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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 03/ 6/2009

My Vow: Why I'm Giving Up "Peanuts"

By Michael Cavna

Call it a dare. Call it an act of defiance. Either way, it's time to face my decades of addiction:

For the next two weeks, I'll refrain from reading my "Peanuts."

Yep, the strip that has filled my days since I was knee-high to a Charlie Brown Christmas tree will -- nay, needs to -- take a 14-day hiatus from my life.

This is not a simple surrender. "Sparky" Schulz was a boyhood hero of mine, and meeting him in person was a professional highlight of my life. But here's the catch: I find myself reading "Peanuts" with minimal payoff these days. It doesn't creatively flat-line for me the way, say, "Frank&Ernest" does, mind you. It's just that I have too much respect for one of the greatest strips ever to grace the comics page to read years of reruns, out of mere habit, as empty exercise.

At its heights, "Peanuts" for me was a matter of personal pilgrimage. So much to be absorbed, appreciated, felt.

Who knows -- come late-March, perhaps absence will have made the heart grow fonder. Perhaps I'll miss good ol' Charlie Brown more than I realized and will again see Linus's warm wit.

Until then, though, I'll give up my security blanket. After more than three decades, it's about time.

I think.

Is there an addictive "zombie comic" you're trying to quit? Fire away.


SALLY FORTH: At least a couple of decades of comedy have relied heavily on the would-be smartypants pose of Ironic Detachment. But today's "Sally Forth" reminds me why I like Francesco Marciuliano's being at the helm of this veteran strip:

Marciuliano appreciates the good ol' honest glories of Ironic AT-tachment.

Today, Sally -- aka She Who Must Be Sarcastic -- is self-deprecatingly sly, and it works rather superbly. That's because "Ces" Marciuliano isn't afraid to have his characters mock themselves (with a wink, even), yet the cartoonist doesn't turn on them, and undercut them completely.

All we can say is: Bravo.

MARK TRAIL: At last, we can see precisely why it's so hard for Ken and Patty to love each other. They possess, it turns out, giant immovable heads that are as static and unswiveling as a presidential profile on our national coin.

Buck up, Patty and Ken -- like a couple from clip-art heaven, perhaps you were made for each other after all.


Never before, it's safe to say, have I ever read the term "the wet spot" in a family funnies page. Unless, that is, it involved the feathers of an amorous Mallard Fillmore.

By Michael Cavna  | March 6, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Week's Seven Most Terrifying Cartoons


I've been a longtime fan of Adam @ Home -- the kids remind me of me & my brother.

Now? Not so much. I'm not liking the new writing at all, never mind the artwork. The gags have been overworked and underfunny. The sarcasm bites in a way that doesn't seem normal for the characters. It's like it's a new comic, and not even a good one.

I've been reading everyday, figuring Bassett wouldn't have given it up to someone who would suck so consistently, but I think I'm going to not bother following next week's story. It's just not worth the disappointment.

And this from a woman who still reads Hagar, Hi & Lois and Blondie, because that's what was in the paper when I was a kid with my cereal bowl placed on the crossword, so I could see all of the comics.

Posted by: capecodner424 | March 6, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I LOVE Fred Basset. haha. It rarely makes sense, and I hardly ever laugh, but good ol Fred sure is charming.

Posted by: jessecline | March 6, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

My zombie comic addiction is Boondocks. It hasn't had a new strip in almost 2 years. The re-runs are almost 6 months out of sync with current time, making the various holiday seasons referenced in the strip seem hopelessly out-of-touch. Yet I still read it every day.

I know the artist is working on the Boondocks cartoon, which is wicked funny---LOVE it. But what Boondocks fan out there hasn't really been annoyed and even angered that we didn't get to see Huey's reaction to Barack Obama's uphill battle against Hillary Clinton for the nomination? Or that we never saw Grandpa having to choose between his desire to fit in with the Republicans for McCain in his suburb and wanting to see the "local guy" from his hometown of Chicago go the distance in the big race? Where was Huey's response to the speech on race, the acceptance speech in Denver, or Obama actually winning the race WITHOUT a massive recount ala Bush v. Gore?

Seriously, Boondocks has got to be the definition of a zombie comic. As much as I love it, I feel cheated that there aren't any new ones. First African American in the white house, no comments from Huey. Chris Brown with 2 felony charges for allegedly beating up Rhianna, and no comments from Riley. Stockmarket tanking, pensions and 401ks disappearing, expensive houses in foreclosure driving values down and not one peep from Grandpa.

Maybe it's time to go after this zombie comic with holy water and a chainsaw.

Posted by: ms-kitty | March 6, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to agree with the Peanuts problem..out of habit only. But, I read Cathy the same way, ever since marriage, the stip is just not that interesting. Gave up on Adam@Home long time ago and picked up Daddy's Home, which is good.

My Sunday strips include Pince Valient..would not be Sunday without it.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | March 6, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I also gave up Boondocks recently; it was a sad moment, but I think it's for the best. As much as I love to think about what Huey would say about Obama, he's not, he's talking about W. and Nader. I have limited time, and there are new voices out there commenting on v. important current issues. I also gave up "Single and Looking" - but that was _way_ easier.

Re: Peanuts, I've actually gone in the opposite direction; I've STARTED trying to read it regularly. I view it as akin to reading literary classics: it's a useful reference point for understanding more current creations. I feel a need to do this because when I first started reading the comics, Peanuts was already well into its decline: I never experienced the period where it was funny or relevant. So I'm spending a little time reacquainting myself with it, in hopes of gleaning The Bigger Picture. I thought yesterday's re-run was _fascinating_.

This is the ONLY self-referential Peanuts strip I can remember (would love for someone to point out others.) It's also the only one I've ever read that's come close to making me laugh. I feel like I'm on an archeological dig and I just discovered the ancient Egyptians used Walkmen.

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | March 6, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I managed to give up FBofW awhile ago. It wasn't easy - I've been reading it as long as I can remember, I'm about the same age as Michael so the family was like *my* family.

But it really hadn't been good for years. And I'm not interested in a redo from the beginning. (I gave up Boondocks after I realized that it was really and truly over and there'd never be another new strip.) Very freeing!

Posted by: beardo1 | March 6, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Rose is Rose. Pat Brady worked wonders with that strip, but once Don Wimmer took over it lost all its charm. Yet I look at it every day. Gotta cut the cord.

Posted by: carol20 | March 6, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Like the previous poster, For Better or For Worse. Perhaps it was for worse at times, but I still got a lot out of it. When the story ended, so should the strip. I don't get a redo in my life and neither do the Pattersons. I've managed to pull myself away from Curtis. [Too many trips to Flyspeck Island.]

Fortunately, there have been a few silver linings. Lio has been a revelation. I'm loving Brewster Rockit. I wondered if this was going to be a "funny for awhile" comic. That is while I'm laughing all the time. I'm also a BIG Prickly City fan. Mallard Filmore is heavy handed and unfunny. PC is wonderful. Fly coyote fly!


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 9, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

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