Enter Franklin
February 13, 2015 10:11 AM   Subscribe

How Peanuts got its first black character. Come for an interesting back-and-forth between Charles Schulz and a reader. Stay for a jaw-dropping example of what another strip was doing at the same time.
posted by the phlegmatic king (73 comments total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
 
Spoiler alert:


WTF 1970 Hank Ketchum.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:18 AM on February 13, 2015 [54 favorites]


just knew it was going to be that awful dennis the menace..
posted by k5.user at 10:18 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that? - Charles Schulz

Nice.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:20 AM on February 13, 2015 [50 favorites]


This is cool. I remember people talking about Franklin, but given that I was raised by labor sympathizers and doonesbury readers, the comments were more of the WhooHoo variety than one might have expected in the segregated South.
posted by dejah420 at 10:21 AM on February 13, 2015


See, I'd heard the "print it the way I draw it or I quit" before, so it isn't surprising Schulz did that. What was surprising to me was that he responded to the reader's first letter with anything but instant agreement. Upon reflection, I did ultimately understand why he'd initially have responded with a "well, we'd LIKE to, but I'm not sure how to do it without it looking like 'the token black kid'" sort of response, but it still was jarring to read that he originally said "nah, not so much."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:26 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd noticed before, but never read any deeper significance into, that Franklin is drawn as Charlie Brown with some hair. Most of the other Peanuts characters (especially ones added later in the strip) have visibly different skulls - look at Linus' - but Franklin has CB's round thing going on. Now I think that's an entirely intentional, subtle point on Schulz's part.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 10:28 AM on February 13, 2015 [22 favorites]


This was a cool thing to read about and kudos to Charles Schulz for being a real mensch! I am a bit nonplussed, however, to learn that the Peanuts gang apparently lives in the vicinity of a beach. I always assumed the strip took place somewhere in the Midwest of Schulz's youth.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:29 AM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I always assumed the strip took place somewhere in the Midwest of Schulz's youth.

The early strips are canonically in or very near Minneapolis (Lucy at one point has a trophy for being the Biggest Fussbudget in Hennepin County but I think that softened once Schulz moved to Calfornia. Although there are beaches in Minneapolis...
posted by the phlegmatic king at 10:32 AM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


They don't call it City of Lakes for nothin'. There are definitely beaches in Minneapolis.

So pleased to see this posted here; I saw this last night and thought it would be a good post.

Schulz's initial response doesn't seem like a "no" as much as it seems like an invite to further conversation. That the schoolteacher he was who contacted him took it that way, and that they actually had a conversation, is such a moving example of how learning and moving forward can happen.
posted by spacewaitress at 10:37 AM on February 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


I didn't read Schultz's first letter as a "nah, not so much", rather as a "I don't have the frame of reference to be able to do this properly", which is totally fair. It didn't read like a dismissal, but as Schultz presenting a problem, which Harriet Glickman helped him overcome. Charles Schultz was Charlie Brown in a lot of ways, so it's not surprising that he wouldn't want to attempt something that he didn't feel that he could do justice to.
posted by fnerg at 10:39 AM on February 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


I like how much this is a "perfect is the enemy of the good" example. There was no way to do it that was going to please everybody or even necessarily please Schultz perfectly, but getting the character out there and keeping him was the important thing.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


That was absolutely fascinating. Thanks for posting. Persistence and dialogue result in progress - and this is a great example.
posted by Miko at 10:49 AM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I always knew Dennis the Menace wasn't funny. That panel is just odious.
posted by spacewaitress at 10:50 AM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that Franklin was paired with Peppermint Patty, who was also intended to make the strip more inclusive.

Schulz also said that Peppermint Patty was created in response to the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s as part of an attempt to have a character that defied standard gender norms. As a result, he gave her a tomboy personality in addition to being the first female character in the strip to wear a shirt and shorts instead of a dress. In addition, she was shown as being part of a single-parent household.
posted by Iridic at 10:50 AM on February 13, 2015 [51 favorites]


oh man, i made it to the strip with the introduction of Franklin and it got very dusty in here.

i remember that strip. i however had no idea it was the first appearance of Franklin.

the completely normal nature of that strip in context of the time period now makes it completely special.

it could have been heavy handed but was just simple.

i have to read the rest of the article now and i hope i am not disappointed because this is really great.
posted by sio42 at 10:50 AM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


yep, not disappointed.

"Let’s put it this way: Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that?
— Charles Schulz"

i really could just cry with joy. sometimes humans are good, they really are.
posted by sio42 at 10:52 AM on February 13, 2015 [19 favorites]


So did Franklin's dad come back from Vietnam? Poor kid.
posted by ian1977 at 10:55 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


my browser didn't load the dennis the menace thing so i had to google.

o.m.f.g.

wow.

thank god for charles schulz.
posted by sio42 at 10:56 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Schulz also said that Peppermint Patty was created in response to the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s as part of an attempt to have a character that defied standard gender norms. As a result, he gave her a tomboy personality in addition to being the first female character in the strip to wear a shirt and shorts instead of a dress.

Huh. I grew up adoring Peanuts in the UK and I always really liked Peppermint Patty but have never thought about or articulated quite why. This is it. (Do tomboys still exist? Or is it all just pink pink pink these days?)
posted by penguin pie at 10:57 AM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


There was another interesting post on Franklin in 2008.
posted by ian1977 at 10:58 AM on February 13, 2015


I always knew Dennis the Menace wasn't funny.

The UK Dennis the Menace - i.e. the proper one where he's actually a menace and not some milksop in dungarees - was pretty good. And I don't recall any racist caricatures either.
posted by sobarel at 10:59 AM on February 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Back when I was working in the cartooning industry, I recall hearing a story (perhaps apocryphal) that some newspapers had their own artists re-touch the Peanuts strips that had Franklin in them. They had them go in and white-out the linework Schulz used to darken Franklin's skin, making Franklin a white kid with really curly hair.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:07 AM on February 13, 2015


I can understand Schulz's reticence to introduce a black character. I can well imagine that one thing he wrestled with was simply how to draw a black character that wouldn't come off looking like a stereotype (ala that horrible Ketcham strip) It's frightening easy to do. It's a bit of a minefield for someone like Schulz to walk through, really.

I suspect his trash can was filled with rejected versions of Franklin until he came up with what he ended up doing...just draw another typical Peanuts kid and add-in some of his trademark sketchy linework for shading. Even that solution isn't exactly optimal, and yet he looks perfectly at-home with the rest of the characters, imho.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:28 AM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


And when he finds Peppermint Patty crying because she's being required to stop wearing her beloved sandals at school, Franklin’s sympathetic reaction is, “All I know is any rule that makes a little girl cry has to be a bad rule.”
I don't care if he's a Magical Mystery Negro or if he's too good to be true or if "his perfection hampered Franklin's character development" -- being in a position to deliver that line alone justifies the character's entire existence.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on February 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


The key was in realizing that a black kid is first and foremost a kid, and it's a strip about kids. He may not have felt qualified to write strips about specifically AA cultural experience, but nobody was asking him to. Franklin's a kid who's black, so Schulz does what he feels competent to do, which is just write him as a kid. That was absolutely the right thing to do.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:41 AM on February 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


That is great article. Thank you.
I am a huge fan of Charles Schulz, and I was not aware of this controversy surrounding Franklin.
posted by Flood at 11:45 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also: Beetle Bailey's Lt. Flap
posted by bonefish at 11:48 AM on February 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Thanks for that Beetle Bailey - I always loved that one as a kid. Didn't realize it had such a liberal sensibility (being ignorant of such things as a kid)....

This story makes me kinda teary eyed.

I found it interesting, and maybe it wasn't a conscious commentary, but to me it stood out a bit, was the comment Franklin made about getting the ball while swimming.

I wonder if that was intentional at all, to hit on one of those stereotypes, or if it was just an innocent sorta thing. I would imagine the latter, but in some ways it's cool if it's the former, adding an extra edge to the socio-political commentary (beyond having a black child in the strip).

That said, it really is touching, and if I have to add a second person to the American Sainthood in addition to Mr. Rogers, I think Charles Schultz is just the guy to add.
posted by symbioid at 11:56 AM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Stay for a jaw-dropping example of what another strip was doing at the same time.

My jaw literally dropped. Literally literally.
posted by Zerowensboring at 11:59 AM on February 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wow, yeah, that Dennis the Menace thing, yow. And this was 1970, not 1950. At least it got some pushback -- apparently The Cleveland Press ran an apology the next day.
posted by tavella at 12:05 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


There's some good background in the Dennis strip here in James Nicoll's lj. Spoiler: it does not make Ketcham look better.
posted by tavella at 12:10 PM on February 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


It's interesting to see how different the reasoning for not including blacks was from different white cartoonists.

You have the gracious but timid Schulz, saying he doesn't want to come across as condescending to blacks. How do you address those concerns? Ask a bunch of black folks if they would like to see a black kid in Peanuts. Answer: Yes. Problem: solved. Now you have Schulz in your corner. And that is no small thing.

Then there's the Mary Worth guy, Allen Saunders, who's like, this is impossible because if I put a black person in a position of respect and dignity the reader "won't accept it as valid" but if I put them in a humble role "the militant Negro will be hostile... and try to eliminate our product."

He was worried about Black Panthers fire-bombing his art studio I guess?

You've got two different guys saying "I don't know how I can do this without offending people" but they could not be more different.

And then you've got the Dennis the Menace abomination, where he's apparently expecting cookies for joining the MLK "parade"?? Jesus.
posted by edheil at 12:18 PM on February 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


A good post. Thank you.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:19 PM on February 13, 2015


For me the takeway from Tavella's linked thread is that, for several years, Dennis the Menace was apparently a Swiss comic. Yep, according to wikipedia, Ketcham lived in Switzerland and produced the comic there from 1960 to 1977. No wonder he was so out of touch...
posted by Naberius at 12:21 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The UK Dennis the Menace

Haven't thought about this in years...

My grandmother once brought back some UK comics from a trip to Scotland for my when I was a kid (this was way pre-internet). The UK Dennis the Menace was in them. It did drive home how genuinely shitty the US Dennis the Menace we got here was.

So maybe it's a tossup between Hank Ketcham and Cathy Guisewite for the stinking crown of all-time shit cartoonist.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:28 PM on February 13, 2015


I ought to be generous to fellow Southerners but my most charitable read of that letter goes "Please don't remind me that I'm racist."
posted by Monochrome at 12:30 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am a huge fan of "Peanuts" and have been for forty years or more, since I was a very young child. Schulz's genious is a little difficult to see nowadays, since the strip and its characters have become ubiquitous, but it truly was the best newspaper comic strip to have been done to that point, and the runners up weren't even really close.

My feelings about this story are a little mixed. On the one hand, I want to note that it's tempting to give a very sentimental reading to these events, one that turns Charles Schulz into someone who was making a really strong political statement. And I'm not certain that's true to what actually happened. The idea wasn't his to begin with, after all...he had to be talked into it. And once Franklin was introduced, the character never ended doing very much. He was one of several "Peanuts" characters over the years who lacked any discernible personality traits (see also: Roy, Violet, Shermy, and 5).

All of these characters tended to end up as background presences at best, because the strip's humor was based on the scrutiny of everyone's neuroses. And they didn't have any. Franklin was really notable only for two things: that he was black, and that at the same time he wasn't a hideous caricature.

I don't necessarily buy the explanation that Franklin's lack of personality was entirely due to Schulz not wanting to patronize black readers; that was part of it, almost certainly, but it was also a function of the fact that Franklin was only even in the strip because a reader thought it a good idea that he should be, and convinced Schulz of it, too. He's the reference example for the concept of a token black.

It was political statement to put him in the strip, but it was an awfully quiet one. Which is true to who Schulz, was I think. He was a quiet guy.

Despite that, he could also be quietly prickly and stubborn. THAT is the aspect of the story that I love without reserve: having decided, for very happenstance reasons, to make this limited artistic choice, and being enough of a professional to discuss it with his editor ahead of time, what Schulz wasn't going to do was to accept the premise that anybody could gainsay that choice merely because some readers would be pissed off about it:

“Well, Larry, let’s put it this way: either you print it, just the way I draw it, or I quit. How’s that?”

That, right there, is the statement of an artist.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:36 PM on February 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


Schulz's genious is a little difficult to see nowadays, since the strip and its characters have become ubiquitous, but it truly was the best newspaper comic strip to have been done to that point, and the runners up weren't even really close.

I dunno. It seems like there's probably an argument to be made for work like Krazy Kat, though the achievement represented by Schulz's whole career is pretty hard to touch.

That, right there, is the statement of an artist.

Yeah.
posted by brennen at 12:46 PM on February 13, 2015



I don't necessarily buy the explanation that Franklin's lack of personality was


Franklin's lack of hangups doesn't translate into a lack of personality. It made him the straight-man of the strip, and he did get to assert his will as a straight-man. And in my view that was utter genius. Part of the experience of being in an ethnic minority is feeling like a straight-man watching the people around you fall prey to "goyishce mishegoss" (Gentile's follies) or "stuff white people like".
posted by ocschwar at 12:49 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


So maybe it's a tossup between Hank Ketcham and Cathy Guisewite for the stinking crown of all-time shit cartoonist.

We can add whoever it is who does the Fred Basset strip in the Daily Mail these days. Sometimes it's banal, sometimes it's banal and tedious, and now and then it's tediously banal. And those are randomly selected strips rather than particularly bad examples.
posted by sobarel at 12:52 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


So maybe it's a tossup between Hank Ketcham and Cathy Guisewite for the stinking crown of all-time shit cartoonist.

And whatever pencil-dick does Mallard Fillmore. I'm not going to bother to Google his name. He doesn't deserve the web traffic.
posted by Ber at 12:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


You've got two different guys saying "I don't know how I can do this without offending people" but they could not be more different.

I'm not sure they were that different. I think it's possible they had the same rough sense of the underlying problem, but Schulz was intelligent/aware enough that he could zero in on the precise subtleties that make sense and articulate them clearly.

(I don't know that, of course -- I have no special window into either of their souls. Just experience being in both places one might categorize as like Saunders-like or Schulz-like.)
posted by weston at 1:02 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peanuts also featured the first Mexican-Swedish character in a newspaper comic: Jose Peterson.
posted by marxchivist at 1:04 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I always assumed the strip took place somewhere in the Midwest of Schulz's youth.

Hah. We aren't entirely landlocked in the Midwest. There are at least 20 public beaches between 15 minutes and an hour's drive from my house, and dozens of little waterfront resorts. It's a little chilly to swim in the autumn lately, but lots of us do it anyway!

This was super cool to see. I was born in 1970, so Franklin was always a part of Peanuts for me. He was never "the black kid", he was just Franklin, and when I was younger it hadn't occurred to me that his presence was A Big Deal. It wasn't until Middle School, when we started learning about the Civil Rights movement that it became clear to me that Franklin actually WAS A Big Deal for his time.
posted by MissySedai at 1:13 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ipsifendus: “Schulz's genious is a little difficult to see nowadays, since the strip and its characters have become ubiquitous, but it truly was the best newspaper comic strip to have been done to that point, and the runners up weren't even really close.”

Charles Schultz was indeed a genius, and Peanuts was a thoroughgoing work of brilliance, but it should be pointed out that there was in fact one which was even deeper and more sublime.
posted by koeselitz at 1:49 PM on February 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


So did Franklin's dad come back from Vietnam?

He did but you could never understand what he was saying when he talked.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 2:05 PM on February 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


(And I can't let that go without mentioning that Walt Kelly, that die-hard liberal unionist American who quit drawing for Old Man Disney during a strike in 1941 and struck out to draw his own comics thereafter, was keenly aware of political events, and probably much more willing to take them on in his wry and sardonic way in Pogo. He drew strips about communist nonsense; he drew strips much more often about the mendacity of anti-communist nonsense; he drew strips about how young people seemed to have things figured out more than old people those days; and he drew strips about environmentalism that still ring heavy and true. And he knew the limits of what the papers would and wouldn't publish – such that he took up publishing certain stories in his books instead, as he did for example with a 1966 story on "The Kluck Klams.")
posted by koeselitz at 2:06 PM on February 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


That is a really nice, cheering story, thanks.

It's interesting that Franklin was paired with Peppermint Patty, who was also intended to make the strip more inclusive.
He also stated that his original intention had been to develop Peppermint Patty as the main character of a new comic strip, but since he did not have the time to pursue the project, he instead incorporated her into Peanuts. At the time, Schulz already had a different character named Patty as a regular cast member in the strip; the original Patty's role, already in decline because of Schulz's inability to flesh out a unique role for her, was consequently cut back to cameo appearances.
Heh, I totally remember being confused by there being two Pattys, and I'm glad it wasn't by design. On the other hand, I don't recall PP and Franklin being friends, but I think it's still sweet that even in the group of weird kids that were the Peanuts, there was still room for the marginalized to find each other.

However, the idea of a Peppermint Patty-focused strip sounds like it could've gone wrong in so, so many ways.
posted by psoas at 2:43 PM on February 13, 2015


So maybe it's a tossup between Hank Ketcham and Cathy Guisewite for the stinking crown of all-time shit cartoonist.

Really? I've always liked Ketcham's drawing style. It's got a lot of movement about it. Really great linework, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:50 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


This makes me curious- were there any black characters in Calvin and Hobbes? It'd be quasi-understandable if there weren't, because it had a pretty small lineup of characters, but I can't think of any at all- were any of the 'extras' like Calvin's classmates, or the characters in his imagination, black?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:54 PM on February 13, 2015


None that I can think of, but the total cast, as you say, was very small (which of course isn't to say that they all had to be white. That's silly.)

Calvin
Calvin's Dad
Calvin's Mom
Uncle Max
Susie Derkins
Moe
Mrs. Wormwood
Principal (I can't remember right now)
Rosalyn

And of course Hobbes, who has no race.

Am I missing anyone?
posted by Navelgazer at 3:03 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


However, the idea of a Peppermint Patty-focused strip sounds like it could've gone wrong in so, so many ways.

Schultz kind of went through with it. Peppermint Patty lived on the other side of town from Charlie Brown, played on a different baseball team, and attended a different school; she'd have long arcs in which none of the original Peanuts characters appeared. (Marcie and Franklin showed up, though, because they lived in the same neighborhood.) Her stories arguably made for a strip within a strip.
posted by Iridic at 3:06 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


We can add whoever it is who does the Fred Basset strip in the Daily Mail these days

KITTENBLOCK'D!!!
posted by JHarris at 3:08 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry about that. Here's a particularly fine example not from the DM site.
posted by sobarel at 3:14 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


were there any black characters in Calvin and Hobbes?
Not main characters, because a big part of the strip was that Calvin's imagination was so rich that he didn't need and didn't tolerate other human companions any more than he had to. However in crowd scenes, like when Calvin is facing his entire classroom or stomping through a city as an allosaur, I think there was some racial diversity. I'll have to put my hand on a book and see. Interesting question!
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:35 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


God sobarel. To think that Mallard Fillmore wasn't the bottom of the newspaper comic barrel.
posted by JHarris at 5:12 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Am I missing anyone?

Principal Spittle! (who is a white guy)
posted by jamaro at 5:17 PM on February 13, 2015


Uh has everyone participating in the all-time shit cartoonist discussion forgotten about the asshole who created B.C.?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:34 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


KITTENBLOCK'D!!!

My tiny claim to Internet fame: I live in the same part of London as the author of Kitten Block, and we've had conversations on Twitter. Who wants to touch me?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:41 PM on February 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Good lord, that Fred Basset strip. I can't even begin to guess at why it exists or what response it's going for or who the hell it's meant for. It's just a total void. It reminds me of the nonsense antihumor webcomics I made in high school, but there's no way high school me was anywhere near as good at producing contentless gibberish as whoever draws this... thing... is. Its bland emptiness is so powerful that it actually seems kind of threatening.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:31 PM on February 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Interesting that Shermy, Patty, and Violet are mentioned as being characterless. They are, but they're also the original members of the cast, along with Charlie Brown and Snoopy. It took awhile for Schulz to learn to make memorable characters.

Franklin's story is fascinating. The really amazing thing, though, is that Schulz replied to Ms. Glickman's letter a week after he got it. Did everyone keep up with their mail in those days?

When Morrie Turner asked why there weren't many minorities in comics, Schulz advised him to make his own strip. Which he did: Wee Pals. It was only widely syndicated after King's assassination (about the same time Franklin appeared).
posted by zompist at 7:23 PM on February 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Holy mother of fucker that Dennis the Menace. What was Ketcham thinking. Had he ever seen a black person in his entire life when he drew that.

I can sympathize with Schulz' fears over handling it wrong. I'm about to start working on a fantasy comic set in New Orleans. If I'm at all true to the city, I need to have the racial mix of my cast mirror the fact that the city is about 2/3 black. And that scares me. Because I feel like if a white cartoonist like myself makes even the slightest misstep in character design or writing I will be calling down a shitstorm upon myself. It'd be easier to just whitewash everyone and not deal with it.
posted by egypturnash at 7:57 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Charles Schultz was indeed a genius, and Peanuts was a thoroughgoing work of brilliance, but it should be pointed out that there was in fact one which was even deeper and more sublime."

Ha! I saw that and had my reflexive I GO POGO. I love Peanuts, but Pogo from linework to trenchant satire (he made kids care about Agnew!) to Deck the Halls with Boston Charlie just folds up Peanuts and wears it as a hat.

He took on Senator McCarthy and the KKK, drew incredibly rich characters and kept up with the times. Schultz was great at what he did (was it a comment here that called Peanuts the greatest phenomenology of depression ever made?) and is inarguably one of the top newspaper and American cartoonists ever, but Walt Kelly was the Mort Drucker to Schultz's Dave Berg.
posted by klangklangston at 9:20 PM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don’t know what the solution is.

And that looks like a direct attempt by Schultz to see if the dialogue would keep going. The first part of the letter was "we don't want to appear condescending" but I have to think he wrote that last line in to see if Glickman would pick it up and run with it, hoping maybe she had a way through on this. Good communication is all about the subtle things and he had a gift for that.

I grew up in a mostly Mexican neighborhood, and to us all of the other kids were just that - other kids. We didn't see the race, we saw our friends. That's why I love the way Schultz introduced Franklin. He just introduced another kid, that's all.
posted by azpenguin at 9:30 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thank you for posting this--I did not know any of the story. His letter back to Ms Glickman was so thoughtful and just very Charles Schultz. I agree, he was opening up a conversation, not shutting it down.

Ooh, and his ultimatum to that publisher! Priceless.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:05 PM on February 13, 2015


were there any black characters in Calvin and Hobbes?
I'm having a hard time finding any (although in some scenes it's hard to tell), but that may be more of a commentary on the Chagrin Falls area where Watterson grew up and the strip is set, than on the strip itself.

Classroom
7 April 1991
29 November 1992
4 March 1993

Crowds
24 October 1993
9 August 1992
posted by Real.Wolf at 10:16 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I realized I hadn't taken a good look at the name of the article's author (I thought it was really well written). I was tickled to see his name is Ronald E. ....Franklin!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:16 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The blogger who posted that Pogo "Kluck Klams" strip has an... idiosyncratic interpretation of Walt Kelly's politics.
posted by edheil at 10:57 PM on February 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


And Fred Basset is the spiritual successor to Nancy in pure minimalist comic strips. I like that the humor comes from the punchlines failing to meet expectations — even better because as a dog, Fred's not that shaggy — but if I read it day in and day out it mostly makes me want to shoot myself. I'd still take it over Jump Start though.
posted by klangklangston at 11:14 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Alison Bechdel is a white cartoonist who successfully depicts people of color(who in Dykes to Watch out For were presented as more financially stable. Sydney and Ginger are both college professors, but Sydney has a shopping addiction. Jezanna's bookstore closes, but she finds other work helping Somali immigrants.)
posted by brujita at 1:16 PM on February 14, 2015


Frazz is another contemporary strip that I think does a good job including a diverse cast.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:32 PM on February 14, 2015


Continuing from mbrubeck, Here's a race-related strip from Frazz.
posted by JHarris at 5:40 PM on February 14, 2015


edheil: "The blogger who posted that Pogo "Kluck Klams" strip has an... idiosyncratic interpretation of Walt Kelly's politics."

Yeah, I just read that bit and was like, wait WHAT?
posted by notsnot at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


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