Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Grief!

Here at the Acme Factory, not only are classic cartoons appreciated, but classic comic strips as well. Peanuts ranks right up there at the top of the list and will most likely be discussed here from time to time. As Fantagraphics releases the latest volume in thier "Complete Peanuts" series, I felt now would be the time to reflect on the strip.

It's hard to describe the feelings that are instilled in me while reading Peanuts. While other comics try to be funny, Peanuts brilliantly goes the opposite route. Don't get me wrong-There is great comedy to be found in the strip, but it is always cast over by a shadow of doubt and isolation. It is as if a large, dark cloud resides over the characters, with only brief gaps in which the light of hope can peek through.

I think that most people can relate to the traumas of childhood and Schulz captures these difficult years with brutal honesty. A child's world is not always a bed of roses. There are bullies, unrequited loves, loss, despair, rejection, loneliness and the fear that you just don't fit in.

As I read Peanuts, I am instantly transported back to that time in my life when I felt like the world was going to eat me alive. Yet there is comfort to be found in Peanuts, a sense that Charles Schulz is telling us that everything will be alright somehow. He doesn't say it in words, yet I am left with the feeling that Charlie Brown has grown-up now and has a successful career, a wife and kids, and that Snoopy has finished writing his "dark and stormy night" novel.

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