Charles "Sparky" Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, died in his sleep at 9:45 PM, February 12th, 2000. He was 77.

Today (Feb. 13), his final Peanuts strip will run in the Sunday newspaper. As with his final daily strip (January 3rd), this one is a farewell note to his fans. In the weeks before his death, he had been shown many thank you notes from his friends a peers, thousands which appeared via the mail and hundreds which arrived via the Internet. For a brief biography of Sparky, see:
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/nat/schulz.htm
When I got on the computer, I was ready to write a standard AAUGH.com newsletter, alerting you to various changes on the site and pointing out some minor newly-listed books. Then I see the news, and that seems so unimportant. What follows is a message I wrote to share with my Internet friends.
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Sparky has passed on.

At this point, it doesn’t pay to be too sad. He had a full life, with wives and children, and a career so successful that it completely redefined both creative and commercial success in his field. He seemed to know this was coming, and had time to say goodbye to his friends.

And I owe him a big thanks. It wasn’t until I really thought about it that I realized how much his work has shaped my life. I don’t mean just my out-of-control hobby of collecting Peanuts books, or the online Peanuts bookstore I run in my spare time. I mean, it got me into comics, and set me on the path to my career as a comics writer. It got me reading, and set me on the path to becoming a writer in general. It taught me what it means to be a friend, and informed the comic delivery which is still a lot of how I deal with people.

In recent weeks, I’ve had to write Schulz-oriented articles for various publications. One of the toughest parts of that work has been keeping it abstract, dealing with what he did rather than how it effected me. He and his work are not things I can view dispassionately.

He did great things with funny pictures, entertaining millions with an amazing quantity of high-quality material, crafted single-handedly. He did what he loved, and he loved what he did. He was respected by his peers and loved by his fans, and has a permanent spot in the history of his artform.

There is no reason to be too sad.

But I am.

–Nat Gertler proprietor http://AAUGH.com