(Charles Schulz in 1966.)
Umm ... no.
Kevin Wong's "How Snoopy Killed Peanuts" is hard to swallow, and it's an over-simplification. He posits that the strip began its downfall when Snoopy became the strip's most popular character. Go and read it. Here's my take:
I mean, there's a big difference in Charles Schulz of 1950 and Charles Schulz of the 1990s. He's going to write differently, of course, as the years go by. I'm not sure that Mr. Wong understands that the strip was the creation of one guy in front of a drawing board for about a half a century.
(Snoopy and Woodstock in a preview poster for the new Peanuts Movie opening in theaters this November.)
By the way, Mort Walker is on the record for thinking Schulz crazy for making Snoopy the World War One Flying Ace. That's OK, that's his opinion.
But Mr. Wong's idea that the strip was an unsparing look at the cruelties of childhood, and that that was the BEST thing about it -- and that Snoopy diluted that and diminished the strip -- is baloney.
Snoopy, for most people, MADE the strip. He was the id of the feature and its breakout character. And the strips were more nuanced, with more going on than "brutalizing Charlie Brown." Anyone who has read the strip (and I think that's pretty much ALL of us) knows this. Kevin Wong is cherry-picking what made the strip great. That's his opinion, of course, and he's wrong.