Jimmy: Hey Blockheads. Welcome back to the show. It's Season Two of Unpacking Peanuts. They said it couldn't be done and we barely did it, but here we are starting a whole new year of Charles Schulz’ masterpiece comic strip Peanuts. I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'm the cartoonist behind Amelia Rules, Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up and The Dumbest Idea Ever.
And I'll be one of your hosts for this evening. Joining me as always here to kick off season two, he's a playwright. He's a composer. He's the co-creator of the very first comic book price guide, the Argosy price guide. He is the cartoonist behind such great strips as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen.
Michael: Hey there
Jimmy: And he is the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000. He's a former vice-president of Archie comics and creator of the Instagram strip Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.
Jimmy: Hey guys. We made it through season one. We're all good. We're on the other side of it. And we're about to start the second half of the first decade of Peanuts.
Michael: Yeah, we're in the homestretch, so
Jimmy: we're basically done.
Harold: Everything's happened. This is just coasting from here on out.
Jimmy: Coasting from here on out. I'm pretty excited about this year. I think there's lots of interesting things to discuss lots of good theme and variation from Mr. Schulz.
We're starting to get for my money into the really classic Peanuts Look. What do you guys have to say? I mean, any first thoughts before we jump into it, all Harold what are you looking forward to in these, these new strips?
Harold: Well, one of the things that I noticed in this, these strips is the presence of children in Charles Schulz’ life.
I, I imagine I feel that very strongly, whether, whether it's the case or not, we certainly know is in reality, he he's got quite a, quite a brood of kids at this point. He's got a six year old Meredith, four year old Monty, three-year-old Craig, and they introduce a new baby into their lives, Amy in August of this year.
So that's a, that's a pretty full house. In just six years, Charles Schulz, his life has really, really expanded. So I think the, the sense of experiencing children firsthand is, is very palpable in this year.
Jimmy: I sort of agree with that. I think I, earlier I said that when Schulz was trying to do the things that were particularly kiddish, you know, or stereotypically like kids act, it felt false to me.
I think now this stuff, it's a really nice blend. What seems to be really nicely observed, accurate real kid behavior, combined with Schulz just putting his own psyche and his own thoughts and feelings out into the characters. And so, which of course is his peak Peanuts. We are getting into the point where he is just, just off the charts great. Michael, what do you think?
Michael: Yeah, no, it's definitely peak Peanuts, at least from my point of view. I think he's hit a plateau sometime in 1956 where it's, it's less experimental. We're seeing, we're not seeing new characters come in and out. We're seeing the main cast pretty much fully developed at this point.
And this plateau goes on for a long time and I'm really curious to see if it actually gets higher. Cause it's, it's just an amazing peak right now.
Harold: What I did want to ask you guys? I do my, my anger-ometer or whatever, where I, I do go through the year and I just try to count the strips where there is a character showing anger.
I was, I was curious to know if that changed over the years. Do you have any sense of how this felt compared to previous years, whether there's more anger in the strip or less anger in the strip, or it's pretty much on that even keel?
Michael: I think we need an embarrassment meter because I'm seeing a lot of embarrassment.
Jimmy: that's true. A lot of, I, you know what I prefer to call that chagrin-- humiliated by one's own failure, but yeah, that is definitely the emotion I would say is the strongest this year. I don't know. I'm going to say it's about the same.
Harold: What do you think, Michael?
Michael: We'll see. As we go through it, I was, I was just so overwhelmed by the amount of embarrassment that wasn't paying attention to anger. I mean, the angry characters get phased out at some point years later. I mean the Patty and Violet who for no explicable reason just hate Charlie Brown and want to humiliate him. It's never explained what it is about him that they hate.
Jimmy: I think it's cause he's constantly running behind them going, do you like me?
Do you like me? Why don't you like me? Do you like me to, I would hate that guy after a while, like go find someone else because-- I will say this as far as going find someone else. There are two moments in this year that legitimately gave me chills where I thought, oh, we're seeing something really, really magical happened to Charlie Brown, even though Charlie Brown, I don't think even a hundred percent notices all the time.
Michael: I wonder if it's the same two that have been haunting me all week.
Jimmy: Oh, well, mine aren't haunting. So we probably have different, which is good. I would like to not pick, you know, the same best strip of the year as a, as one of you guys. All right. Sorry. Go ahead Harold.
Harold: Well, here is our tally for the year. I believe it's a leap year. So there might be one more strip, but 1955, there were 125 strips that where a character showed anger. Iin 1956 it's 162. So it's gone from 34 to 44%. And it's interesting that, that, that it didn't register for you guys ‘cause this year to me, and when I read these things, I'm reading them usually like really tightly together.
I'm not spreading them out. I'm usually over the course. And this is kind of the sad thing about being a cartoonist. I was reading a year's worth of Charles Schulz’s work in about an hour. And it just is so depressing when you think all the effort that goes in being a cartoonist. And that takes about an hour to read a year's worth of amazing work.
But what I felt that this year was there was, it was strident. There was a stridency to the, to the strip that I hadn't experienced yet. And I didn't remember, this is kind of a little bit of a gap for me. I saw some of these strips growing up. So, so this is a lot of this is fresh and it just seemed like, yeah, there was a lot of, a lot of shouting, a lot of anger.
That was my take on this year. And again, that kind of ties back to the sense that Charles Schulz has a, a lot of kids who were probably, you know, you know, bumping into each other as kids can do. But anyway, that's just my take on the year .
Jimmy: Yeah. Well, I, I definitely understand what you're saying there too. I see some stridency in, in Linus where he's refusing, the steadfast and unalterable. I can definitely do that.
Harold: And Lucy, Lucy is angry or and pushier than ever. And we're just seeing a lot of new things in the strip that were there, but they, they really come to the forefront. And of course in Linus is still shooting, shooting his fingers at people, angry with his little bang and yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on here that is, you know, it's, I think we've seen a lot of it in the earlier strips, but he's really, he's really distilling it in this year.
Jimmy: Yeah. I think that goes to Michael's point about saying it's not as experimental a year, but it's it's just a quality, it's a burnishing year. Everything is that he's built to this point he's just starting to polish and, and turns to gold.
I'm glad you brought up the Linus finger gun thing, ‘cause I, I mentioned this last episode as well. How do you, what do you think about that coming out of Linus, who is thought of I think as the most philosophical, the quietest-- not quietest, isn't the right word, but he's more reserved, I'd say than the other characters more thoughtful. And yet he is the one that is ready to whip out his finger gun and just start shooting.
Michael: ‘Cause Lucy is his sister. So imagine daily, you being like crushed by this other person
Harold: In retrospect, that gives me a lot of respect for Linus because he grows out of it into something maybe better.
Jimmy: He had the impetus to begin with, which is, I agree with what you're saying. I think in that if you, if he emerged fully formed as Charlie Brown Christmas Linus, you know, “Light’s please” Linus that is less interesting than someone who we know the only mercifull thing to do your one shot, right from the hip who has these kind of angry tendencies, but, and it doesn't seem like he's repressing it It seems like he moves past it
Harold; Right, which is a real-- I mean this is a comic--
Harold: like he's processed it. And, and, you know, and again, looking at the ages of these children. So I think it was Jill who, who said that Meredith was Lucy. That was her take on it. The younger kids review of the older its oldest kid.
She did say that at one point, but in any case, yeah, it's, it's, it's really, it's really interesting. I'd be interested to know if you know, the personalities of Schulz's children actually, he was seeing them kind of change and mature over the years. And, and we see that in some of these kids in the Peanuts Pantheon,
Michael: I wouldn't be surprised.
Jimmy: The other thing I wanted to talk to you about, we've talked about how Schulz was influenced by Krazy Kat. And we've talked about a lot, and one of the great things about Krazy Kat is the theme and variation. And I wanted to get your guys' take on, on that in this year. This to me seems like the first year where he is full on going for I have an idea about a particular thing and here he is just riffing on it and here's like four or five thoughts on this one theme or this one setup, and then we get them all in a row. What do you guys think about that?
Michael: I agree totally. And I was suggesting we try something different this year. Up til this point--I don't know for our listeners know this, but we basically are just picking sample strips throughout the year, some dailies, some Sundays, and just talking about those, I noticed this year there's sort of a third category. There's the daily strip, which is kind of standalone. There's the Sunday, which is almost always standalone.
And he starting to do these sequences anywhere from like three consecutive dailies to five or six that are less like an ongoing story and more like variations on a theme. Like he comes up with an idea of, let's say something like the kite-eating tree and knocks off five different jokes, five different separate cartoons.
And he's finding, I think he's finding ways to use them all. So I would say essentially the same setup repeated over and over again with, with different punchlines.
Jimmy: Right, right. Now this is also interesting because one of the things that Schulz indicated in his authorized biography was there are these famous 12 devices that he says contributed to Peanuts’ success and its popularity.
The kite-eating tree is one of the things that Schulz indicated made the strip a success. And he specifically talked about the sequence. We're going to talk about this year, where Charlie Brown is just standing under the tree with the kite stuck up in it and characters walk by and just talk to him. What's strange about that though, is Schulz himself said Yeah, that was the week when I first realized, oh, people are really responding to this because I got so many letters about this, and yet that's in Unseen Peanuts. It has never been reprinted.
Jimmy: So I wonder what that is. It's like, yeah, this is great. This is the moment I realized it was a big deal. And also, I didn't want anyone ever to see it again.
I mean, do you guys have any idea what that could possibly be about?
Harold: Do you think that's because the, he thought he nailed it later and the first version was, you know, paled in comparison to what he did afterward.
Jimmy: I don't think so because that's, that would be true of every strip. I mean, so he's, he's leaving things in all the time and if you are able to look back and go, yeah, that's the moment.
And to say I knew it in the moment because I was getting all these responses, my thought is maybe it's too visually repetitive for a book because the other problem, he did get a huge pushback from editors who were saying, you drew the same picture 64 times. Why am I paying for this.
When you see them all laid out together, it's pretty radical looking and pretty wild, then you realize, oh yeah, there's prob-- there's not a week's worth of Mary Worth where it's just the same picture over and over.
Michael: It’s also possible that there was a page limit on those reprint books. And he was way over the limit on his choices. And by eliminating that week that he's eliminating five strips.
Jimmy: Right. Right. That does make sense because it's sort of a, you take the whole chunk or you don't take it at all.
Harold: I could see an editor of the book itself if they had any say whatsoever, which maybe they did, they said, Hey, do you really want to do this? Like you said, it's, it's repetitive. Maybe there's a better use of the pages.
Jimmy: However, I would have loved to have read this in the in the newspaper as it was coming out. I think that would have been a real, I, I. Would have wanted to see how long he could keep it going, because that's just my type of humor.
I thought it was really, really great to see. How do you guys feel in general? Would you rather see these things broken up as a reading experience? Or do you like that we're seeing them in these little sequences, these little sections.
Michael: I like the fact that I can read the whole year in an hour. And since it's like probably the 20th time I'm reading this year in my lifetime, I don't really have to read it.
It's like buried. It's buried in there. I just kind of-- check! Know that one. So I don't know how long-- I think I'd have a whole, a whole different view of this year. If I hadn't seen any of these before. And actually there was quite a few I hadn't seen and I was really,
Jimmy: That's what I was going to ask. What percentage do you think it is at this point that you haven't seen?
Michael: There were some that I definitely would have remembered, had they been reprinted. And actually I picked a few of those, even though they're not by any means the best strips of the year. I picked a few, just like, why was this never reprinted?
Harold: Are you ever surprised to Michael, when you, when you do read through, you've read it 20 times.
Are there any things that just jumped out at you fresh every time that's like, oh, wow. I didn't remember that. Or you read it in a different way.
Michael: I’ve read these so many times that I, I remembered them all and anything that I didn't remember clearly I'd never seen before. It was, this was just part of my, my life was to reread these all the time.
Jimmy: And I can vouch for this. Michael and I used to have a contest where someone would randomly pull out a a Peanuts book and read the first panel. And then we would have to guess the punchline. But then that got too easy. So he was like, all right, read the second panel. We'll tell you the punchline. So I, I believe it when you said you have these memorized.
Michael: I mean, it's like hearing a song, you know, when you've heard a song before.
Jimmy: Right. For sure. For sure. Well I'm excited then to just kind of get into it and let's see where the year 1956 takes us. All right, here we go.
January 1st, Charlie Brown is bundled up for winter and walking across the ice in the distance.
Shermy yells, “Hey Charlie Brown. I thought we were going to make a snowman.” Charlie Brown says” I changed my mind. It's too cold.” Charlie Brown continues to walk away. “No matter how much I wear, I still get cold. It must have thin blood.” Charlie Brown slips on the ice and is stuck. “Good grief. I've got so many clothes on.I can't move. I can't get up.” He struggles mightily to try to get himself up. “It's no use. I'm doomed. I'll never get home. I'll have to lie here until I freeze to death.” Snoopy comes up, looks at Charlie Brown, laying there, and then pushes him off the ice with his head as two other characters look on. And Charlie Brown thinks to himself, “this is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to me.”
Harold: and the shades of Randy and a Christmas story.
Jimmy: Oh, it is very a Christmas story. I can't put my arms down
Michael: but they would have that from this. I mean, that panel where he's struggling to get up is, is so classic.
Harold: Yeah. I mean, this is, this is one strip that I do remember reading in the reprint books as a little kid. And for some reason, this one really struck me.
Now. I grew up in Rochester, New York and we saw some, some pretty hefty winters and that actually, you know, Randy and Charlie Brown, I remember that feeling where he was so bundled up, that you can hardly move. And this strip, I, I selected it because it did stick in my memory and it just, it just one of those things where you haven't seen something for 50 years, And it, it, there's just something that sparks inside of you.
The other thing about this strip being the first of the year is interesting to look at Charles Schulz's art style is-- there's still a fair amount of detail in a fairly bleak landscape here. As he goes through the year I think as you can see his style continuing to loosen a little bit, he was so tight around like what, 1954. And he starting to loosen up, you see it in the lettering, you see it in the details. I guess one thing that Schulz did a lot in this kind of golden age period is it seems like he's very crisp on the characters faces. The lines are always just perfect. Charlie Brown's perfect head and the little eye and nose and mouth.
It's always a very clean pen line, but then everything around it starts to get looser. And I'm guessing that that is a conscious choice on Schulz's part. I think most of these things are given how, how brilliant he was. And he has this thing where if you have a really crisp line around the face, it draws your attention to it.
And as you go away from it, it's almost like, you know, when you focus on something and your peripheral vision starts to fuzz out, he's doing that in, in line art with, with you know, pen and ink where the bodies start to loosen up, the, the shading is, is kind of a rougher and freer. Then when you get down to the feet, there are these little scribbles and lines go off here and there.
And he starts to do that more and more. And I hadn't really noticed that. I think until we started rereading these strips and I said, wow, this is, this is a conscious decision on his part. And as a cartoonist, when I'm drawing the Sweetest Beasts comic, I'm like get trying to give myself permission to be looser in the style.
And when I was looking at some of Schulz's panels, I'm like, wow. You know, he, he is doing something that's really advanced here that I don't remember seeing other artists do. Maybe, maybe this was a thing that he, he also noticed an artist that he liked, but I hadn't seen someone who would direct your eye with what was clean and, and really beautifully design-y.
And then everything else is scratchier. So you focus on the character.
Jimmy: That's fascinating. Do you ever have those moments where like, you've never heard of something in your life? You know, you never heard of a chimichanga and then suddenly everywhere you turn, there are chimichangas or whatever, just last, I think that's universal, right? The chimichanga paradox.
Anyway, I was just contemplating this last night in regards to my own work. I was trying to think about peripheral vision. And I was thinking about perspective and thinking really, when I look around the world looks more like a Cezanne painting to me than like a Renaissance painting. Perspective because you're moving and we, you know, has, it's constantly shifting and you are, you do have a sort of blurred peripheral vision.
And it's, it's fascinating that you pointed that out in relation to Peanuts ‘cause I never thought about that, but in one uh, in another way it makes sense because. I think just ingrained in people's in cartoonist minds at the time is that the face was the most important thing. You'd have guys who had big studios, like Will Eisner with the Spirit or Al Capp with L’il Abner.
And like the rule was, anyone can ink the background or anyone can ink things here and there, but the face is like Al Capp, even when he wasn't doing much of anything else on L’il Abner was inking the faces. So I wonder if that was in the back of Schulz's mind going like that is the most important thing.
And it's just a function of I'm I'm putting all my time there and then you're having this sort of secondary effect of it, of it changing the depth of field almost.
Harold: Yeah. I don't know if it has to do with using his, his time wisely. I'm guessing that he did become aware that the looser stuff around it, not only was acceptable. It was desirable. It was what made the strip work better. I just seeing that he was so consistent with it, that he was making drawing styles because these are so iconic. These drawings are so-- a shoe on the Schulz world is a, is a certain kind of shoe, right? And, and a hand is a certain kind of hand once he gets into this.
I mean, he's experimenting around in these early years, which was, makes the early strips so fascinating, but he's starting to land on a version that's going to last a while-- that he seems comfortable with what he's doing. And I'm guessing, you know, when you, you look at Charlie Browns, I guess these are boots or galoshes.
These are choices he's making that are very, very consciously made because he's so consistent about it. And it wasn't like, well, I have some extra time today. I'm going to draw a really, really clean shoe,
Jimmy: Right. Oh yeah, for sure. For sure.
January 8th, Charlie Brown and Linus are standing out in a snowy field. Charlie Brown says, “this looks like a good spot. You build your snow fort way over there, Linus. And I'll build mine here.” As Linus walks away, Charlie Brown calls after him, “let me know when you're ready and we'll have a big battle.” We see Charlie Brown working diligently as he whistles to himself to make a complete circular 18-inch high wall of snow around him. And he says, “ah, an impregnable fortress of snow.” Then he plants his flag on a stick in the snow and says “that poor little kid will be sick with jealousy when he sees what I've built.” He walks towards Linus with a smile on his face only to see Linus ensconced in a huge, fairly realistic looking fortress saying “I'm not ready.” And Charlie Brown looks out at us chagrined.
Harold: All three of us mentioned this trip to talk about.
Michael: No, this is the Linus as savant thing that Schulz has been doing for a couple of years. He's just infinitely better at everything he does, effortlessly.
Jimmy: and doesn't seem aware of it
Jimmy: He just--I'm not ready. Yeah. He just thinks he can work on this and it can be better in a little bit.
I love when the real world of childhood gets heightened in the Peanuts world. And I would just like long to play in Linus’s snow fort. It's so cool looking, I love the way it's drawn. I love the tiny little Linus that's looking out from the top.
It's just, it's one of my favorite strips purely for the drawings.
Harold: I wonder where he got the castle door and the doors door handle. It's pretty impressive.
Jimmy: I assume that’s snow and ice, we should look at it in in color, if this is one of the strips that have been recolored. Cause I don't think it probably has been actually, but if it was, it'd be interesting to know.
Harold: The the thing that struck me here was I was just thinking about how characters can become special to people because they can do things no one else can do in comics. Certainly superheroes fulfill that. Popeye was like the first superhero. He was, you know, there's no explanation why eating spinach makes him super powerful.
But I think Schulz really is tying into something here where he, he roots the characters in a, an emotional reality. And yet he will go to these surreal places where they have, they're capable of doing things that you or I couldn't do. And I do think that, that it done right, can really endear a character to, to an audience.
You know, Snoopy is the classic example of that. You know, Snoopy continues to get more and more and more surreal and, you know, they use the Cheshire beagle. And I think that's a part of why Snoopy is so special to us is because he he's, he's rooted in being a dog, but then every once in a while, he takes us to this amazing place that we can't go. And yet we go with him, but emotionally it's, it's it, it just makes a character really powerful, especially if there is some grounding there to start.
Jimmy: Yeah, for sure. For sure. It's a Ferris Bueller's day off that kind of character where you just want to see someone who can do all the things you can't do.
I, I actually tried to do this in my last book, Seven Good Reasons Not To Grow Up. One of my thoughts was, was actually watching Ferris Bueller and going well, no, one's born Ferris Bueller, right? Well, what's this guy really? He had to decide to be like this. Right. And then the, the thing is, it's an illusion to everybody else to, it looks like magic, but behind the scenes, he's doing all kinds of-- like any magic act, you know, there are shenanigans, but I love that kind of character. I think it's really interesting.
To go back quickly just to the drawing thing, I actually wanted to ask you guys both a question. So I had a new experience. I drew my first ever comic strip completely digitally. It's not an Amelia or anything important, but I drew it digitally. And I had a question for, for both of you, because you both drew with traditional tools and Michael, I mean, most of by the end, most of Strange Attractors and stuff was a traditional brush, Right?
Michael: All of it,
Jimmy: All of it was a traditional brush. So when you guys switched to digital, I personally can still tell it's your art in a heartbeat. And I don't see the, the charm of it being worn off, but by digital. So I was wondering, do you guys set, are you trying to replicate analog tools with, are you trying to make your brushes work like real-world things, or are you just doing your own thing?
Michael: When I went digital for the first time. It was a short story, short fantasy story. And I hadn't drawn in a long time and I didn't know anything about the, any kind of digital drawing tools. So I basically drew this strip with a mouse.
Harold: Oh wow.
Michael: Which meant I could get zero brush effects. But what I ended up doing was just blowing everything up so tight that I I'd spend like an hour on the eyeballs trying to get all the little lines exactly perfect. And realized after awhile it gave it sort of a strange look because it didn't look at anything at all like my art, cause my inking was always my weakest point and it was always--I tried to be clean, but I was a sloppy inker. And then suddenly just by making the drawing so big that the inking became tighter than any human could do with, with real tools. And then when it shrunk it down, it has this totally different look. So I do think that did not look like my art at all, which has made me happy because I hated my art.
Jimmy: But see I can tell it’s to your art though. I could always tell it’s your art.
Michael: Not on the Kara story from Forbidden Book
Jimmy: No I know what one you're talking about, I know exactly which one you're talking about.
No, I could tell. I, I don't, I think we see our own art much differently and I know probably the three of us are hypercritical because that's just how we are. But I'm not sure how much of a difference the outs or if they do world did see a difference. They wouldn't be able to say, ah, that's digital. Or sometimes I can look at a piece of art and go, ah, that's digital.
And I feel the same way about yours, Harold. I don't. I look at that and I don't, it doesn't jump out at me and go, oh, that's done with the computer. Yeah. I was wondering if it was the same for you.
Harold: Yeah. I feel like I don't like it when I can tell something Is digital, or at least it takes a while for me to get past it.
But I think in my case, when I'm trying to ink Sweetest Beasts, it's, there was an ink style I always wanted to accomplish that I sometimes did well. And sometimes I felt like when you have, you know, you have like one chance at it on a piece of paper, unless you want to do some crazy white out thing.
And I was often drawing the characters and their expressions when I was writing the strip in the thumbnail. And then I would actually try to just retain that and blow that up and then like, not trace, but I would, I would take the tiny little thumbnail character that I had drawn because I was looser with it. And there was more expression and freedom is kind of like in the Manga rule where a character can change go off model as long as the, the expression and the emotion is true or Ren and Stimpy in the animation world. And I loved that and. You know, the cool thing about digital was I could absolutely be true to the original, rough drawing and then maybe, you know, clean it up a little bit.
And then when you go after it, on the ink side, I love the digital because I'm, I'm getting the brush stroke that I want. And maybe it takes three tries, but I get three tries. And so if the third one is what I wanted, that's wonderful because you, you know, it used to be, you just hope for the best that you know, you, sometimes you have to walk away from the table because you're just not able to draw first, but you're in your heads in the wrong place or whatever.
And here my head may be in the wrong place, but I have a third chance. I have a fifth chance to get that beautiful line. And if you ever look at any of the things on Instagram, when I do little reels of, they kind of have the sped up thing, Clip Studio Paint can record what you're, what you're drawing. It has a sped up version of what you do and you see the shimmering of the line.
And that's because I drew at redrew at redrew at redrew drew until I got the line I wanted. And that is, it was in fact, I, I had Clip Studio Paint years ago and I didn't use it because I was so disappointed with the brushes. The brush would not give me the brush that I was looking for.
And then that got fixed, you know, about three years ago. And I was like, wow, this is better than what I can do on a consistent basis on paper.
Michael: The frustrating thing is we all know about being a cartoonist is you've got a style, whether you want it or not
Harold: Right. Your style is your imperfection, right?
Michael: You can learn to copy, but basically if you're just drawing casually, it comes out you.
And you know, it is sort of a blend of, of all your influences, but. And it's more than just line control it. A lot of it, I think has to do with just the way you, you lay things out in your head, kind of the design of the panels. You know, we all have tendencies to put certain characters in certain places and balance things off in different ways.
You can't fight that. I mean, and that's how, you know, people are always amazed, you know, if you meet somebody who isn't, you know, a big comic fan and when they find out you can identify the inker in like any page by looking at one panel, you, you know exactly who inked it. And that person had a personality.
And I don't know if they were trying to get away from it or not, but it's just like a fingerprint and you just can't hide it.
Harold: And Charles Schulz. He just seems like he leans into his uniqueness. And, and I, so I so respect him for that. I think that's part of why cartoonists not only just for the characters and the writing, but the cartoonist really respect Schulz, because he, he does have this voice of the pen that's different than anybody else's.
And that is one of the joys of cartooning. I never thought of it, Michael, but yeah, it's like when I draw that drawing looks like something I created that little character I drew is my character and there's no getting around it. And if someone else draws my character, it's not my character. It's there, their my character.
And there is something special about that knowing, oh, wow. You know, there's some magic to see, oh my gosh, I put this down on paper and it, and it, it is my handwriting. And I don't know why that is, but this, if I didn't draw this little character, that character wouldn't exist and, and someone else can't fill that gap.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's the whole-- I know we're spending a million hours and we're on like the second strip of the year, but this is all really important stuff to me. And how did you just describe that about Schulz leans into his uniqueness? Is that what you said? Because that's boy, that is the thing you should tell every cartoonist lean into your uniqueness because that's what you can do it.
And it doesn't matter if it's digital or analog, because you're the one controlling it either way. And like Michael said, you're good. You have a style whether you want to or not. I mean, I basically did an entire comic book series called Shades of Gray before Amelia, (and before there was 50 Shades of Gray, thank you)
I was 15 when I came up with that stupid title, I have no idea what her excuse was, but while I'm proud of the stories I was trying to, I was intentionally trying to draw in a way that I can't really. And that's so stupid and it seems so obvious not to do that because I couldn't do it.
Harold: And yet at the same time, Jimmy, I have to tell you that the thing that, that I didn't get when I did my first comic book, which was called Apathy Cat back in 1995 was I thought I was going to be judged for the art. And nobody judged me for the art. Nobody said anything about the art. It was all about the storytelling. People seem to accept your art style as long as it has some inner consistency because they're used to seeing these different fingerprints. Jimmy, even though you say you were trying to draw in a way you can't draw that falling short, I think is, is a fingerprint, right?
Jimmy: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Oh for sure. I mean like and maybe we've already said this, but the Will Eisner quote that your mistakes are your style, the sum of your mistakes is your style.
Harold: Yeah and so, you know, maybe Shades of Gray falls short for you, but for me, at least it's just your fingerprint. And I, it seems like audiences have, have learned to appreciate that.
They seem not to mind those imperfections. They almost expect them. And that's kind of freeing for an artist. I mean, obviously there's some things that you try that you feel, or maybe you do fall away short. Right. But, you know, it's like, Like El Greco was like, what, what were you doing? Stretching bodies out you.
I was like, is that a failure? Is that, is that a fingerprint? it's really, I guess in the eye of the beholder,
January 16th, Lucy is sitting at a table writing on a piece of paper. Charlie Brown is in the background. Lucy turns to him and says, “Can birds fly to the moon Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown angrily says, “Good grief. How should I know?” Lucy goes back to scribbling on her paper. “I'll put down that they can. I'm writing an essay on birds for school.” Lucy quotes from her paper to Charlie Brown. “Certain types of birds have been known to fly as far as the moon and back.” Lucy turns and says,”I feel that for an article, such as this, it's a good idea to bring out little known facts.”
Michael: Oh God. There's no Google in those days.
Jimmy: Lucy would crush it on social media though wouldn't she? Birds fly to the moon.
Michael: I think this was not reprinted.
Jimmy: Yeah. I don't remember this one either.
Michael: I think it's like hilariously funny.
Jimmy: Very, very funny. This reminds me-- again, I can only talk about three things, but when the Beatles could throw away like Rain as a B-side because eh, whatever. Anybody else would be running in the streets, screaming about what a great thing they've done, but Schulz is like, ah, we don't need to reprint that one. It's not my all time level of brilliance. But it's funny.
January 18th, Linus walks up to Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is sitting there and Linus says, “Will you be my friend, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown stands up and shakes Linus his hand saying, “Why sure,. Linus, I'd be glad to be your friend.” Linus and Charlie Brown walked down the street, a huge grin on Charlie Brown's face as Linus says, “Lucy told me it was about time I made a few friends, so I figured I'd better start right at the bottom.” And Charlie Brown is of course chagrined.
This is one of the ones that gave me a, gave me goosebumps because Linus, just walking up saying, will you be my friend Charlie Brown is like the greatest thing ever, because if there is an aspect of Peanuts, that is my all time, all time favorite, it probably is the relationship between Charlie Brown and Linus just because I think it works so well, and the younger character being the wiser one. And the other thing that I, that struck me about this is this is all Charlie Brown wanted, and yes, it didn't come out necessarily the way you'd hope. But this is someone who wants to be his friend and he forgets about it in like a week. And it's still saying nobody likes him. No one wants to be his friend, but Linus will be.
Michael: But this one is really strange. This is kind of the anti-Shermy test where I don't see Linus saying that. Linus is always very careful about not hurting people's feelings.
Harold: Is he at this time though?
Michael: Well, I don't know. Is he just oblivious?
Jimmy: Yeah, this is his, this is his first interaction with a friend. And, and really, if you think about it, his socialization has come from Lucy. It's a miracle he's not a serial killer.
Harold: Yeah. This version of is, it seems like he's in the balance right now, between. Yeah, he's got, he's got anger issues. He's got kind of disconnection issues with everybody else.
And this seems to be kind of part of that disconnection that is in the early Linus. And he does somewhat grow out of that. Although he's still disconnected in his own way in later strips. But yeah, this is not something I think Linus would have done even two years later.
Michael: I can actually see this with a Lucy.
Jimmy: But the difference is I don't think Linus isn't either being cruel and I don't think he's trying intentionally to get Charlie Brown's goat. He's just saying. I think, I think it's very, it's naive. Like, oh, well, okay. Well I had to start at the bottom, so, all right. Cause he's focused on that now I got a friend. You start at the bottom, but all right.
Harold: Yeah. And yet I still want to be Linus his friend, even though you'd say that about me because he's Linus, you know, it's a, it's a, it's a complex strip emotionally I think.
Michael: It’s a little disturbing.
Harold: It's, it's not, it's not just you know, these characters were cardboard It would be a, you know, the characters feet would fall back and he'd see the feet and go plop.
Jimmy: Right. Michael, you said it's disturbing. Yeah. Why is it disturbing?
Michael: It's cause that's a really cruel thing to say and to not have-- to have a character like Linus is really the only one who's who shows the empathy to everyone to be so oblivious of what he's saying.
Jimmy: Well, yeah, I give, he has he has points for being young. That's his first interaction.
Michael: I’ll forgive him.
Jimmy: I’ll give Linus a pass for this
January 19th. Lucy is closely reading a book, which has propped up on an ottoman. Her nose is buried in the pages. In the second panel. The book is now on the floor and Lucy is somehow even closer. Her nose touching the pages. She stands up carrying the book and says, “I give up. There's no use trying.” She walks over to Charlie Brown and says, “no matter how hard I try, I can't read between the lines.”
Michael: This is something he might've observed in his kids because kids, I remember when I'd first come across a phrase, I'd always take it literally. And so this doesn't seem too impossible that some kid might actually try to do this.
Jimmy: I have to admit, I remember thinking about that phrase, literally. I never tried to do it, but I do remember being baffled-- between the lines??
January 29th. We see Charlie Brown out by the old frozen pond, putting on his ice skates. He skates out onto the ice and suddenly is confused because someone is coming up behind him. “Oh, good grief.” It's Snoopy who's up on his hind paws skating like a pro. He then circles back and zips over Charlie Brown's head. Then he does a hairpin turn around Charlie Brown. Suddenly he swishes past Charlie Brown goes flying in the air. Wham. He lands on the ice, cracking it. And the last panel we have Charlie Brown dragging Snoopy home on a sled. Now Snoopy is decked out in Charlie Brown's winter clothes like a shock blanket saying “when, when, when, when, when will I ever learn.”
Michael: This is a case where Schulz steals from himself because he used this exact same punchline in a similar comic from last year.
Jimmy: Yeah, and I think he does it again. I think this is this is another version of that theme and variation. I think, I don't think he's meaning, I don't think he's trying to get away with recycling a joke so much as he is trying to add to the joke by having your recollection of the previous joke still in mind. I think.
Harold: Maybe he's trying to create a catch phrase.
Michael: He's reinforcing it. Yeah.
Jimmy: But that's weird when you think about it, because like how long ago was the last one? A long time ago, right? In real time.
Michael: I think it was last year maybe.
Jimmy: So at least a few weeks. A few months. With no internet, you know, most people read it once and threw the paper away.
So it's, it's pretty confident to think, oh, people will remember.
Harold: I wonder if you got good feedback on that strip and he was like, Hey, maybe that's something I can, maybe that's something I can continue.
Jimmy: Yeah. It could be that. And it could also be that every once in a while, he just wants to let rip with the drawing.
And this is so fun to watch Snoopy's zipping around on the ice. My favorite actually is the last panel in the second tier of Snoopy doing that hairpin turn, just cause I love it when the characters are small in the space and you can sort of see the vastness
Harold: yeah. How do you describe the, the the expression on Snoopy's face with his ears going back? And he's got the little, that little horizontal line for the eye with like, his eyes are closed. He's so good at what he's doing.
Jimmy: Oh yeah. Zen. He is just in the moment in the zone. I played basketball in high school. And for one quarter I felt like what they say in the zone and never repeated it. Never did it before, but that moment where you just like, oh yeah, everything, everything is right.
That's what Snoopy's feeling right there.
Harold: I love Snoopy in Charlie Brown's get up with sticking out of the little Minnesota hat and a gigantic coats. So cute in the last panel.
Jimmy: Very cute. I also liked that he sets up that Charlie Brown has a sled to carry Snoopy home on. And the first panel we that's what Charlie Brown is sitting on when he puts his skates on. Very nice.
February 4th Linus stands, defiantly his arms folded across his chest. He says, “boy, am I stubborn. I'm the most stubborn person alive.” He yells into the distance. “I'm like a rock-- permanent, immovable, fixed.” Snoopy comes shooting in from behind knocking him over like a battering ram. Linus, now flat on his back is still yelling at the sky saying “steadfast, unalterable unyielding.”
Michael: So Harold, is this an anger strip? What is Snoopy's motivation here?
Harold: Yeah. This is an anger strip. I think this, I mean, you could also call it determination. That's always a, fine line.
Michael: We haven't gotten to the Snoopy versus the blanket where him and Linus are at war over the blanket, but this just seems to be Snoopy, just trying to bowl this little kid over.
Harold: Snoopy seems to have a really low opinion of. Linus and Lucy in this year.
Michael: I wonder why
Harold: He is giving no mercy to them.
February 6th, Violet is yelling at Charlie Brown in the distance. We see Shermy looking on. Violet says “I'm having a big party, Charlie Brown, but I'm not going to invite you.” Charlie Brown is very upset. He says “Rats.” Shermy comes over to console him and says, “don't let it bother you. She's just being mean.” Charlie Brown yells to the sky. “I can't help it. Rats, rats, rats.” He then calmly turns to Shermy and says “whenever she goes to all that trouble to hurt me, I sort of feel obligated to let it bother me.”
Michael: Shermy. Shermy is certainly a good friend.
Jimmy: Isn't he? It is time right now. We need to check it. Let's check the Shermometer. I think this is my pick for adding a new character trait to Shermy. Right. What, what would we say? This he's compassionate. Yeah. He's compassionate.
Harold: Yeah. Empathetic. Yeah, he's a nice, nice guy. I kind of like his presence there in this strip.
Jimmy: So we have now officially, we are calling it. We are adding compassionate to the list of Shermy characteristics on the Shermometer. So as of 1956, this character who we previously disparaged as having no personality traits is officially a compassionate, patient, pedantic, good listening, vain, friendly hypocrite.
Michael: well-rounded character
Harold: I like this Shermy,
Jimmy: That is a well-rounded character. He's essentially. He's great. He's like the Hamlet of a 1950s comic strips. He's fantastic. So, all right. That was this week's episode of the Shermometer.
February 8th, Snoopy sits by himself, smiling. He thinks, “A kangaroo, that's what I'd like to be. Boy, I go jumping all over the place.” We cut to Shermy and Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown hears something in the distance and says,”Listen.” Shermy asks “what's the matter?” Charlie Brown says, “I thought I heard something go bwang. Shermy says, “you're losing your mind, Charlie Brown.” Then we see Snoopy hopping by in the foreground bwang bwang bwang.
Michael: Okay, well, this is one of many Snoopy animal imitations throughout the year, and we don't have to do them all, but let's see, he does a giraffe. He does a kangaroo. He does an elephant. He does an alligator, a lion, a snake, a python, separate snake, and then imitates Lucy. So this is definitely Snoopy's big schtick this year.
Harold: And also in this particular strip Shermy goes back to where we first saw him when the very first strip where he’s just a little bit critical of Charlie Brown.
Jimmy: Yeah, it goes back to Shermy being slightly older feeling. I think you know that he's maybe a little bit beyond these kids.
Michael: Well, Shermy is saying you're losing your mind Charlie Brown. And it's my theory-- and when we come to those strips, I will point it out, that Charlie Brown actually is losing his mind.
Jimmy: Oh, I can see that. I can absolutely see that. I can't wait to hear more.
February 11th, Charlie Brown is walking away from Patty. Who's screaming at him saying, “Dope. Fool, simpleton.” Charlie Brown turns back and says “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” He walks away. Then in the last panel, we see him being hit in the head by a stick and narrowly misses being hit by a stone.
Michael: I can't believe no one's used this gag before.
Jimmy: Well, they probably have,
Michael: in retrospect, it's really obvious, but I don't know if I've seen it.
Jimmy: Well maybe in Winnie Winkle. Wasn't that that character's name in the, or Harold Teen, maybe
Harold: Harold Teen. I think there probably_______
Jimmy: They probably did a sticks and stones in Harold Teen.
Harold: Yeah, we'll have to do a big Archie database check.
February 12th Linus approaches his toy box, where he removes from it two small toy telephones that are connected by single wire. They are very tangled. Linus works to untangle them. He works to untangle them in one panel, two panels, three panels, four panels, 5 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 panels of him getting progressively wilder and more frustrated As he tries to untangle these phones. Then he walks away completely enwrapped by the phones and their cords, just to go back, sit with his thumb in his mouth, his blanket next to his cheek, a scowl on his face, completely wrapped up in the toy phone cords.
Michael: This is me with headphone wires. How do they do that?
Jimmy: And we, you know what, we should get a physicist on here. Explain how that happens.
Harold: Yeah. I think he tries a few angles here. We haven't seen before in, in the Schulz that bottom tier far left where he's upside down with his legs, legs, splayed.
Jimmy: It's really funny.
Harold: and for some reason his, his his hair is he must be using Brillcream. I don't know what's going on or some
Jimmy: Just great drawing all across it. It's, it's beautiful. I would love to have like a, a, a wall sized poster in black and white of that, that panel Harold just described. I think it would look like a great piece of modern art on the wall. So good.
February 16th, Patty and Violet are walking in the snowy landscape. Patty says, “don't you think Rin Tin, Tin and Lassie are wonderful?” Violet says, “I don't think there's another dog in the whole world that can compare with them.” They both are smiling as they continue to walk on the ice saying, “I don't think so either.” Just then Snoopy zips by them confidently up on his hind legs, skating up a storm.
This is the other strip that gave me chills because to me, this is Charles Schulz, you know, laying down the gauntlet. He is saying, my creation is not only equal to these other pop cultural phenomenons, but probably probably greater, which for a very shy, retiring, cartoonist from Minnesota, I love the sheer gutsiness of it.
Michael: Kicks their butts.
Jimmy: Yeah. And he's right.
Harold: Yeah. They, they had TV series at this point and Snoopy did not. He had not yet to have the opportunity to be on television, but he's going to be there soon.
Jimmy: Yeah. You know, that made me wonder. It took 15 years for Peanuts to become animated and, and put on television in the form of a special. Not many cartoons or comic strips that were really became animated specials back then were there? I mean, there were few, there were like Dick Tracy had a TV show but that was even in the sixties, an animated show. It wasn't like--
Harold: Barney Google and Snuffy Smith and a Krazy Kat and well, actually King Features owned an animation studio. So they were like, okay, let's use all of our characters. Beetle Bailey was animated for a while.
Michael Really? I don't remember that.
Harold: Popeye of course.
Jimmy: Of course Popeye. Oh, this is the second time we mentioned Popeye. Do you guys know how Popeye originally got his powers? Not the, not the spinach. Do you know the original___?
Harold and Michael: No
Jimmy: Rubbing the hairs on the head of the wiffle hen. Less catchy.
Michael: Hard to market.
Jimmy: Also the whole first Popeye's story is like a complex Christ analogy. We won't get into that one. Popeye's starts up really odd strip.
Michael: Okay. Can I bring up a cartoonist thing on this strip?
Michael: Okay. I don't know if most non cartoonists would know the term “spotting blacks”, but it's been pounded in our heads.
Harold: There's some, there’s some.
Michael: You have to, if you put blacks on a, you know, we're talking about a black and white cartoon, they need to balance in the panel. So if you have a big black area on one side of the panel, you need to balance it with a black area on the other side of the panel. And there are masters of this.
May I mentioned Alex Toth, who I hate, who people talk about “Boy he could really spot blacks.” In this strip. Schulz is ignoring that completely cause he's got Violet, the brunette wearing a black coat and Patty, the blonde wearing a white coat. And so all the blacks are off to one side and there's nothing to balance them.
Harold: Well, as a, as a self-taught cartoon is I never knew that you were supposed to balance the blacks.
Jimmy: Oh really?
Jimmy: So this is like 60 percent of my mental space while I'm drawing is thinking about that very thing.
Harold: Well, I guess I’ll become a better cartoonist as a result of this podcast.
Jimmy: Like the actual physical act of drawing, because I'm never happy with the way I do it. I think I'm slowly becoming worse.
Michael: Well start noticing it. Harold, if you're reading a like Jaime Hernandez, he's like the master.
Jimmy: The master for sure.
Harold: I'll have to check it out.
Michael: And in some somehow it, it, it just makes it all, even though you're not conscious of it, it makes it all seem right.
Harold: For some reason, I always thought spotting blacks was, was filling them in, you know, that's what I was spotting blacks meant. This is a news to me.
Jimmy: And by the way, I just got your earlier joke of spotting blacks, there’s one. That's very clever. I'm sorry. I wasn't sharp enough to catch it in the moment.
Harold: Well I wasn’t sharp enough to catch the real meanings.
Michael: The last panel is spotted nicely.
Jimmy: Well, let me ask you this now, though, when you're reading this, does it bother you?
Michael: No, I would never think about it, but it, when we looked at it, I first went like, boy, the black is really black and so it drew attention to itself.
Jimmy: Okay. And you could, you would think if he, another way you would utilize spotting black, if you're drawing, if it's drawing your attention would be to have Violet be the one who was always the one talking, but she only has one of the three speaking lines. So that's, that's weird too. He cannot it's so spare thatI think he can get away with almost anything because he gets the characters are always perfect. He is a, such a unique artist. It's, it's really interesting and inspiring to watch, but it's also on some level, a little bit frustrating because I can't, if I would, if, if I drew a panel that was that out of whack, in terms of lights and dark, it would look like it was out of whack. His never does.
Michael: Well I don't believe in rules in general.
Harold: Well, I think what he, he, he centers, he centers Violet,
Michael: But you can’t center them when there’s only 2 characters, that's the thing. But all it takes-- it’s not like there has to be…
Harold: But he kind of does though if you look at that first panel who she's, she's almost dead center. The black___
Jimmy: That’s true actually. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. If you look at it,
Michael: But all it would take it to conform to the rule. Yeah. It's not like you need an equal amount of black on the other side, it's just, if there was like a black tree on a panel 2 behind Patty, just a thin black tree, that would do it, but it's not important.
I don't think it's important, but you always, when you read cartooning books, they make a big deal of it.
Jimmy: Yeah. Well, here's another question for you, Michael. This is peeling back the curtain a little bit too, because Michael and I have had some of these conversations for 26 years now. And one of the great Michael Cohen tenets when drawing a comic is that if there's something in the background, you have to draw it, right?
I mean, because you picture the frame of the, of the panel is like, you're looking at a photograph essentially. And if a camera was taking the picture, you have to somehow account for what's in there. Does it bother you as a reader when that doesn't happen.
Michael: No cause you don't notice it. See that all I'm trying to do with detail backgrounds is, is trying to distract the reader from the fact that I can't draw.
Jimmy: That is not true at all. Well, it might be true that that's what you're trying to do, but you can draw.
Michael: But my whole line of influence is just the complete opposite of yours because you know, mine would go back to Al Williamson and the photo realists who were like totally into getting the backgrounds right. Which I never could do.
Jimmy: Yeah. Well, I would say I love that stuff, you know, I, yeah,
Michael: but that would be my, my dream was always to draw like those guys and I never thought of getting more cartoony and simplified.
February 21st, Lucy and Charlie Brown are hanging out at the wall. Charlie Brown says, “another few weeks and all the birds will be coming back.” They walk away and Lucy says “Coming back? Coming back from where?” Charlie Brown says “from the south, don't, you know, the birds fly south for the winter.” Lucy kicks her head back and laughs. “In all my life, Charlie Brown, I've never known anyone with an imagination like yours.”
Michael: And his stomach hurts.
Jimmy: This is, so this is where we're getting into the theme and variation thing, because we're going to be seeing a strip, a few strips of this. We're not gonna read them all. Charlie Brown arguing about reality with Lucy who finds Charlie Brown's take on reality hilarious.
Michael” So what we've got here is a good standalone one-shot strip and Schulz takes this and worked some themes off of it. So this runs for four days in a row where Lucy just thinks this is the most ridiculous thing in the world at birds, fly south for the winter and tries to come up with some arguments saying chickens are birds aren't they? They fly south for the winter. And then finally she realizes that he is telling the truth because she asked her teacher about it.
Jimmy: I think that last strip is so funny. Let me read that one.
February 24th, Lucy is walking behind Charlie Brown, her head hung low. Charlie Brown looks quite satisfied with himself. As Lucy says, “I asked my teacher today about this bird business.” Charlie Brown says, “Oh?” In panel two, Charlie Brown is still smiling, very self-satisfied. Lucy says, “She said you were right Charlie Brown.” Some birds do fly south during the winter.” Lucy is back to contemplating reality at the wall. “You know what?” Charlie Brown asks “What?” Lucy says, “I think I'll see if they'll let me change teachers.”
That's the 21st century America, if you don't like the reality, someone else will tell you a different reality and then you can just go listen to them. So Lucy is 70 years ahead of her time.
Jimmy: Lucy would rule the world if she was a real person in this era.
Harold: now in Lucy's defense, she is right about a, chicken's not flying south for the winter and it's some birds in number four.
Jimmy: Yeah. Well, that's how they get it. It's a false equivalency.
Harold: Well, but he didn't say all birds birds. Well, he did say all of the birds will be coming back. So, you know, there's a little bit of, you know, error on Schulz’s-- not Schulz’s part but on
Charlie Brown’s part.
Michael: Wishy washy Harold
Harold: Mostly on Lucy’s
Jimmy: No, that's the problem. Charlie Brown is 99.9%. Right? So if you say 0.1%,
Harold: But not in communication, he's not 99%. Right. In communication. He said all the birds will be coming back and that it was, that could be misconstrued honestly. Now Lucy takes it to great extreme.
Jimmy: Well, yeah, because that's what it's actually about. It's about finding that 0.1%, that allows you to keep your version of reality in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that's the problem and go, well, these are, this was wrong. So I must be right when no, this was,
Harold: I don't know. He says all birds and she's she has problems with.
Jimmy: Yeah. And that's why we are where we are. I understand why she's thickheaded and ignorant. I'm just saying it's not a good thing.
Harold: Well, all right, well, I'm just saying Charlie Brown was wrong. Allb irds do not come back.
Jimmy: All right. Hey, you know what, why don't we stop there?
I know it's only February, right? So, but why don't we stop there for this episode? Because I had us talk so long about the craft of cartooning, which let's face it. That's the only reason I really wanted to do this whole podcast is to, is to talk about cartooning with my pals and discuss the greatest comic strip of all time.
But we'll be back next week where we will continue 1956, where we have tons of great stuff still to discuss Peanuts just keeps getting better and better and better. I'll tell you what come back next week and we'll get right back to it. Until then you can check us out on our social media at unpackpeanuts. That's on both Instagram and Twitter, or you can also go to Unpacking Peanuts.com and you can go vote on your favorite strips of the year as we've been calling them out for the past few episodes. You can sign up for the great Peanuts reread and you could just, or you could just shoot us an email and let us know how you're doing. Cause I'm, I'm concerned. I want to make sure you're doing well.
So come back next week and that's what we're going to do until then. I'm Jimmy from Michael and Harold, be of good cheer.
Michael Yes. Be of good cheer.
Harold: Be of good cheer.
VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen and Harold Buchholz. Produced by Liz Sumner, music by Michael Cohen, additional voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark. For more from the show, follow @unpackpeanuts on Instagram and Twitter. For more about Jimmy, Michael, and Harald visit UnpackingPeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day. And thanks for listening, you blockhead.