"TELL TALE COMIC STRIP BALLOONS"
Art by Bob Clarke
Words by Don Edwing
MAD Magazine #160 (July 1973)
Original Peanuts Sunday strip by Charles Schulz, originally published by United Features Syndicate, April 3, 1955.
The Melancholy Tale of Charlie Brown and Violet Gray
Anybody who knows Peanuts knows that Charlie Brown is forever pining after the Little Redhead Girl, an unseen character who he never works up the courage to speak with. The earliest years of the strip, however, featured Charlie Brown in an on-again, off-again relationship with another character - a girl named Violet, who was the first major addition to the initial cast after the strip’s start. 1953 would give her the surname Gray, a move I can only assume was intended to underscore a parallel between her and Charlie Brown by giving them both color-related last names. (Mind you, it’s only ever mentioned once, but feels significant to me in light of very few recurring characters in Peanuts actually having surnames.)
Throughout the rest of the 1950s, the two became less and less friendly. I can’t imagine there was any kind of real continuity intended by Schulz, but reading the strips in The Complete Peanuts in sequence as I have been, it becomes painfully apparent that Charlie Brown becomes more desperate to have Violet’s approval - to have her as a friend - as time wore on. In a vacuum, you wouldn’t really think anything of the individual strips, but looking for whenever the series came back to just the two of them… you feel like you’re seeing their relations fall apart piece by piece, like a seaside cliff as it is slowly eroded by the waves of the pounding surf. It might be one of the most subtly depressing things I’ve seen in comic strips.
(The pink panels come from separate strips - in chronological order, IIRC, but I didn’t think to save the dates - while the purple ones are a complete strip from 1952.)
They’re playing our song…
CHARLES M. SCHULZ :
"CHARLIE BROWN" - SERGE GAINSBOURG (1970)
Charlie Brown est une chanson écrite et interprétée par Serge Gainsbourg en 1970. C’est la bande originale française du film « Un petit garçon nommé Charlie Brown ». Il y raconte les déboires d’un garçon qui ne parvient pas à s’intégrer à la société car il ne correspond pas aux standards.
Peanuts Ramblings, Part Two
So Looked up the books I was talking about and I think this is the set I had, pretty sure. It looks like it came out well before I was born so my mom might have gotten it used.
When I look at my life right now and how happy I am, with the travel and writing and the wonderful readers and collaborators I have in comics, I can trace it right back to this little boxed set of books that first fired my imagination, first made me love comics, and first showed me how dark humor could be.
I can say without hesitation that I wouldn’t be writing comics if I hadn’t been given this as a child.
Parents. Honest to god. Buy your kids books.
Video games, electronics, all that stuff is wonderful. But books. Books are the thing, books are still the free ticket to Narnia and Oz and Gotham and Wonderland. Kindles are great.
Books are the thing.
theimancameron said: Hey Gail, who's your favourite member of the Peanuts gang?
I always thought the funniest character (after Snoopy) was Sally.
But Snoopy, I’m telling you…I love him.
Here’s the thing, I was born on a remote farm in the boonies. My father didn’t care about books very much and we were pretty poor. But as a kid, I was given (I don’t remember by whom), this beautiful boxed set of small Peanuts hardcover books. It was a nice set for kids, just the strips in black and white. But I thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen and I treasured those books like nothing else I’d ever been given. I read them every day.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading, the gorgeous cartooning, the depth of the characters (and honest, some of those strips are DARK), I just loved them, and because they were sequential, it was some of my first real extended comics storytelling. They were just incredibly important to me and they fired my imagination and love for comics even before the comic books I would discover later.
I would read them when I was down, read them on rainy days, I never, ever got tired of them. Later, someone sold them at a garage sale without asking me and I was just heartbroken.
But I was hooked, I never stopped loving Charles Schulz and Peanuts. I still buy the Fantagraphics collections (which are amazing) and other works. Years later, we would go to Schulz’ beautiful ice skating rink in Santa Rosa, which I fell in love with, I thought i was in heaven. The little diner where you could get hot chocolate was called HAPPINESS IS A WARM PUPPY.
My husband and I moved to Santa Rosa briefly and we actually saw Charles Schulz at a park one day, and I was way too terrified to go speak to him. This was before I wrote comics myself.
People often comment about how I put humor in grim situations in my comics. I am sure they think it comes from reading Grant Morrison or someone like that. Alan Moore or Warren Ellis, maybe.
No, it came from the best there ever was…Charles Schulz.
1st teaser of Peanuts CG animated feature film by Blue Sky Studio (Ice Age).