New Zip for the Old Strip

The comic is dying in newspapers--but finding a wildly inventive life online

In 1950 an aspiring cartoonist who drew a comic strip for his local paper wanted to get wider distribution for his work. So he took it to a syndication service. An editor at the syndicate liked the strip but didn't care for the name, so he changed it. To Peanuts. Charles Schulz always hated that name. In 1987 he told an interviewer, "It's totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing and has no dignity--and I think my humor has dignity." Schulz's name for his comic strip was Li'l Folks, which admittedly isn't that much more dignified. But the point is,...

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