without Peanuts's stewardship to keeping the daily strip classy, C&H would have no relevance to you whippersnappers. And I never saw Snoopy pee on a Ford/Chevy/etc. logo.

/good grief


um no, Peanuts wasn't the greatest thing in the world. in fact, w/o Peanuts, the world would be just as it is. an even bigger influence on Calvin and Hobbes and most comic strip illustrators in all of history might be Winsor Mccay's Little Nemo strip. the quality of the panel story telling and the art has yet to be matched by pretty much anyone. And that was in 1905.
 
2011-01-05 05:50:05 PM  
TallyGirl: Having re-read all of the Peanuts strips (they've been coming out in books with 10 year intervals and my library has them), I'm really seeing how much Watterson was influenced by Peanuts. I know he said he was (Watterson, that is) but I was surprised to find similar interactions between Charlie Brown and Lucy and Calvin and Susie Derkins and also Linus making strange snowmen/snow sculptures.

*nods*

Oh yeah. The influence is definitely there.

If you flip to the back cover of a few of those Complete Peanuts books, Bill Watterson acknowledges the importance of Peanuts to his career: "Charles Schulz's work introduced me to what a comic strip could be, and made me want to be a cartoonist myself."

For a more in-depth look at Bill Watterson's take on Peanuts, you might want to take a look at his very own book review of David Michaelis' Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography. (pops)


And I'm totally showing my age but I love Peanuts, especially the ones from the 70's.

Heh, I haven't even hit my 30's yet, and I love the hell out of them... especially the ones from the 1970's.

I've been making my way through the 1977-1978 edition as we speak.
 
2011-01-05 05:53:32 PM  
I kind of liked Peanuts when I was a kid - for about the first dozen strips I read. I'd bought a few collections at a yard sale and very quickly regretted it. The same gags just got used over and over again. Lucy pulling away the football is the most well known example but I'd guess that throughout 50 years worth of the strip that you'd find no more than a few dozen unique gags.

IMO rerunning those strips that at best are a couple of decades beyond their sell-by date now is the second worst thing in the comics pages. The worst thing is Six Chix...
 
2011-01-05 05:57:50 PM  
sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

/I was a very good boy and got this for Christmas
 
2011-01-05 06:03:14 PM  
Grand_Theft_Audio: sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

/I was a very good boy and got this for Christmas


NICE.

That and The Complete Far Side require a reinforced shelf, lemmetellya.
 
2011-01-05 06:05:12 PM  
Calvin and Hobbes. Yes all the other comics mentioned, and unmentioned, have their shining moments, but overall enjoyment - C&H
 
2011-01-05 06:08:13 PM  
Calvin and Hobbes was the best comic ever created and is the most beloved. I've read many, many comic strips and it's just not possible to be better than C&H.

Far Side: Second best, simply because you couldn't love the characters.
 
2011-01-05 06:13:22 PM  

Toshiro Mifune's Letter Opener: Grand_Theft_Audio: sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

/I was a very good boy and got this for Christmas

NICE.

That and The Complete Far Side require a reinforced shelf, lemmetellya.


Agreed, avoiding a hernia trying to dig it out from under the tree was a feat.
 
2011-01-05 06:15:49 PM  
Except Calvin & Hobbes


I really like foxtrot as well, but not as much as Calvin and Hobbes. I could never really get into Peanuts
 
2011-01-05 06:17:48 PM  
Grand_Theft_Audio: Agreed, avoiding a hernia trying to dig it out from under the tree was a feat.

The publishers are missing out on a goldmine by not selling them with mini-forklifts.
 
2011-01-05 06:20:45 PM  
No love for FoxTrot?
 
2011-01-05 06:21:06 PM  

Toshiro Mifune's Letter Opener: Grand_Theft_Audio: Agreed, avoiding a hernia trying to dig it out from under the tree was a feat.

The publishers are missing out on a goldmine by not selling them with mini-forklifts.


That sounds like a Far Side panel in the making.
 
2011-01-05 06:21:49 PM  
good_2_go: No love for FoxTrot?

FoxTrot is pretty damn good. It's no equal to Calvin & Hobbes, but it's a worthy successor, even if it's only in Sunday papers these days.
 
2011-01-05 06:22:19 PM  

Earguy: /Peanuts sucked for at least the final ten years, maybe more.


It was never good in my memory (which starts around 1982).

Bloom County, Far Side and C&H? Hell yeah!
 
2011-01-05 06:22:32 PM  
Gunny Highway: That sounds like a Far Side panel in the making.

Heh, I'm *always* thinking that Gary Larson is welcome to roll out a few more...
 
2011-01-05 06:22:36 PM  

russlar: abb3w:

damn, did it just get dusty in here, or is it just me?


My kids have some of the toys I did, including stuffed animals, so I always get a big kick out of that picture.
 
2011-01-05 06:23:22 PM  
Does not agree with you Subby
i586.photobucket.com
and he will make you pay
www.examiner.com
 
2011-01-05 06:26:02 PM  
Despite the outer appearance, no other comic has been able to fit so much emotion (and sadness) in three frames...
 
2011-01-05 06:26:29 PM  
This times eleventy. And by "this" I mean "except Calvin and Hobbes."

Jim from Saint Paul: [pic]


Oh, man. Is that a legit strip? That was so painful I think it hurt my soul.
 
2011-01-05 06:26:53 PM  
Once I read the article about Schultz and how the characters in Peanuts represented his emotions and his relationships with love interests, the comic became very depressing to read after a while.

/also, Fox Trot ruled, but also went the way of C&H so it wouldn't become another Garfield.
//???
 
2011-01-05 06:31:14 PM  
Whenever I see Family Circus, Garfield,or Peanuts I think of the TV Funhouse sketch "Inside the Disney Vault" where the girl looks at Mickey Mouse and says "you're supposed to be funny?" because the characters are more brands now than anything.
/Was and still am a Far Side fan since about the age of 3. Loved that it challenged me to find out what stuff like an amoeba was at that age.
 
2011-01-05 06:32:36 PM  
my gf goes to school with his grand daughter and she's a horrible artist

/screen prints with cow's blood
//takes pictures of abandoned buildings
///mentions him every chance she gets
////art school slashies
 
2011-01-05 06:34:21 PM  

Toshiro Mifune's Letter Opener:
Granted, I'd expand mahuika's earlier post to say that "all three are beloved" by factoring in The Far Side, but you get my point.


Well said, and thank you sir.
 
2011-01-05 06:34:22 PM  

good_2_go: No love for FoxTrot?


www.math.hope.edu

www.bobafettfanclub.com

blogs.setonhill.edu

www.comp.nus.edu.sg

transamrit.net

blogs.cornell.edu

comics.ganneff.de
 
2011-01-05 06:34:55 PM  

pickledick: my gf goes to school with his grand daughter and she's a horrible artist

/screen prints with cow's blood
//takes pictures of abandoned buildings
///mentions him every chance she gets
////art school slashies


uhh shoulda said I'm talkin bout charles schulz's grand daughter
 
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