Having watched “For Better And For Worse” fall into a dissatisfying end and shift over to a “remake” format with the bitter catcalls from various corners, I wonder about the one person whom everyone seems to worship: Charles M. Schulz. In short, would he have survived the advent of the internet?
Think of it: We’re talking about a guy who stylized his characters, had a large number of them, and had a habit of throwing out ideas that were incomplete. He would have been lucky to have had Linus hold that blanket after a while with thousands of readers remembering Charlie Brown holding the blanket once. And imagine the outcry at some of Lucy’s more vicious moments vis-a-vis Linus (and she could be really vicious towards him), never mind all the abuse Charlie Brown took on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. And imagine the cries for him to retire after the early eighties…(I think he started losing his touch around 1985, when he stopped getting enough inspiration to fill up all four strips).
The dog would survive, of course. However, much of what made Snoopy great didn’t really develop until after fifteen plus years. And the pressure to add in other “sympathetic characters” with the dog and bird would probably become nauseating.
The sad thing is, I don’t think Charles Schulz would have been able to survive long with his strip. Enough mistakes and retries of schticks half-formed when first thrown out would have forced him out, and forced the papers to cancel his stirp before it could get the traction any strip needs to get established. And while we would probably be a little bit poorer, it’s not like we would have noticed the loss — more an irritation over someone who didn’t seem to have his shit together (instead of someone trying stuff until he got it right).