When I was a child, Peanuts was one of my favorite comics in the Sunday newspaper — for that was the only day of the week that my father bought the newspaper, as it had plenty of coupons for our bi-weekly grocery shopping trips. I also got collections of the comic from when my father would go to garage sales — so even well before you could find hundreds of the comic online for free, I had access to strips from the fifties and sixties.

I read with much sadness that Charles was retiring from drawing Peanuts after he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and unlike many other comics that started in the fifties and sixties, there was no heir apparent to the Peanuts throne — Mort Walker has had a number of helpers over the years and both Beatle Bailey and Hi and Lois will continue after Walker passes. Schulz, on the other hand, made it clear that he had ended Peanuts and that it should not continue once he took leave of this earthly plane.

If he wanted to be more clear he could not have been any more so than the day after the very last Peanuts comic ran in newspapers, a Sunday comic. On that day, Schulz passed away and comic fans around the world mourned him. From then, newspapers started to rerun strips but nobody dared think of writing new Peanuts comics — and this would continue until recently.

The letter of the law, so to speak, according to Schultz (per his will) was that there were to be no new comic strips written or drawn after his passing. The new comics are not comic strips but are collections of comics in comic book form. I understand that it does not violate the actual request but it clearly goes against the wishes of Charles Schulz.

If we are to wonder why these new comic books are being written and drawn, we need look no further than the almighty dollar. When writers and artists tell us that they want their work to cease being created when they pass away, we should respect those wishes. Now, unfortunately, we may have to endure years of new comic books that are Peanuts in appearance but may stray far from the original vision of its only true artist, Charles Schulz.

9 Comments

  1. This is an interesting problem. Should the Art die with the death of the Artist or, in some circumstances, where the legacy can be continued — must the work go on and thrive? In this case, I fall on the side of letting the comic books continue while the strips stay in memorial.

    This reminds me of the great guitar player who demands to be buried with his favorite guitar so nobody else can play it. That strikes me as selfish and short-sighted. The value is in the provenance and to kill one piece of art to spite the natural conclusion of things is unwise and misses the point of creating a history of people.

    1. I understand the guitar burial being selfish, but this seems more like if someone were to try to record Thriller II — Michael Jackson is dead and no new music should be recorded with his name on it. I feel the same way about all of the Jason Borne that keep coming out — why do they have Ludlum’s name on it if he contributed nothing to them, as he passed away?

          1. If I die tomorrow, we’ll see if there are any new articles published in the Network.

            Peanuts was not just Charles Schulz’s, even though he invented it, and it doesn’t belong to only him in death — as we are rightly seeing now. There was a whole network of creative people behind him. He certainly didn’t draw every cell of the television specials.

          2. I would hope there’s a plan in place for such an event.

            True, he didn’t draw every cell of the specials. I guess what I’m saying is if an author says he doesn’t want to see new content created that he or she originated, that should be respected.

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