Take The Paxil, Charlie Brown

The miserable children of Charles M. Schulz

Schulz went on to become the most phenomenally successful and influential cartoonist of all time. But the insecurity stayed. Schulz seems to have known that this contradiction implies limits rather than virtues, and his stubborn disappointment is the butt of Peanuts. ("Nobody loves me." "That's not true, Charlie Brown...We love you." "Yes, but nobody important loves me!") The artist introduced Lucy as a reminder to Charlie Brown that real-life pain isn't necessarily heroic. She's the id to Charlie Brown's crushed ego, which is why she's so much funnier than the other characters that make their debut in 1950 to 1952--Schroeder (Schulz's cute monument to classical-music enthusiasm), Snoopy (still on all fours, but already a cooler version of Schulz), and Linus (a gentle baby).

Lucy is Charlie Brown liberated from the need to please, Sparky freed from the worries that weighed on him in real-life boyhood and adulthood--doing well in sports, blending in, not offending anybody. Lucy pulls away that football for the first time in 1952 to send Charlie Brown crashing, but you can bet she has a good reason.

"I was afraid your shoes might be dirty, Charlie Brown," she says. "I don't want anyone with dirty shoes kicking my new football."

Charles M. Schulz

Who would?

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