Charles Monroe Schulz, the author of the famous comic strip Peanuts, was born on November 26, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota but grew up in the state’s capital: Saint Paul. Since he was a little boy, Charles Schulz, nicknamed Sparky by his uncle, had loved to draw and had always aspired to be a cartoonist. He used to draw his little dog, called Spike, which would later become the inspiration for Snoopy, one of the most famous characters from the Peanuts franchise. He attended Richards Gordon Elementary School, where a statue of Snoopy was later placed.
In 1942, his career plans were delayed when he was drafted into the united States Army, but he was discharged three years later, after Germany’s surrender, and returned to Minneapolis. He first trained as a machine gunner rising to the rank of staff sergeant. His unit was shipped to Europe in February 1945, where they helped lead the charge on Munich and liberate the Dachau concentration camp. After Germany’s surrender, Schulz received the Combat Infantryman Badge for fighting in active ground combat under hostile fire. He was officially discharged on January 6, 1946. After that, he took on some jobs before becoming a full-time cartoonist.
Charles M.Schulz produced L’il Folks, the original name of Peanuts, for his hometown newspaper in 1947. Thanks to the considerable success he achieved with it, the author decided to go and pitch L’il Folks to the United Features Syndicate. The latter revealed themselves, to be interested in the work but not in the name so he changed the name into Peanuts. Unfortunately, Schulz did not like the name of his strip but he could not change it anymore, although he did suggest to call it Ol' Charlie Brown.
In 1950, Peanuts was published in nine newspapers and was a daily strip. The first strip was four panels long with the last one showing Shermy, a little boy, saying that he hates Charlie Brown. Schulz wanted to produce everything by himself such as the scripts, the art and the lettering, except to make the comic book adaptations of Peanuts.
1960 was the “golden age” for Peanuts, with the apparition of the most well-known themes and characters, including Snoopy. Its success comes from its social commentary, which consists in commenting on society by using rhetorical means.
In 1990, Peanuts undoubtedly was the most famous comic strip in the US with an author who constantly kept on writing until his death, in 1999. The last daily one, published in 2000, features Snoopy receiving Schulz’s retirement letter.
Snoopy is one of the main characters of the comic. He is a beagle (a dog) whose owner is Charlie Brown. They get on very well and love each other, even though Snoopy is sometimes a bit lazy and « rebellious » (for example, he always forgets his owner’s name). The dog lives in a fantasy world and tends to dress up as different characters such as a pilot,… Snoopy first appeared in the comic in October 1950 but it is only in November 1950 that he was officially called Snoopy. At the beginning of the comic, Snoopy was pictured as an ordinary dog but in 1952, his thoughts were verbalized for the first time and balloons appear above his head. What is more, in 1957 he was depicted as being able (thanks to Charlie) to walk on two legs and so he begins acting like humans. A film was made in 2015, starring all the characters from Peanuts. That same year, Snoopy received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Charlie Brown is the owner of Snoopy. He has a strong relationship with him and they love each other as much as they annoy each other. He always wants to help Snoopy. Charlie is victimized because he always helps the others but they never return the favour. He is sensitive and is likely to be easily offended.
Sally is Charlie’s sister. She has a heart of gold and she is sweet even though she is manipulative and uses Snoopy whenever she wants. She doesn’t attach importance to him.
Linus van Pelt is Charlie’s best friend. He is first introduced as a baby but he grows faster than the other characters so that he can be the same age as the others. He always wants to learn new skills and Charlie teaches him to play baseball. Linus always has a blue blanket with him and Snoopy wants to steal it.
Lucy van Pelt is Linus’ older sister. She is stubborn and always complains about everything. Lucy is really mean towards Charlie; she is short-tempered but occasionally kind, especially with Linus. Despite that, she abuses her brother, she treats him as a servant: she does whatever she wants. She is Snoopy’s love but she hardly ever shows affection towards him.
Rerun van Pelt is Lucy’s brother. He wants to adopt Snoopy but Charlie refuses and Snoopy and Rerun are confidants ; or at least they tell each other how they are feeling and what is wrong.
Lila is Snoopy’s previous owner who couldn’t keep him because dogs weren’t allowed in her apartment.
Patty is the oldest of the children so she is seen as a sort of mother for the others. Despite her age, she is sometimes a bit naïve and she believes in unthinkable things.
Woodstock and his brother's eggs hatched at the same time but Woodstock could not fly so Snoopy decided to take him under his wing. They became friends and Woodstock became Snoopy's most loyal friend.
The comic only focuses on children and babies: no adults are ever mentioned.
Sylvie Deleu, Louise Mataisse, and Alena Smekens
Sylvie Deleu, Louise Mataisse, and Alena Smekens