Charles M. Schulz once described himself as ‘born to draw comic strips.’ At just two days old an uncle nicknamed him ‘Sparky’ after the horse Spark Plug from the Barney Google comic strip, and his family called him this all his life. Throughout his youth he and his father shared a Sunday morning ritual of reading the funnies.
After serving in the army in World War II, Schulz’s first big break came in 1947 when he sold a cartoon feature called ‘Li’l Folks’ to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1950, Schulz met with United Feature Syndicate, and on October 2 of that same year PEANUTS®, as termed by the syndicate, debuted in seven newspapers.
Charles Schulz would spend the next 50 years building a legacy that would give the world Charlie Brown, Snoopy and a whole cast of characters that would forever change the landscape of American comic strips. He died at the age of 77, in February 2000, and the last PEANUTS strip, in which Schulz announced his retirement, was published the following day.