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Comic Legends: Was Peppermint Patty Invented For Her Own Comic Strip?

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Comic Legends: Was Peppermint Patty Invented For Her Own Comic Strip?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventy-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Peppermint Patty was originally going to star in her own comic strip.

STATUS:

I’m Going With False

One of the most popular members of the Peanuts gang did not show up until the strip was already extremely popular. In fact, she didn’t even show up until after the famous Charlie Brown’s Christmas special had already made the airwaves!

Peppermint Patty debuted in a series of Peanuts comic strips beginning with August 23, 1966…

As you can tell, from right off the bat, she was an amazing addition to the strip. SO good that you could easily imagine her starring in her OWN strip. After all, she ended up being the lead in a whole bunch of Peanuts strips over the years.

That has actually become a story associated with Peppermint Patty, that Charles Schulz originally created her as the lead in her own comic strip but then didn’t have time to do the other strip, so he decided to just add her to Peanuts.

This one is a bit tricky, in that I suppose this could be true and I’ve just never heard it before, but I think I’ve read enough to give this a false.

Here is Schulz discussing the creation of Peppermint Patty in 1987 in The Herald…

Groth: Do you give a consirable amount of thought to introducing new characters?

Schulz: I never try to create a character just because I think it’s about time. That’s a fatal thing to do. I think a new character should be produced out of something that you happen to be doing.

Years ago, I developed the character Peppermint Patty because I happened to be walking through our living room. I saw a dish of Peppermint Patties and I thought that would make a good name for a character so I drew the face to match the name. One day I sent her to camp, and a little girl came into her tent one night and said, “Sir, my stomach hurts.” That was Marcie. Now I think Marcie and Peppermint Patty are as much of the strip as any of the other characters.”

More importantly, here is Schulz discussing the creation of Peppermint Patty again in 1975…

“Patty has been a good addition for me, and I think could almost carry another strip by herself. A dish of candy sitting in our living room inspired her name. So in this case I created the character to fit the name, and Peppermint Patty came into being.” –

I think that is where the confusion comes from, Schulz very early on noting that Patty COULD carry a strip by herself, not that he WAS planning on having her star in her own strip.

To wit, Schulz had tried a second strip in the late 1950s all about sports and quickly grew tired of it, so I don’t think he was actively trying to do a second comic strip in 1965 when his characters were booming in outside media, like the TV commercials and the then-upcoming television special.

Finally, in Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, Schulz was quoted while complaining about the name of his strip…

“What an ugly word it is. Say it: Peanuts! I can’t stand to even write it. And it’s a terrible title. Now ‘Peppermint Patty’ is a good title for a strip. I introduced a character named that into the strip to keep someone else from using it. Funny, people don’t tell you how to draw or write but everybody’s an expert on titles.”

It sure doesn’t sound like she was ever going to be starring in her own strip, right? I have never heard a quote from Schulz otherwise, while I’ve seen lots of quotes the other way. I think it is a matter of people just misconstruing the “could almost carry another strip by herself” and made that a whole thing of its own.


Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – Which of the main South Park kids was going to be killed off for good in Season 5 before the episode became “Kenny Dies”?


This legend inspired me to do another Peanuts legend, which is why I waited so that I could post them both together now. Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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