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Charles M. Schulz was born November 25, 1922, in Minneapolis. His destiny was foreshadowed when an uncle gave him, at the age of two days, the nickname Sparky (after the racehorse Spark Plug in the newspaper strip Barney Google). His ambition from a young age was to be a cartoonist and his first success was selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post between 1948 and 1950. He also sold a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press. After writing and drawing the feature for two years, Schulz asked for a better location in the paper or for daily exposure, as well as a raise. When he was turned down on all three counts, he quit. He started submitting strips to the newspaper syndicates and in the spring of 1950, United Feature Syndicate expressed interest in Li'l Folks. They bought the strip, renaming it Peanuts, a title Schulz always loathed. The first Peanuts daily appeared October 2, 1950; the first Sunday, January 6, 1952. Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Day-and the day before his last strip was published, having completed 17,897 daily and Sunday strips, each and every one fully written, drawn, and lettered entirely by his own hand -- an unmatched achievement in comics. Matt Groening (b. 1954) is an Emmy Award-winner, best known for co-creating animated TV series such as The Simpsons and Futurama. He also created the long-running alt-weekly strip Life In Hell for which he won a Reuben Award (2002) by the National Cartoonist Society. Jonathan Franzen is a National Book Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
"Even the most demanding Peanuts fan couldn't ask for more. [Grade:
"The chance to see the early "Peanuts--much of it never before reprinted--is a real treat."