A few weeks ago, I wrote of artists from Minnesota. I failed to mention perhaps the most significant artist in Minnesota history: Charles Monroe Schulz, (1922-2000). A master illustrator and creator of the widely read and enjoyed comic strip of all time: Peanuts.
Schulz, born in Minneapolis, lived in the twin cities for nearly forty years. The exceptions to this, was during his service in World War Two and a brief time spent in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not published his first original illustration. A 1937 drawing featuring the family dog, a hunting dog that ate unusual household items such as pins and tacks. This illustration he signed as “Sparky” a family nickname for the young Schulz.
Seventy years ago, October 2, 1950, seven newspapers published the first Peanuts comic strip. The syndicated comic grew to the point 2600 newspapers in 75 countries carried the daily antics of the Peanuts gang. Schulz instated on doing the drawings and lettering himself. In the end he produced an estimated 17,897 strips. The comic also outlived the creator. Schulz died on February 12, 2000. The last Peanuts strip published the next day.
Although the comic syndicate owned the strips, they agreed with Schulz that no other artist be allowed to carry on with the Peanuts strip. Since his death, until today, the Peanuts strip reruns remain a popular segment of local newspapers.
Although lived outside of Minnesota for the last forty some years of his life, Charles Monroe Schulz remains a significant artist in Minnesota history.