By HDN staff
Charles Schulz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, passed away Saturday night. Schulz, who had been battling colon cancer, had announced his retirement last month. Ironically, his last strip was published hours before his death. Schulz had insisted on drawing every cartoon for the life of the comic strip. His eldest son thought his father had lost the will to fight once the comic strip was finished.
The pride of St. Paul, Minn., started his career with a strip titled "Lil Folks" that first appeared in his hometown Pioneer Press in 1947. Lil Folks would evolve in to the Peanuts strip. Peanuts went on to syndication in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Charlie Brown and his gang didn't stop at the newsstand. Schulz's characters were the subject of television specials, feature length movies, a hit song, and even a Broadway stage production. The Peanuts gang showed up at parades and festivals worldwide. Snoopy atop his dog house followed our service men and women from Korea to Kuwait.
Parents and grandparents grew up reading Peanuts, and later shared it with their own children and grandchildren. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang transcended generations and demographics.
Charles Schulz's cartoons always championed the plight of the underdog. We could relate to Charlie Brown's struggles on the gridiron or the baseball diamond. Each Valentine's Day, we suffered as Charlie Brown waited for any acknowledgement from that little red-haired girl. We soared with Snoopy as he battled his nemesis the Red Baron. Each Halloween we anxiously waited with Linus for the Great Pumpkin to appear. All of Schulz's characters touched us one way or another.
The comics won't be the same with out the Peanuts crew. We at The Havre Daily News have chosen to publish Peanuts classics for the time being. However, someday soon, there will be a new cartoon in place of the Peanuts strip. We think Charlie Brown would sympathize with the cartoonist with the unenviable task of following Peanuts.