The first Peanuts strip ever, and it’s a knockout blow. Right away the reader checking out this new-fangled kiddy comic sees that this will not be the standard milquetoast fare that saturates the daily paper. This is the inexplicably resentful and two-faced nature of humanity illustrated through the soundless voices of young children. “Good ol’ Charlie Brown. How I hate him!”
Just why would Shermy feel that way? Just why did Charles Schulz regard himself as a “blah” type of person with a forgettable face? Why would he question if he would be of any value to anyone without the acclaim brought about by his talent? Why would existential panic seize him in the night?
Some people just don’t like the Charlie Browns of this world, the ones that don’t know when to quit, or maybe even why they should quit. They believe in love. They treat people decently and are satisfied with doing the best they can, despite knowing that “winning is the only thing” will always be more oft-quoted than Vince Lombardi’s later lamentation retracting the very statement that made him a legend in leadership. They feel with every inch of vessel inside their body. They are frayed ends and exposed viscera. They don’t care about the dreams you have when you’re asleep. They do, however, care about everything else.
Did Charles Schulz hate Charlie Brown by putting so much of his agony into this poor blockhead?
No. Charles Schulz loved Charlie Brown. That’s why he became the unceremonious dumping ground for the neuroses that plagued Schulz. It made him infinitely more interesting and funny. I think deep down Schulz wanted Chuck to boot the football, but he just couldn’t make it happen because...then what? Also…not funny.