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Charlie Brown: Over 50, still youngPosted Wednesday, November 28, 2007, at 8:25 AM
Is it time for Charlie Brown to retire?
The bald little guy's been making his rounds for over 50 years.
But he's in reruns.
Look very closely at the Peanuts 'toons on Sunday and you'll see (C) 1960. That's right. The cartoon syndicate's rerunning the Sunday strips from 47 years ago. And the daily strips are from 1994.
Some editors have thought that Charles Schultz's cartoon is taking up space that could be used by other cartoonists awaiting their big break. Popularity speaks, though, and newspapers are in business to attract readers. Peanuts does just that.
I'd agree that Peanuts is timeless, just like Lucille Ball, Andy Griffith, Elvis or the Beav. And I've seen some of the old Pogo strips by Walt Kelly recently and was impressed. They contained some biting political commentary for their time.
We've had a few new, quirky strips in the past 20 years or so. I'm glad Bloom County's back once a week, and still miss my daily dose of The Far Side.
Zits covers the teen crowd well and may be my favorite in terms of innovation and fresh ideas. I watch For Better or For Worse primarily just to see how long cartoonist Lynn Johnston will keep the ailing grandpa alive and if he'll speak again (you know what I'm talking about if you read it). It's been good in the past, although the poorly-drawn retro version running much of the time now's a little tedious.
I hope Charlie Brown and Peanuts stay around. There are years' worth of older Peanuts strips I haven't seen, so they're new to me and mostly still relevant to today.
But somewhere out there is a great, undiscovered cartoonist just waiting to chronicle today's life from a new point of view. Let's hope that person emerges and gets a chance to shine, too.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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