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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 17, 2024


Anyone who picked up a Saturday print newspaper this past weekend and didn't choose to flip past the comics page(s) found an extraordinary phenomenon, not only in the Virgin Islands but across the nation: Strip after strip — virtually all of them in some publications — carried the particular artist's imagery of "Peanuts" characters in a touching tribute to the late Charles Schulz.
None of the print dailies in the Virgin Islands carried a story explaining what had prompted this simultaneous outpouring of sentimentality that was at once a salute to a fallen hero. Allow the Source newspapers, then, to be your first source of information on the matter.
The answer, incidentally, can be found at the Official Peanuts Website, www.snoopy.com.
Schulz, whose nickname was Sparky, died last Feb. 12 of cancer after a career spanning half a century. He had announced the month before that he was discontinuing the cartoon, and his last new Sunday strip, ironically, ran on Feb. 13. Since then, some publications have opted to run a series of strips from the 1970s re-distributed by United Features Syndicate.
Mike Luckovich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist at The Atlanta Constitution, came up with the idea of organizing a nationwide artistic tribute to Schulz. The Memorial Day weekend seemed a logical time to do it. However, many daily papers don't publish on Sunday, and the multi-panel, color Sunday funnies would be less effective as a vehicle at any rate. As many papers also wouldn't be publishing on the federal holiday, it was decided to make Saturday, May 27, the date.
The tribute was endorsed by the National Cartoonists Society, which posthumously awarded Schulz its lifetime achievement award on the same date. At least 103 syndicated cartoonists took part.
"I thought this would be a fun way for cartoonists to personally honor and thank Sparky," Luckovich said. "This tribute is a celebration of his life." A brief description of the project on the Official Peanuts Website states what while Schulz won numerous awards over his long career, "to his fellow artists, Sparky's professional honors were secondary to his dedication to his craft and the encouragement and inspiration he offered others."
In the Virgin Islands Daily News, which carries 12 daily comic strips in addition to the Peanuts re-runs, all but one included a tribute to Sparky. The exception was Doonesbury.
In the V.I. Independent, which carries six strips, two did not carry a tribute — Fred, which is a British cartoon, and Moose & Molly. In the St. Croix Avis, a sister publication of the Independent, four strips carried tributes and five — Blondie, Redeye, Herman, Fred and Moose & Molly — did not.
To view most of the cartoons, go to www.snoopy.com, or click here.

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