Sunday morning newspaper comic strips, paper back comic books, and online comic strips are all animated mediums of their own right. Their characters are rich, storied, and part of many of our childhoods. Also, they translate over to animated action particularly well because the work is already half done. But the problem is the overshadowing effect and the lack of knowledge of the original work.
Charlie Brown is best known in my parent’s generation as the lead character in a comic strip by Charles Schulz called Peanuts. This strip ran all the way from 1950 to 2000 and still has re-runs in many newspapers today. But the newer generations know Charlie Brown better as the lead in many seasonal and holiday themed specials that run every year in tandem with particular holidays. When I asked my 20 year old roommate what she knows about Charlie Brown, her first response was, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” When I asked further, she had only heard in passing that Charlie Brown used to be in a comic strip but that she most associated it with the holiday specials and television shows.
But how could my roommate feel wrong when it is just so easy to make a comic strip into a animated feature? Look at the similarities of this peanuts strip and Charlie Brown special.
Besides color, music, voices, and more detailed mats the character design, characters, and plot are the same. But the reason it resounds more with a newer generation is because it has things like sound and color. Comic Strips seemed to have become dull to the newer generations and the best way to have a good comic like Charlie Brown become popular was to make specials like It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. More evidence to this argument would be the sheer amount of comic characters who have become part of feature films. Almost every Marvel and DC comic character has a feature film now (i.e. Superman), online comic strips like Cyanide and Happiness have started doing animated shorts, and the television industry has taken comic characters and made them TV shows for years now. So can we say for sure if the mediums have totally crossed into one another or are we seeing the disintegration of the comic?