Over at Panels and Pixels, Chris Mautner has posted an enlightening interview with Monte Schultz, the son of legendary comic artist & Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. They discussed the recent release of David Michaelis’ biography about Charles Schulz and the controversy over how the artist was portrayed. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Q: Ok, so let me read to you a little bit of a quote Michaelis gave to me that didn’t make my story. “How could I write a book about a comic strip genius, how could he not be perceived as a complex person? Maybe it’s an overly complex portrait. Maybe it should be simplified. I should have stepped back and let the sun shine in and lighten up a little. That may be an area where the book could have been greater.”
A: Yeah, I think that if he had let dad … this is something we talked about 10 months ago when we first saw the book. If he had just let dad’s life reveal itself, and it’s interesting because David uses this line, “a live reveals.” But he doesn’t do that in this book. He doesn’t allow a life to be revealed. He makes judgements, he interprets, he mythologyzes, he psychoanalizes. David really didn’t have an interest in telling dad’s life story. He had an interest in analyzing dad’s life and that’s different. Because in doing that he becomes very selective with his wiritng. And I think that’s where the error of the book is.
Yeah, he should have simplified this whole thing. You know what he ought to have done, he ought to have taken himself of the book. If David had removed himself and just let dad’s life reveal itself then he could have alowed his readers to make their own interpretations. In fact, David tells you what to think. He is just not content to let the story reveal itself.
(Image by Charles Schulz, courtesy of United Media)