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Exploring Nature

Few comic strips have had the cultural impact of “Peanuts,” drawn by Charles M. Schulz. Above, “Peanuts” appears in the Sunday, Jan. 11, 1998 edition of the San Marcos Daily Record. Photo by Celeste Cook

Exploring Nature

Exploring Nature: Peanuts

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Let us depart from topics of nature and consider something that has given me a great deal of enjoyment — newspaper comic strips.

Down through the years, I have perused lots of different strips, ranging from Major Hoople and the Katzenjammer Kids to Mary Worth and Gasoline Alley; all long gone. Also departed and sorely missed are Pogo, Smiling Jack and the Phantom.

But one comic seems to go on forever. I refer to “Peanuts,” a feature which first appeared under that name in November 1950, in seven newspapers. It eventually inspired television specials and would run in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries in over 25 languages.

Creator of the strip was Charles Monroe Schulz, born in 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He sold his first cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post and his first newspaper strip was “Li’l Folks,” which started in 1947 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Schulz served as the leader of a light machine gun squad in Europe during World War II and was discharged from the Army as a staff sergeant in 1946.

After receiving a colon cancer diagnosis in December 1999, he decided he would stop drawing new Peanuts cartoons. He died in February 2000, the night before his final Sunday strip was published.

His children decided they did not want anyone else to draw Peanuts after his death. So all the strips since then have been reruns.

Today, there is a Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California, dedicated to his work. It opened in 2022, two years after his death.

One of the artist’s final sayings seems quite appropriate to remember him by: “There is no problem so big that it can’t be run away from.”

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666