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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Peanuts comic strip; pen-and-ink; "Charlie Brown Humiliated;" $11,000. Photo courtesy of Illustration House
“Don’t let your team down by showing up,” Lucy announces to Charlie Brown.

Lucy was talking to the same kid who never received valentines on Valentine’s Day, the same kid who received rocks instead of Halloween candy and the same kid whose baseball team never scored a victory.

All the rejections of childhood showed up in Charlie Brown’s life. Even so, he never turned his back on the possibility of a better ending next time. Brown always clung to his faith in the goodness of human nature.

Despite the torment of his peers and together with his merry band of cohorts, Brown experienced all the inferiority and loneliness normal to children and did it like a grown-up sage. In fact, the Peanuts’ comic strip characters seemed to show more philosophical gumption than most adults possessed.

Were these comic strip characters really children or adults? In the end it didn’t matter. Charlie Brown was “everyman” getting walloped in life by the bullies and dusting off his trousers for another go at it.

Healing through humor was the gift to be had in Peanuts. Like a bolt of lightning blasting through the clouds, Peanuts jolted us with the comic side of the ridiculous. Charlie Brown reminded us again what it was to be human.

“I don’t know where those witty little statements the kids say to one another come from. I just take that blank piece of paper and go at it, cold-blooded, day after day, Charles Schulz, the cartoon’s creator said.

Nobody had a juicer role than Lucy. It has been said that Lucy took her meals from a high chair when she was first introduced into the comic in 1952 and has been looking down on the world ever since. Domineering and egotistical, if life was mostly made up of questions, Lucy had the answers.

Charles Schulz holds the rank of introducing one of the most popular comic strips in its 52-year history, appearing in more than 2,000 newspapers and translated into more than two dozen languages. With a clean and uncluttered drawing style, Schulz’s characters offered a simple yet razor-sharp take on the world.

“I don’t know why we are here,” Schulz said. “I think life is full of anxieties and fears and tears. It has a lot of grief in it, and it can be very grim. And I do not want to be the one who tries to tell somebody else what life is about. To me it’s a complete mystery.”

Knowing life to be a mystery, Schulz made us laugh at ourselves and our sticky situations anyway. Just hours before the final Peanuts strip appeared in newspapers around the world, Charles Schulz died on Feb. 12, 2000.

On May 10, Illustration House in New York City featured several original Charles Schulz comic strips in its auction. The value of the items offered reflects the fame of the artist and the fact that they were original drawings. Here are some current values for Schulz and other comic artists.

Charles M. Schulz

Peanuts comic strip; pen-and-ink; Violet’s dad has been doing a lot of reading; April 6, 1964; signed center right; 5 1/2 inches by 27 inches; $5,500.

Peanuts comic strip; pen-and-ink; Manager Charlie Brown is humiliated by the other team’s reaction; signed lower right; April 22, 1957; 5 1/2 inches by 27 inches; $11,000.

Billy DeBeck

Barney Google comic strip; pen-and-ink; Barney and Sunshine do their utmost to avoid the arriving Captain Jawge; July 4, 1931; signed lower right; 4 1/2 inches by 17 1/2 inches; $2,200.

Milton Caniff

Terry and the Pirates comic strip; pen-and-ink, blue wash; Pat and Normandie chat on shipboard, A moon, a maid, and a misery; May 25, 1935; signed lower right; 5 1/2 inches by 20 inches; $1,430.

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