Final ‘Peanuts’ Comic Says Goodbye
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) _ Charles Schulz’s final ``Peanuts″ strip turned into poignant epitaph on Saturday as the beloved cartoonist’s penned farewell became even more bittersweet at his death.
The 77-year-old cartoonist died of cancer in his sleep at his home on 1 Snoopy Place late Saturday, just as printing presses and paper carriers nationwide were sending out his goodbye letter that marked his last Sunday ``Peanuts″ strip.
The signed letter also ran when he ended his daily comic strip on Jan. 3.
In several Sunday newspapers, the strip opens with Charlie Brown on the phone saying, ``No, I think he’s writing.″ In the next panel, Snoopy is shown on his dog house, pecking on a typewriter. ``Dear Friends...,″ it reads.
``Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost 50 years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition.
``Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement.
``I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip.
``Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them ...″
The letter ends with Schulz’s signature.
Classic ``Peanuts″ images decorate the letter: Lucy pulling away a football as Charlie Brown tries to kick it, Snoopy trying to steal Linus’ blanket, and Lucy getting hit on the head by a baseball with a loud ``Bonk!″
Schulz’s contract stipulates that no one else will ever draw the strip, which debuted Oct. 2, 1950, and reached an estimated 355 million readers daily in 75 countries.
United Feature Syndicate has planned to continue publishing ``Peanuts″ reprints.