Charles Schulz, nicknamed Sparky, is famous for his comic strip, Peanuts. The Peanuts comics ran in more than 2,000 newspapers and were reproduced in multiple languages.
One of the Peanuts characters is a beagle who belongs to Charlie Brown named Snoopy. Schulz changed and improved his Peanuts characters through the years.
Snoopy is no regular dog. He daydreams of being a World War I fighter pilot, works on novel writing, has a bird for a friend, and sleeps on top of his doghouse.
Our artwork of the week is a poster of Snoopy by Charles Schulz.
How to Draw Snoopy, short from the Peanuts movie (1:33 min.)
Charles Schulz knew when he was young that he wanted to be a cartoonist. He would read the Sunday funny papers with his father every week.
Peanuts was first published in newspapers in 1950 when Schulz was 27. He wanted to call it “Li’l Folk” or “Good Ol’ Charlie Brown” but the newspaper editor changed it to “Peanuts.” Schulz never liked that name because he said it was too random and didn’t fit the strip.
After Peanuts became universally popular, a television special was produced featuring the characters. The first of many Peanuts specials was A Charlie Brown Christmas, which premiered in 1965. The show has run every Christmas season since then.
This year's airing of the special marked its 50th year. The U.S. Postal Service issued stamps to commemorate the anniversary.
Sparky’s pen, short from the Peanuts movie (1:17 min.)
Charles Schulz created nearly 18,000 Peanuts strips. Schulz’s Peanuts comics are considered to be some of the best written and most influential ever created. They were admired for the depth of emotion shown by the characters.
Schulz received many awards for his cartoon including ones from the National Cartoonist Society, Emmy Awards for the TV specials, and a Congressional Gold Medal.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has featured Charlie Brown and Snoopy balloons for many years. Books, movies, and two musicals have been produced with the Peanuts characters.
A new computer animated Peanuts movies was released in theaters this year on November 6th. This date coincides with the 65th anniversary of the first publication of the Peanuts comic strip. The comic strip and the merchandise and productions that resulted from it earned Schulz more than $1 billion.
Due to cancer, Schulz announced his retirement in December 1999. He died in his sleep in February 12, 2000, one day before his last original Peanuts strip was to appear in newspapers.
This last Peanuts comic strip was three panels in length and began with Charlie Brown answering the phone with someone on the other end asking for Snoopy. Charlie Brown says, ‘No, I think he’s writing.” The next panel shows Snoopy typing a letter on his typewriter that begins, “Dear Friends”. The final large panel displays drawings from past Peanuts strips with a note from Schulz to his fans. it reads:
Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish "Peanuts" to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement. I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy... how can I ever forget them...
— Charles M. Schulz
Following Schulz’s death, many other cartoonists paid tribute to Schulz through their own comics.
YouTube video - Schulz's Death, CNN News (1:41 min.)
Legacy of Charles Schulz, short from the Peanuts Movie (1:31 min.)
Charles Schulz admired the environmental artworks of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. He paid tribute to the artists in a 1978 Peanuts comic strip. Twenty-five years later, Christo returned the compliment by creating Wrapped Snoopy House. He presented the life-sized, wrapped doghouse to Schulz’s wife, Jean, for displaying in a museum dedicated to Charles Schulz’s work.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is dedicated to preserving and displaying the art of Charles Schulz.
The Great Hall of the museum contains two artworks by Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani. One is a large wood relief sculpture showing Snoopy through the years, called Morphing Snoopy.
Photo(s) by (photographers listed below) courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center Photos in museum by D. J. Ashton Great Hall with tiled wall
The other is a large mural over 17 X 22 feet large.
The mural is made up of 3,588 Peanuts strips that combine to show a picture of Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown to kick.
Close-up of mural in the museum's Great Hall
The comic strip images are printed on 2 X 8 inch ceramic tiles.
Original Peanuts comic strips can be viewed in the Strip Rotation Gallery of the museum. An ice rink, Snoopy's Home Ice, is also part of the museum complex. The Charles Schulz Museum is located in Santa Rosa, California.
YouTube Video - Charles M. Schulz Museum (:30 sec.)
FRIDAY - Comics
Comic strip from the early 1900's
Comic strips became popular with the publishing of daily newspapers.
In 1934, comic books began being printed. In the 1930’s and 40’s, superhero comics became popular. Television’s invention caused comic book sales to decline, and then in the sixties the superhero comics made a comeback.
Manga has also been popular. Manga is the Japanese word for “comic” but in the U.S. it is used to refer to Japanese style comics. Manga is read from top to bottom and right to left, just as traditional Japanese reading is done.
Graphic novels are books that use comics to tell the story. The word “novel” usually means a long, fictional story, but graphic novels can be fiction or nonfiction. The library has many graphic novels that are nonfiction.
Comics have been popular for a long time. The successful ones have well-developed characters and stories. The Peanuts comics by Charles Schulz are among the most admired of all time.
YouTube video - Superhero coomic Artist: behinid the scenes (4:06 min.)