Goodbye to Peanuts from The Simpsons

© Business Wire, feature article, February 4, 2000.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- ``How will we survive without peanuts?'' Are these the words of a despondent Homer Simpson about the last Charles Schulz strip, or just an indication that he's hungry?

On Sunday, Feb. 13, Matt Groening, creator of ``The Simpsons'' comic strip, will present a farewell to ``Peanuts,'' whose last (new) Sunday comic appears that day in newspapers nationwide. Groening joins a host of other cartoonists from syndicates throughout the country who have dedicated daily and weekly strips to retiring cartoonist Charles Schulz. Other Universal Press Syndicate cartoonists planning February mentions of the retiring ``Peanuts'' include Cathy Guisewite of ``Cathy,'' Tom Wilson of ``Ziggy,'' Wiley Miller of ``Non Sequitur'' and Lennie Peterson of ``The Big Picture.''

Since ``The Simpsons'' appears only on Sundays, and in color, it was an easy decision to use Feb. 13 as the date for the tribute, Groening says. ``Peanuts'' will continue in reruns.

``We wanted to mark the retirement of a great cartoonist whose character, Charlie Brown, has been a personal hero to me for many years,'' says Groening. Groening's cartoon strip, ``The Simpsons,'' appears in almost 50 newspapers in North America with a readership of more than 10 million fans. The strip is produced by Groening's comic book company, Bongo Comics, and is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.

``Charlie Brown appeals to me as a lovable underachiever who is always a little depressed about his shortcomings. Bart Simpson, on the other hand, is too brainless to be depressed about himself,'' Groening says.

``Our hope was to develop an homage that was warm and humorous, but definitely had that 'Simpson-esque' quality to it. Out of courtesy, we ran the idea by Charles Schulz's syndicate and they gave us their support,'' Groening adds.

``The Simpsons''' color tribute to ``Peanuts'' features Homer Simpson going out to his neighborhood bar, which is managed by bartender Moe. Every frame that shows Homer walking through the neighborhood has a little remembrance of ``Peanuts.''

For example, Bart misses a football, yanked away by Nelson, and makes the classic gasp, ``Aaugh.'' Homer passes a booth where Lisa Simpson is dishing out blues music for a few cents. As Homer reaches Moe's place, an overwhelming urge for peanuts takes control of his temperament, but he is shocked to learn that Moe is no longer serving peanuts. ``How will we survive without peanuts?'' Homer laments. Moe's words of wisdom to savor the last few peanuts in the jar is lost on Homer, who stuffs his mouth full immediately.

The finishing line on the strip is a personal farewell to Schulz from Matt Groening and the entire staff of Bongo Comics.

``The Simpsons'' comic strip started Sept. 5, 1999, and has steadily built a fan base among newspaper comic readers who also love the Fox television show. It has revolutionized some Sunday comic pages because of its bigger-than-normal comic strip size. ``The Simpsons'' is Groening's second comic strip. The comic strip ``Life in Hell,'' which started in the Los Angeles Reader in 1980, now appears in alternative weeklies and dailies.

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Last updated on February 6, 2000 by Jouni Paakkinen (