Here’s where it begins for me:
When I say begins for me, I mean it figuratively; that strip ran on November 12, 1959, nearly two years before I was born. What I’m describing, rather, is a sensibility, a way of looking at, or engaging with, the world. I still remember the moment I stumbled across that set of images, entirely by accident—which is as it should be. It was the middle of June 1968, and I was in the finished basement of a cousin’s house …
That’s David Ulin writing about discovering Linus (and Peanuts).
Ulin’s essay is one of a collection of “essays, memoirs, poems, and two original comic strips” in the new (released October 22, 2019) book The Peanuts Papers.
Still, Linus. For me, he offered something of a gateway—less a weird kid than one who encouraged me to be . . . myself. I liked that he stood apart, clinging to his security blanket even when Snoopy tried to grab it away. I liked his faith, and his lack of faith: that tension between mankind and people again. “I was the victim of a false doctrine,” he declares after being disappointed by the Great Pumpkin, although the following year, he is (how could he not be?) in the pumpkin patch once more.
Speaking of Linus’ end of October faith.