Schulz, Charles M. “Sparky”


Printed sketch of the immortal “Peanuts” gang inscribed and signed by their creator, Charles Schulz


Type: Signed printed sketch
Description: (1922-2000) American cartoonist, creator of the comic strip “Peanuts”, widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time.

Minnesota born and raised, nicknamed “Sparky” after the horse Spark Plug in the comic strip “Barney Google” which Schulz enjoyed reading while growing up.

Hi’s first group of regular cartoons, a weekly series of one-panel jokes called  “L’il Folks” was published June 1947-Jan. 1950 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Schulz usually doing 4 one-panel drawings per issue. He first used the name “Charlie Brown” for a character in “L’il Folks”. Later in 1950, Schulz approached United Features Syndicate with the one-panel series Li’l Folks, and the syndicate was interested but preferred the 4-panel version. Peanuts debuted October 2, 1950, in 7 newspapers, the weekly Sunday page on Jan. 6, 1952. After a slow start, Peanuts eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time, as well as one of the most influential.

At its height, Peanuts was published daily in 2,600 papers in 75 countries, in 21 languages. Over nearly 50 years, Schulz drew 17,897 published Peanuts strips. The strips, plus merchandise and product endorsements, produced revenues $1B+/year, with Schulz earning an estimated $30-$40M annually. The 1st collection of Peanuts strips was published July 1952 and many more books followed, greatly contributing to the strip’s increasing popularity. The 1st animated TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired December 1965 and won an Emmy. Numerous TV specials followed, the latest, “Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown”, in 2011. Until his death, Schulz wrote or co-wrote the TV specials and carefully oversaw their production.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum counts Milton Caniff (“Terry and the Pirates” & “Steve Canyon”) and Bill Mauldin as key influences on Schulz’s work. In his own strip, Schulz regularly described Snoopy’s annual Veterans Day visits with Mauldin, including mention of Mauldin’s WW II cartoons.

In 1958, Schulz and his family moved to Sebastopol, California where he built his first studio. By 1969, Schulz had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where he lived and worked until his death.

Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In 1981, he was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the US.

In Nov. 1999, Schulz suffered several small strokes and a blocked aorta, and was later found to have metastasized colon cancer.  Because of chemotherapy and that he could not see clearly, he announced his retirement December 14, 1999 and died 2 months later. He was honored on May 27, 2000, by cartoonists of more than 100 comic strips, who paid homage to him and Peanuts by incorporating his characters into their strips that day. While United Features retained ownership of the strip, Schulz requested the syndicator allow no other artist to draw Peanuts. United Features honored his wishes, instead syndicating reruns.

Schulz received the National Cartoonists Society’s Humor Comic Strip Award in 1962 for Peanuts and its Elzie Segar Award in 1980, and was also the first 2-time winner of their Reuben Award and their Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1996 was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame adjacent to Walt Disney’s.

On June 7, 2001, Schulz’s widow accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of her late husband in a public ceremony. Schulz was inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2007. US Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps were issued in 2015.

A proponent of manned spaceflight, Schulz was honored with the naming of Apollo 10 command module Charlie Brown and lunar module Snoopy launched May 18, 1969. The Silver Snoopy Award is a special honor awarded to NASA employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to human flight safety or mission success.

In 2000, the Sonoma County airport was renamed the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in his honor. The airport’s logo features Snoopy in goggles and scarf, taking to the skies on top of his red doghouse. The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa opened August 17, 2002, 2 blocks from his former studio, celebrating his life’s work and the art of cartooning. A bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in Depot Park in downtown Santa Rosa. Schulz’s Santa Rosa home was completely destroyed during the October 2017 California wildfires.

8 x 10 green heavy paper printed sketch of Charlie Brown, Schroeder at his piano with Snoopy perched on it, Lucy and Linus Van Pelt (holding his blanket, right thumb in his mouth), inscribed and signed in orange ink at bottom by Schulz. With color magazine portrait of Schulz and his beloved “Peanuts” characters Snoopy and Woodstock, for matting and framing.

Condition: Very good

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