Blog Post #11: Because Comics Integrate So Well… Comics Are Lost to Animated Features.

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.

Peanuts - January 1, 2010

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?

I commented on Ian Crawford’s Blog and Bonnie Hansen’s Blog.

Published in: on April 10, 2010 at 2:31 PM  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I personally grew up reading more of the Peanuts comic than actually watching the tv specials, but that is just me. I do think that animation though is taking over for the comic in some ways because I think that people are more entertained by being able to watch a scene take place then having to piece together the scenes themselves by reading a comic.

  2. […] commented on Myca Taylor’s blog and Kristina Wade’s […]

  3. You do make a pretty valid point in regards to comics losing out to feature films. Like the previous comment, I agree with the fact that most people are far more entertained watching a film rather than reading a comic strip. I hate to admit it, but I happen to be one of them. I used to always read the comic section of the Washington Post every Sunday, but as I have gotten older, I find myself less interested. I was never really interested in any of the “novel” like comics, like “The Watchmen” or those “X-Men” comics. But I do find myself far more entertained by the movie versions of each. It seems that everything is losing out to the movies these days though.

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  5. You make a valid point here in your post. I think the question you post in the end is particularly poignant, though. I would personally argue that we are witnessing the end of the comic strip as we once knew it. Not to say that they will end entirely, but I believe they will only continue to exist as a “niche” market, supporting the films and shorts that use their characters instead of the other way around. It’s not a sustainable practice on behalf of movie studios; eventually there will be no original comic strip material from which to create new (and invaluably familiar) films from. If this does happen, it will be interesting to see where the new animated feature films draw their source material from!

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  7. Newspapers were the major medium where most popular comic strips started. Unfortunately, papers are themselves becoming obsolete with most of our news migrating to internet sources. I also think that most of the “strip” comics today do not have the imagination of Peanuts. My favorite was Calvin and Hobbs. Bill Watterson the animator of that strip stopped drawing the strip because of his battle on marketing/copywrite.

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