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‘Sparky’ of genius

‘Peanuts’ creator honored with stamps

The pane of 20 Charles M. Schulz stamps features 10 of his best-known “Peanuts” characters.

The Postal Service released its latest stamps — a salute to cartoonist Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz — at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, CA, on Sept. 30.

“The Postal Service is pleased to present its new Forever stamps commemorating the birth centennial of Charles M. Schulz, the beloved creator of ‘Peanuts,’ the most popular and influential comic strip in history,” said Luke Grossmann, the organization’s finance and strategy senior vice president, who helped dedicate the stamp.

Joining Grossmann for the ceremony were Gina Huntsinger, director of the Museum and Research Center; Paige Braddock, chief creative officer of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates; and Schulz’s widow, Jean Schulz.

“The joy of ‘Peanuts’ — matched with the joy of sending and receiving mail — is a wonderful way to commemorate Sparky’s life and the happiness his comic strip continues to bring to the world,” Jean Schulz said.

“From holiday mail to personal collections, we hope these stamps brighten the lives of ‘Peanuts’ fans and stamp collectors alike,” she added.

The stamps are available at Post Offices and in panes of 20 and feature 10 of Schulz’s best-known characters, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock.

Charles Monroe Schulz (1922-2000) was born in Minnesota and given the nickname Sparky as an infant by his uncle, who was inspired by a then-trending character in the funny pages.

At the age of 14, Schulz published his first drawing. It centered on his eccentric pet dog and appeared in the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” newspaper feature.

Schulz served in World War II after graduating from high school, then worked as an art instructor alongside a colleague named Charlie Brown.

He supplemented his income by lettering comic books, drawing single-panel cartoons for local papers, and selling cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post.

On Oct. 2, 1950, “Peanuts” debuted in seven papers. That modest seven papers eventually ballooned to 2,600 in 75 countries and 21 languages: a total of 355 million readers worldwide.

While “Peanuts” grew into a cultural phenomenon with television specials, books, Broadway shows and films, Schulz stayed true to his creation, never farming out work. He wrote, drew, inked and lettered every panel of “Peanuts.”

He died from complications of colon cancer on Feb. 12, 2000.

His final strip — a farewell to fans — was published the next day.