Folks, this might come as a shock, but the original Charlie Brown didn’t have zigzags on his shirt, nor eyebrows above his alarmingly wide-set eyes. Okay — maybe we’re being a little nitpicky with the eyebrows, but there’s certainly something strange about good ol’ Chuck in his 1950s Peanuts form. The same goes for Jon Arbuckle, whose eyes have grown tenfold in size since the downer’s first Garfield appearance. While wandering the depths of the Internet for our previous roundup of early character sketches, we kept bumping into these fascinating first comic strips of Charlie Brown, Garfield, Calvin, Hobbes, and more. So, since it’s always enjoyable to note the not-so-subtle changes in popular characters, we decided to save said strips for a roundup of their own. Click through for a good laugh, a bit of history, and ten debut comic strips featuring our favorite cartoon characters.
On October 2, 1950, nine newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The Boston Globe, were treated to the very first Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The strip featured a fresh-faced Charlie Brown, a rude boy with a seemingly receding hairline, and a quiet girl with a bow in her hair. The Chuck hater would later be revealed as Shermy, and the girl, Patty, eventually led way to another Patty, but of the “Peppermint” variety. Before Shulz’s Peanuts strip, the cartoonist had pegged Charlie’s name to four of his previous characters. Clearly, none of them were true Charlie Browns.