Sunday, July 10, 2005

Schulz on Trudeau

This is a week late, but I'll post it anyway in case anyone's interested. Last Sunday, this Doonesbury cartoon ran, insulting bloggers and blog readers in ridiculous fashion. That day, Nick Stewart, formerly of The Last Call and now blogging at The Horseback Riders, posted these thoughts, noting that Garry Trudeau is trying to delegitimize blogs and that he has a financial motive for doing so. As Glenn Reynolds points out, Trudeau just makes himself look foolish. While Ed Cone, Ed Driscoll, Patterico, and quite a lot of others also commented on it, my other favorite post on the matter is Power Line's.

I only bring all this up because, in light of this episode, many blog readers may find interesting, as I did upon discovering it this weekend, that the late 20th century innovator and institution of the comics pages Charles M. Schulz had an unflattering opinion of Garry Trudeau and his work.

I very much took Charles Schulz and Peanuts for granted until rather recently. Last year sometime, I read this speech by Bill Watterson, creator of the brilliant Calvin & Hobbes. In it, he cites the three comic strips he most admired and was influenced by as Schulz's Peanuts, Walt Kelly's Pogo, and George Herriman's weird 1920s strip Krazy Kat. I hadn't (and, alas, still haven't) read any of the latter two, but after seeing such lavish praise from someone whose work I admire so much, I immediately added some collections of each to my Amazon wishlist, and this year for my birthday, my parents sent me the two volume boxed set of the Fantagraphics anthology The Complete Peanuts 1950-1954. It really is a beautiful product, let me tell you.

Anyway, in the back of the first volume, there is an interview with Charles Schulz conducted by Rick Marschall and Gary Groth in 1987. It's a decently long and very interesting interview. At one point this exchange occurs:
GROTH: How do you feel about [Garry] Trudeau's demanding more space [for Doonesbury]?
SCHULZ: [Pause.] That he's not a professional. He's never been professional.

GROTH: How do you mean that?
SCHULZ: I don't think he conducts himself in a professional manner in the things that he does.

MARSCHALL: You're not just talking about the artistry of the strip?
SCHULZ: It's his whole attitude toward the business.

GROTH: You don't admire the strip.
SCHULZ: [Shakes head.]
I already appreciated many of his characters, especially Charlie Brown himself, to whom I can relate. Reading through the early strips, the interview, and the biographies in these volumes, I've acquired a greater appreciation for the strip and for Schulz himself. It was striking to discover that on the matter of Garry Trudeau and Doonesbury we are again in sympathy. For all those of who find Trudeau unprofessional and don't admire the strip, we're in good company.

For more on Charles Schulz, have a look here, here, here, and here.


Blogger trawlerman said...

thanks for the interview snippet. i've never really liked doonesbury. if you're interested in checking out some krazy kat dailies, you can find some online here:
204 Krazy dailies

also, if you subscribe to DailyInk, you can get a new krazy kat daily every day (as well as thimble theatre!).

3:34 PM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

Wow. Triple bonus. The Krazy Kat site looks awesome, and so do both your "Trawlerman's Song" and "tried and erred" blogs. I'm going to enjoy each of those, I think.

6:10 PM  
Blogger trawlerman said...


Thanks for the return kind words. I'll definitely be checking out your blog in the future, too.


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