Art Imitates Life

Our newest exhibition in this gallery containing original comic strips is composed of the ‘single panel’ strips which Sparky interspersed with the other dailies beginning in 1988. I call the “Strip Gallery” the heart of the Museum because the strips in this gallery are all original Peanuts comic strips, where visitors can concentrate on the line work and any extraneous markings.

Peanuts, October 15, 1996
Ink on Paper

One of my favorite examples in the exhibition of the use of the single panel is the ‘football in the rain’ strip above. It depicts rain, mud, and total chaos– great fodder for a cartoonist. When I see it, I can imagine the great fun Sparky had drawing that scene. As you look at it, you can see how well it lends itself to the freedom of the single panel and how difficult the strips would read if divided into panels.

The freedom allowed by the open panel worked its way into the Sunday pages, too.

Peanuts, April 21, 1991
Ink on Paper

Sparky was extremely proud of this Sunday page which we call “The Wave.” I imagine it derived from memories of hitting over the water at the 16th hole at Pebble Beach.

Photo credit Larry James c. 1968

If you don’t know the course, that is the water all the way to the left—and the “green” seems to be a mile away.


Sparky liked this Sunday page so much that he had a lithograph made of it which is for sale at Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop. Following this, which was an experiment, Sparky produced several more of these very ‘artsy’ Sundays.

Peanuts, February 2, 1992
Ink on Paper

Somehow, Snoopy has hit his ball into a biblical scene (I can imagine Sparky’s enjoyment as he draws this.)

Peanuts, April 19, 1992
Ink on Paper

I do not know how Sparky became acquainted with Victoria Falls, but in the days of magazines, Sparky would relax by looking through the copies of magazines that he received monthly, and perhaps this scene was something that caught his eye.

Peanuts, January 17, 1993
Ink on Paper

This Sunday comic strip was drawn after we spent a January in Venice and its famous canals. I imagine Sparky asking his famous “What if?”—“What if Spike discovered a lost gondola near his favorite cactus?”

We were all so struck by the beauty in these Sunday pages here that we printed copies so visitors could color them here or take them home to color.

Seeing these beautiful pen drawings reminded me of a felt pen drawing Sparky made when we were in Yosemite in 1974, which is in the Museum Archives and which I never tire of seeing.

All of this reminds me that Sparky often said, “Good cartooning is good drawing.”

And I think we all can agree that he did just that.

—Jean Schulz


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