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Thread: Peanuts and My Writing

  1. #1

    Peanuts and My Writing

    Reposted from my Tumblr...

    The first COMICS I ever read that made me want to draw and write (suck at the first, jury is still out on the second), was a bound set of early Peanuts comic strips in a little boxed set. I read those almost til the covers came off. If you read those early stories, what you find is a depth far beyond what was expected in a simple kid’s gag strip.

    First, the art was almost abstract for the time, if you look at, say, Charlie Brown, that is a completely weird design, his head is the size of his body. That was not common stuff back then, and very innovative. I had a feeling, even as a very little girl, that Schulz had invented his own reality, similar to, say, Picasso or Dali. He found a world that no one else had discovered and conveyed it in such a way that he really HAD no competition, not for decades.

    Beyond that, I still think a lot of what Peanuts is about has never been handled as well in almost any medium. Peanuts is about deep, bone-deep sadness, and cruelty, and the need for fantasy to escape the dreariness of reality and the judgmental nature of other people. It’s not about escape, it’s about the NEED for escape.

    I suspect if you ask a lot of comic book creators, they would name Schulz as their first real inspiration to seek out and create comics.

    I learned about the importance of subtext at that point, and most of my comics are deeply subtextual, not as allegory or with a contrived message, but with some reflection of the human condition.

    Birds of Prey is about women punching bad guys, but it’s REALLY about sisterhood and acceptance. Secret Six is about mercs, but it’s REALLY about the inability to find a place for one’s self even when you are REALLY trying. And so on, and that emphasis on a deeper world, I learned how important that was and how to do it from Peanuts.

  2. #2
    Gunsel
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    All I know is Charlie Brown shoulda kicked Lucy insteada trying for that damn football!

    Seriously, though... Peanuts is as amazing to read now as it was back then.

  3. #3
    Gunsel JBK405's Avatar
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy Stardust View Post
    All I know is Charlie Brown shoulda kicked Lucy insteada trying for that damn football!
    I doubt you'll find anybody who will disagree with you there.

    The true magic of Peanuts is that I'm still re-reading it, years after they stopped being published and after I've already re-read many of the issues, and it's still wonderful. It has staying power like so few things do.
    Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs, but if you sit back and relax you get a heck of a ride.

  4. #4
    Gunsel
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Just the questions asked and answered in the Peanuts Christmas special makes it a must watch every year in my home.

  5. #5
    Gunsel AndrewCrossett's Avatar
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Peanuts was in its time what Calvin & Hobbes was to the later generations.

    The strip went on autopilot for its last 20 years or so and stopped being funny, but its best period (around 1955-1975) was a great run.
    "Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power." --Benito Mussolini

    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country." --Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Gail Simone View Post
    I suspect if you ask a lot of comic book creators, they would name Schulz as their first real inspiration to seek out and create comics.

    I learned about the importance of subtext at that point, and most of my comics are deeply subtextual, not as allegory or with a contrived message, but with some reflection of the human condition.
    I second all of that.

    Peanuts was a monster influence on my thinking. As a kid who moved around a lot, Peanuts was something I carried with me. I learned so much from that strip. Like, real life things as well as creative things.

    There's never been anything like that strip, and an examination of the strip's subtext tells you a lot about the era in which it was first produced. HAWAIIAN DICK, set in that era, was always intended to reflect the dichotomies inherent in the fifties. You had this bright, sunny, plastic decade, which was reflected in much of the pop culture of the era. And, yet, you had things like Peanuts and film noir and beat poetry reminding us that there were darker thoughts and fears lurking beneath that surface...

    -BCM
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  7. #7

    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCrossett View Post
    Peanuts was in its time what Calvin & Hobbes was to the later generations.
    To me, only five comic strips really "mattered", in a big formative way.

    Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Doonesbury (the content of which which I hated at times, but it still FELT important and vital), Calvin & Hobbes, and Bloom County.

    Okay, if I'm being TOTALLY HONEST, I know Garfield was gigantically successful and thus influential, and so its importance can't be denied. I just hated it ALL of the time, whereas with Doonesbury, that one I just hated some of the time.

  8. #8
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiffy View Post
    To me, only five comic strips really "mattered", in a big formative way.

    Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Doonesbury (the content of which which I hated at times, but it still FELT important and vital), Calvin & Hobbes, and Bloom County.

    Okay, if I'm being TOTALLY HONEST, I know Garfield was gigantically successful and thus influential, and so its importance can't be denied. I just hated it ALL of the time, whereas with Doonesbury, that one I just hated some of the time.
    You just named four of the five strips that had the biggest impact on me personally, although I'd actually throw B.C. into the mix. (On a personal level)

    Bloom County, Doonesbury, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes and B.C. were all pretty constant obsessions of mine from an early age (Calvin and Hobbes a little later, but, still...).

    There were other strips I obsessed over (Popeye/Thimble Theater, Barnaby, Polly and Her Pals, Krazy Kat, the Far Side, and on and on), but those strips had a real impact on my outlook, and a big influence on my creativing thinking.

    -BCM
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  9. #9

    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    So does this explains why you can only write on the roof of your house?

  10. #10

    Re: Peanuts and My Writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Benel Germosen View Post
    So does this explains why you can only write on the roof of your house?
    Or why anyone talking to her, who's older than a certain age, just sounds like "Wah-wah-wahwahwah-wah".

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