Good ol' Charlie Brown... how I hate him!
- Shermy, October 2, 1950
was one of the first characters in Charles M. Schulz
's hit comic strip Peanuts
. He first appeared in the strip's inaugural on October 2, 1950
, alongside Charlie Brown
(not to be confused with Peppermint Patty
), and he holds the distinct honor of uttering the only speech in the entire four-panel strip.
Shermy was vital in the strip's early days, as he was the only male in the strip's supporting cast while Frieda (1951), Violet (1951), and Lucy van Pelt (1952) were expanding its female character base. Many of Schulz's early jokes relied on Shermy, since there were no other boys around to talk to Charlie Brown, but the character remained largely undeveloped.
In 1952, Lucy was given a new little brother, Linus van Pelt. Suddenly, there was a brilliantly developed male co-star to Charlie Brown's lead, complete with security blanket. As Linus's role in the strip expanded, and Schroeder arrived on the scene to supplement him, Shermy began to slowly disappear.
The slow death of Shermy was subtly referenced in A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) when Shermy said "Every Christmas it's the same. I always end up playing the shepherd." Like Patty, poor Shermy's character just wasn't strong enough to hold up to the newcomers. His last strip was published in 1969, but his name continued to occasionally appear in the strip's dialogue well into the seventies, indicating that Schulz wanted to keep Shermy's spirit alive in the Peanuts' world.