Peanuts introduced readers to some of comics’ most iconic characters during its 50-year run, and this is the one who spoke the very first line!
The very first line of dialogue uttered in Peanuts‘ debut strip was said by one character most fans likely didn’t expect. Peanuts is a franchise that has endured the test of time since it first premiered in 1950. For years, timeless characters such as Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy and Woodstock entertained readers of all ages with their delightful adventures. However, when it comes to the comic’s very first strip, none of these iconic characters said a word.
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In Charles Schulz’s first Peanuts comic on October 2, 1950, Charlie Brown is shown coming down the street with a smile on his face. However, he never says a thing throughout the strip’s four panels. Instead, Shermy (also known as Sherman) speaks the franchise’s first lines as he tells Patty that “Good Ol’ Charlie Brown” is walking by. When he walks out of sight, Shermy is quick to change tone as he tells her, “How I hate him.”
Peanuts’ Very First Line Sets Up Charlie Brown’s Character
What’s amazing about this startling truth about Peanuts‘ origin is that despite Charlie Brown not getting the first line in the comic’s history, it still establishes who he would become years down the road. Charlie Brown is known for being a character who has friends but is constantly worried by what they think of him. Some characters get frustrated at him for ruining a baseball game with a pitch, or they make fun of him by pulling a football away when he tries to kick it in one of the comic’s most iconic gags. This first line delivered by Shermy sets up a lot of the character dynamics for what would come later in the strip’s run as he expresses his disdain for the character, even if the grudge they harbor against him is a secret.
Related: How Peanuts’ Best Decade Changed Charlie Brown Forever
What Happened to Shermy in Peanuts?
Perhaps the most notable thing about Shermy having the first line is that he never made it to the end of the comic’s life in 2000. He was eventually phased out around the ’70s as his role was reduced more and more. He would still make appearances in the ’60s and early ’70s, including having a moment in the classic holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas where he complains about having to play a shepherd in the Christmas play. But he was soon completely excluded from the strips as more characters like Marcie and Franklin were introduced. However, while he would overall disappear from the comics, he eventually appeared again years after it concluded. His first portrayal in years arrived in 2011 with the Peanuts special Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown. From there, he began making appearances again in the world of animation, even garnering a role in the 2015 film The Peanuts Movie.
Shermy will always have a place in Peanuts history despite being removed from the comics altogether after a certain point. Not only did he serve as a straight man to the antics of Charlie Brown and the gang, but he served as the first character to speak in the series’ 50 year run. His first line of dialogue kicked off Peanuts‘ iconic run and set up one of the medium’s most famous characters who will continue to be relevant as time goes by.