I have a firm love of the Peanuts
comic strips. Perhaps I appreciate the humour, the writing, the drawings or the characters? Or perhaps Peanuts
is one of those rare forms of literature which takes on a life of its own in its readers. That becomes organic as the worlds of Sherlock Holmes
; The Lord of the Rings
; The Chronicles of Narnia
; the modern day Marvel
superheroes; Doctor Who
and Star Wars
The artistry and writing of Schulz is astonishing. He delivers often sarcastic and deadpan humour with great wit. And it is a humour that is not limited to word use, often defined by the presence of a visual gag. But perhaps what is more important is that the humour, in all its forms, is active and living. The humour despite being decades old is still powerful today.
The characters are iconic. Who could forget Charlie Brown, the boy who tries his hardest to be liked and yet fails at all the things he does. What about Linus, as the boy with the blanket. There's Lucy the crabby girl who runs a psychiatry or doctor booth and bosses all the characters around. How about Peppermint Patty, Pig Pen, Rerun, Sally Brown, Schroeder or Woodstock? And we cannot forget one of the most lovable characters in Snoopy, whose relationship with Charlie Brown is intriguing and enigmatic.
There have been many other great comic strips that I have appreciated. From Garfield
to Calvin and Hobbes
for instance. However Peanuts
of all of them is perhaps one of the great and most important as the musings of its characters inform us about the world we live in from a child's perspective. I think that part of the genius of Schulz' work is his ability to capture how children think and pen it all down. In many ways Peanuts
is a satire in the type of Oscar Wilde or Anton Chekhov through the more modernised art form of the comic strip panel.Peanuts
may not always be polished but it always has something to say. And while not every joke may be memorable the ideas are. As an aside apparently the name comes from the idea of the peanut gallery - the group of people who criticise someone in a drama or theatre by pointing out something that is often insignificant. Which is precisely what Peanuts
does in a fun way.