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The Peanuts Transformation of the Comics Page

Twenty years after the last new Peanuts by Charles Schulz,
John Colie looks at the groundbreaking comic strip.

Peanuts remains so ubiquitous in popular culture that we sometimes forget exactly how groundbreaking and unprecedented it was upon its debut in 1950 … What greeted the readers of seven newspapers on the first day of Peanut’s publication was more of a confusing anomaly: a slickly-drawn strip devoid of ornamentation and built on philosophical ponderings and clever responses, relying on emotional substance rather than physical substance, completely created by one person.

Peanuts also changed the perception of what a comic strip could be through its art. Faced with the ever-worsening problem of steadily decreasing space due to paper shortages during World War II, many cartoonists resorted to whatever tactic possible to make their strip noticed. Schulz decided to pursue a different approach and emphasized the minimalism and emptiness in his strip — rarely (if ever) depicting backgrounds and only drawing the bare minimum needed to convey an interaction.

Read Colie’s short essay at The Cornell Daily Sun.

 

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