Charles M(onroe) Schulz Johnny Hart - Essay

Johnny Hart

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Since the very beginning, each era or generation has had its satirical cartoonist; one who stands above the others, points to what we have really become, and teaches us to laugh.

Our time has given us the best yet. He is Charles M. Schulz…. Charlie is a dear man who has taken it upon himself to make children of us all. Let us be eternally grateful for his foresight. We are God's children after all, and are meant to be no more than that. As a jealous child who loves to laugh, I sometimes … resent the laughs that God must surely enjoy at the expense of his clumsy, faltering children. He shares, of course, an equal amount of sorrow, which I do not wish to get into. Charlie Schulz does get into this. He gives us our pathetic side, and we laugh with dewy eyes. (pp. v-vi)

There are times when Charlie Brown and the red-headed girl cause me more tears than laughter. Not knowing whether to cry or laugh is, at its best, an exhilarating feeling. We've all felt it. The invariable result is laughter, which feels good.

Charlie Schulz is a man who not only knows the intricate parts of the funny bone, but proves his knowledge day by day. All things to Schulz contain the element of fun. You and I and the world can rest assured that the day cannot come when a herd of angry, pumpkin-headed kids trample Charlie Schulz…. (p. vi)

Johnny Hart, in his foreword to PEANUTS TREASURY by Charles M. Schulz (copyright © 1968 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.), Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.

[The] fine examples of neoprimitive art [in You're In Love, Charlie Brown] are marred by running commentary with mythic overtones, exploiting the motif of eros and agape, but lacking penetration into the depths of human emotions. (p. 267)

The Antioch Review (copyright © 1969 by the Antioch Press; reprinted by permission of the Editors). Vol. 29, No. 2, 1969.