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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

Charlie Brown: Over 50, still young

Posted 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.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I love the Peanuts gang & am so glad that the papers continue to run the strips.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Mon, Dec 3, 2007, at 12:41 PM

I love the Peanuts gang & am so glad that the papers continue to run the strips.

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Mon, Dec 3, 2007, at 12:42 PM

Maybe there could be a special section for classic strips that are in re-runs like Pogo and Peanuts.

New strips would compete with one another in the regular section.

(I'm not sure how to handle current versions of old series like Annie,Dick Tracy,Brenda Starr,Apartment 3-G,Mary Worth,etc.)

Priscilla's Pop,Captain Easy,Eek & Meek,Bringing Up Father and Miss Peach might be forgotten one day but Peanuts is too familiar and has too timeless and universal appeal to fade out of the public consciousness.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 11:32 PM

Priscilla's Pop, Captain Easy, etc...You must have read Times-Gazettes of the 1950s and 60s or at least have seen old issues.

Most of those wouldn't work in today's society but it's interesting to get an admittedly innocent view of those days from those strips.

I find it interesting that "Nancy" and the child characters in that cartoon look retro as ever while Aunt Fritzi's been brought into the 21st century.

-- Posted by David Melson on Wed, Dec 5, 2007, at 9:50 AM

I've been around long enough to have made a nuisance of myself when Nancy got to wear pants-and so did Mary Worth!

But I don't feel old until I notice that characters of the 'new' comics like Doonesbury,For Better or Worse,Arlo & Janis,etc. have grown kids that I remember being born-and they didn't age overnight either!

Nancy's aunt,Fritzi Ritz,was forgotten for a while until the times reverted and she could take advantage of the revival to be timely again.

The Nancy strip tried to evolve past what seemed to be stale and outdated but found that readers liked the very quaint ,simple and contradictory elements of the strip that the bosses thought to change.

"Good Girl Art",urchins from the Bowery,boisterous fat girls with funny hair,timeless gags a toddler could understand and a few digs at modern culture...

Like Paul Dini's homage to the super-heroes of the Gold and Silver Age,the best of the current comics know what of the old motifs attract comic fans and what parts of the era of Chester Gould,Walt Kelly,Ernie Bushmiller,Alex Raymond et al need to remain in the past.

I wonder what the next generation will learn from our Frank & Earnest,Big Nate,Garfield,Sally Forth,Calvin & Hobbes,etc. compared to what we see of the past reading Terry and the Pirates,the Katzenjammer Kids,Wee Pals or Lil' Abner.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Dec 5, 2007, at 4:47 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.