On Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 Peanuts created by Charles M. Schulz marked it’s 60th anniversary. A few months ago I picked up the Schulz biography by David Michaelis. Recently I started reading it and I can’t wait to finish it. The irony for me was that the week of the anniversary, I happened to be reading the chapter about the start of Peanuts in syndication. I hadn’t planned it that way and I just realized it. Learning of this coincidence has made the reading experience even more endearing to me.
Thus far I have enjoyed reading Schulz’s biography. It’s been a surprising portrait of such a famous and enigmatic man. In many ways I learn more about myself as I learn more about him in his daily life and in his career as a cartoonist. Admittedly a biography like this does highlight many flaws in a seemingly perfect personality and talent but I don’t mind that. In fact, it’s very interesting to me to understand better what makes the man tick. This reminds me of the interesting time I had a while back reading the Walt Disney biography by Bob Thomas. Another biography I highly recommend.
Throughout Michaelis’s book there are story anecdotes from Schulz’s life which are juxtaposed with comic strips that were obviously inspired by those events. In a small way this makes me feel better about my own work because my comics are often inspired by true events. In some ways it seems that Schulz could take a bad experience from his real life and turn it into a playful gag in Peanuts. I appreciate that because my comic often helps me laugh at complex or difficult circumstances in my own life. This ends up being a good thing because in a strange way it keeps me sane and out of therapy.