Charles Schulz - a depressed cartoonist

From the department of why-is-this-shocking?:
The creator of the beloved Peanuts comic strip was a shy, lonely man who used his child-like drawings to depict a life of deep melancholy, according to a controversial new biography.

The book is based on six years of research, unlimited access to family papers, more than 200 interviews and a close reading the 17,897 strips Schulz wrote and drew. It portrays Schulz as a man who felt unseen and unloved even if his readers numbered in the hundreds of millions.

Biographer David Michaelis, author of Schulz and Peanuts, said the cartoonist was also a man who could neither forget nor forgive any slight or lonely moment.
Charlie Brown and the other characters of Peanuts have been part of my entire life. As a child it was my favourite comic strip. At some point when I was younger, Mum or Dad bought a book for me celebrating 25 years of Peanuts. Most of the book was written by Charles Schulz and had comics interspersed between lots of text outlining, essentially, the guy's life.

Schulz, for whatever reason, was a depressed man. When I was old enough to read the 25-year celebration book, I became quite interested in the guy's life. He was a soldier during World War II and passed the time in Europe by doing illustrations. Some time after the war he began a relationship with a young woman and asked her to marry him. She refused and married someone else. The pain of that rejection was evident in what Schulz wrote, as well as illustrated - the woman became the basis of "The Little Red Haired Girl" that Charlie Brown had a crush on but was never able to win.

So, for me, this report about Schulz's depression is not news at all. I knew that Schulz struggled with his inner demons - a process which resulted in the finest comic strip of the 20th century.

1 comment:

BLBeamer said...

I used to love Peanuts, too. But the last 10-15 years it seemed as though Schulz had lost his touch. It stopped being humorous or interesting. I stopped reading it long before Schulz died.

I read an article where a journalist, who had idolized Schulz growing up, wrote Schulz and complained about the change. Schulz wrote back and said he thought it was a funny as it had ever been.

But it clearly wasn't and Schulz seemed unable to recognize or admit it.

A sad story about a gifted man.