Author Topic: Good Grief  (Read 161 times)

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Panic_Comics

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on: 03:32 PM, 01/ 8/20



If you're American and have parents in the baby boomer age range, you've probably been exposed to the Peanuts at least once in your lifetime. Good old Charlie Brown, who was and still is, the poster boy for Butt Monkey. Everything that could go wrong, seemed to go wrong times ten for ol' Chuck. Such a comic could only be created by someone with some personal experience regarding bad luck.

Evidence for this can be found in David Michaelis's book, "Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography" which goes into detail about how Schulz would talk about childhood bullies from long ago in the present tense. How he would see himself, even when he was most famous, as a dumb dull meek loser that nobody would ever like. How he was a vindictive, almost manchildish person.

Personally, after what I've seen, I think those are all understatements.

I am fortunate enough to live in close proximity to United Features Syndicate, the place where Peanuts was published. I'll admit, I sometimes like to take a trip up there and rummage around in the dumpster, hoping to find some comic strip that some cartoonist trashed. Most of them were just cheesy puns we've all heard before, but there were some gems here and there. Some highlights include a doodle of Marmaduke humping the family couch, Garfield joking about Jon's date, his right hand, and my personal favorite, Dilbert flashing Alice, and her snarking that she's lactose intolerant.

What I found a week ago, well, wasn't exactly humorous.

I was about to open the lid of the dumpster, until I saw a black garbage bag behind the dumpster. Picking it up, I opened it and was almost floored. These were Peanuts comics. Like legit, honest to God made by Schulz himself Peanuts comics. I rushed home as quick as I could and was eager to see the "lost comic strips" that never made it to the papers.

Unfortunately the comic strips were losing the battle to age and time, the papers yellowing and the ink fading, so I'm unable to post them here without them being blurry as all hell, but I can tell you what I deciphered.

The first one started with Charlie Brown bringing Snoopy his food, announcing that it was suppertime as he always did. He remarked about how his day was bad and how nobody liked him, and was grateful that he had Snoopy to be there for him. It ended with Snoopy walking away, rolling his eyes and remarking that he "hated that kid".

 On the second one, Charlie Brown was called to the front of the desk, apparently in trouble for failing something. He was sent to the corner with a dunce cap on, saying "That's the first time someone got in trouble for a failure face"

The next few followed a small series revolving around Lucy trying her hand at magic, including trying to make Schroeder in love with her. One of interest, is her trying to turn Charlie Brown into an "ugly old toad", but unsuccessful, her excuse being that Charlie Brown was already ugly enough. The final one was her trying to make some friends out of thin air, but after finding herself as alone as before, she trashes her magic kit and storms off.

The next followed Charlie Brown and his best friend Linus at the brick wall they usually hang out at. Charlie Brown was asking about purpose. Linus, being the comic "wise kid" said that everyone on this planet has a purpose. It ended with Charlie Brown, with an annoyed look, asking what HIS purpose was and Linus about to leave, saying he was going to be late for supper.

The next, probably an attempt to cash in on a fledgeling Worldwide Web, was a Sunday comic that had Charlie Brown at a computer, remarking on how since he was anonymous, nobody would know that he was "good ol' Charlie Brown", and of course, it ended with people worldwide realizing he WAS Good Ol' Charlie Brown and ostracizing him from the internet.

Now, these are mean spirited, but otherwise typical Peanuts fare. Then I got to the next few.

This one had Charlie walking with an absolutely forlorn look on his face, remarking that nobody liked him but nobody hated him more than himself.
One had Charlie Brown finally recieving a letter from his penpal. I figured that this comic was before the penpal was canonically known as Morag, a girl from Scotland who Charlie had unsuccessfully tried to woo. This penpal was apparently from France, as he had grabbed a French to English dictionary to translate the letter. The letter read "I hate you, stop writing to me you big old American sadsack", it ended with no one liner joke, just Charlie Brown with an absolutely defeated look on his face.

The one after that had Violet and Patty surrounding him, telling him how he was a creepy unlovable freak that nobody would want to be around. No one liner at the end of this one either.

This one on the other hand was where the red flags should have started to fly. It had Charlie yelling to whoever was listening, that he was sick of this "mean old world" and he was going to "put an end to this once and for all", and stepped on a cliff. The "cliff" was shorter than he was, and it ended with him face first in the ground, saying "RATS".

The one after this followed Charlie and Lucy playing hangman. They had the letters C and R written down. Three guesses what the answer was.
After this, were just people telling Charlie Brown how they hated him, including one of Linus throwing his hands up, yelling that he's tired of Charlie Brown's mopey downer attitude, leaving Charlie all alone at the wall.

Did you know that during the mid 90s, For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston has planned to kill off the family dog Farley. This got the attention of Charles Schulz, who had called her up and said, "If Farley dies, I'm going to have Snoopy hit by a car, then everybody will read it and nobody will want to read your stupid comic!" As a result, she hid the time when she had Farley sacrifice his life for his human companion.

I bring this up because from what I saw, Schulz wasn't lying when he made that threat.

It started off with Snoopy pretending that he was behind enemy lines as he always did. Just as he peered over the vast plains, talking about enemies ambushing him, a loud sound interrupted. He looked behind him, a large truck was barreling his way. The next strip showed Charlie Brown walking home, apparently from school, and having a look of pure shock on his face. It ended with Snoopy lying on the side of the road, a complete mess. What appeared to be a small puddle of blood pooled around his head.

Snoopy had one last "story", he was shot down, asking his comrade to tell the story of his life, or something (the ink got wet here I think), ending with Charlie holding Snoopy's body in his arms, head down.

The next few show Charlie crying and visiting Snoopy's favorite places, Charlie momentarily thinking Snoopy was still alive and bringing out his "supper", and upon realizing his mistake, proceeding to eat the dog food with a blank look on his face. One that stood out to me from this series, was Woodstock looking heartbroken, and then flying to where the dreaded cat next door lived. It ended with a screech and feathers flying.

Violet and Patty surrounded Charlie Brown again, teasing him how Snoopy got what he deserved because "he was YOUR dog, Charlie Brown", and proceeded to laugh as he walked off.

Charlie looked up at the sky, asking God "Why me, why is always me? Why did you take away the only friend I have?", to which he replied, words filling up the panels "Because you're Charlie Brown"

I probably should have stopped right there, but like a trainwreck, I couldn't bring myself to look away.

The final comics show Charlie Brown lying on his bed, as words from seemingly nowhere asked him such questions as  "Why do you exist?" "What are you here for?" as even more words replied "To be the world's punching bag" "Your life has no meaning to it" "You were a mistake"
Charlie Brown layed there, saying nothing, as he grew thinner and thinner, until he looked skeletal. The words continued, "It's better this way Charles, your death will be a blessing to everyone around you" "Just do something right for a change and die already" The final panel is nothing but Charlie Brown lying there. Motionless.

The last panel had the kids surrounding something, making remarks like "You had this coming" and "He finally did something right", they then walk off, a small tombstone with the words: Charles Brown, a good for nothing Blockhead.

This would be the part where I go on some spiel about how depression is a horrible thing, or how what I saw haunted me or whatever but...

What else is there to say?



Logan96

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on: Yesterday at 10:18 AM
I really liked this, the lost comic strip was a nice change from the typical lost episode story. I also liked how this story didn't rely on over the top gore and violence like most lost media stories do.