Wednesday, May 27, 2009

April 9, 1951: Maybe he IS a blockhead

One of my favorite early strips, in this one Schulz mocks his own art style.
I've mentioned the repetition of gags we've had up to this point.  There comes a point somewhere during the career of any good cartoonist where he must realize the enormity of the task he's undertaken for himself: to say something funny, every day, for the rest of his career, a task even more challenging than drawing them.  By this point, Charles Schulz had already done a comic strip for over a year and a half, Li'l Folks for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, so he has been through the crunch before.
The first defense a cartoonist has against brain drain is by building a backlog.  Cartoonists usually work weeks in advance of their publication date, and stockpile ideas to use.  The nature of writing is that there are sometimes "on" times, and sometimes "off."  The idea is to save up the good ideas during the on times and use them to cover the dry spells.  It's easy to speculate that the Patty chase strips, and the Violet mud pie jokes, may all have originated from a single brainstorming session.

1 comment:

  1. There was a similar gag towards the end of the movie "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" -- while Charlie Brown was sneaking around Lucy and her football in the final scene, he hides behind a tree, but his head is again too wide for it to be effective.