Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Comic Strip

This was easily the most nostalgic week because, like most of America, grew up always excited to read the comics in the Sunday newspaper. The pull out section of comics was like the main attraction of the entire paper. The panels were so colorful and there was such a wide range of fun characters and stories to choose from. One of my favorites growing up was Charles Shulz' Peanuts. Part of this was because I also grew up with all the Peanuts holiday specials and cartoons but a lot of my love for the characters came from the comic strips and the small truths they had to share. When you read a lot of Peanuts comics at once, you quickly realize that most of them are not intended to be all that funny. Sure a lot of them end with a traditional punch line, and you can always count of Snoopy for comic relief, but a lot of the time it's just a bunch of kids trying to deal with life's ups and downs. Charlie Brown is an average kid who always gets the short end of the stick. He tends to give things his all only to have mediocre results. Because of his experiences he has plenty of sad observations about the world that tend  to hit a little close to home as a reader. It's clear that the Peanuts comics were a vehicle for Charles Schulz to share some of personal philosophies with the world. Even though the target audience for these comics were children, Schulz trusted that kids would be able to handle characters dealing with realistic everyday problems. The world isn't always perfect and even children understand that and I think that's a major quality of Peanuts and why it has remained so popular.

While Charlie Brown may never be a star pitcher or a straight A student, there is one thing in his life he can always count on: his friends. Peanuts celebrates the importance of friendship and how necessary it is to have someone who can pick you up when life gets you down. All the characters have best pals that are never far from their side. For Charlie it's the quiet young philosopher Linus. Snoopy and Woodstock are constantly having adventures with each other and you rarely see Peppermint Patty without Marcy by her side. These strong friendships quickly build the world of Peanuts into something much deeper than a silly newspaper comic strip. These are characters with full lives and relationships and it has a relatable appeal that has kept the characters relevant to this day.

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