Sparky & Andy

Peanuts fans may have discovered that there are two different daily comic strips running concurrently in different papers. This has to do with the size of the strip format for different papers. So the strip I am mentioning and which I show here may not have appeared in YOUR newspaper on September 29th.

Image of the Peanuts strip for 9-29-11

This strip, which ran in our Santa Rosa paper, the Press Democrat, started me on one of those trails to recognize where a particular idea for a strip might have come from in Sparky’s mind.

This strip reminded me of our dog Andy, who also appeared in the comic strip as himself as a particularly cute and fuzzy sibling of Snoopy’s. Sparky quickly fell in love with Andy, who turned out to have some very funny habits. Sparky loved it when Andy jumped on the couch with a huge sigh and settled in for a sleep, and gradually the two grew to love sleeping together in Sparky’s favorite chair.

Image of Charles Schulz and his dog Andy

Image of Charles Schulz and his dog Andy

Andy came to us from a fox terrier rescue kennel; he had been found wandering on a beach in northern California. The kennel manager showed us the name “Andy” scratched into the rough leather on the inside of the collar. Sparky always felt that a child had scratched it into the collar. It was perhaps the poignant feeling of this being some child’s pet that stayed with him and inspired this small anecdotal truth to the story of Spike being “found” in the above strip more than ten years later.

Also in this strip is one of Sparky’s little “inside jokes”—that of the Mickey Mouse’s shoes. Originally the dailies were published in black and white, but in our paper, where the entire comic page is now in color, the shoes can now be “Mickey Mouse shoe” yellow. This got me wondering whether or not the shoes were recognizable without their signature color, but it does appear that they are.

Image of Peanuts strip originally published on October 1, 1998.

This Peanuts strip was originally published on October 1, 1998.

As a bonus for the curious, here is the alternate Peanuts strip that ran on September 29th…

Image of This Peanuts strip originally published on October 1, 1964.

This Peanuts strip was originally published on October 1, 1964. All Peanuts strips © 2011 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

—Jean Schulz