On this day in 1950, the first Peanuts cartoon was published. Now, it is easy to discount Peanuts because it certainly is not as good a comic as Calvin and Hobbes or Bloom County. But it can’t be judged like that. It has to be compared to Beetle Bailey — which started less than a month before Peanuts. Or the dreadful Family Circus, which was launched a decade later. When I was a kid, I read the comics every day. I didn’t like Family Circus from the age of 8 onward. And Beetle Bailey was always meh. But Peanuts was consistently enjoyable — and that was 25 years after it was created.
My only distaste for Peanuts comes from the television shows. And it’s not the fault of the cartoon. In fact, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is really quite good — wonderfully written. But why the producers decided to get really bad child actors to do the voices, I’ll never know. It’s just ghastly. But again, it looks great and the writing — as with the strip — is solid.