Thursday, 12 April 2018

Gahan Wilson's Nuts

Nuts ran in the National Lampoon from 1972 to 1986, and was by the king of weird and disturbing cartooning, Gahan Wilson.
Wilson has said that the strip was a reaction to Peanuts ( hence the title ), accusing Charles Schulz of sentimentalizing the idea of childhood, and not representing that time as it really is.
Whether you agree with him or not, we should all produce something as great through being annoyed about somebody's else's work.
Nuts is the dark end of childhood, it's protagonist ( know only as The Kid ) constantly bemused, confused and overwhelmed by the adult-run world he finds himself in. In fact, the editors at NatLamp quite often accused Wilson himself of over-sentimentalizing, and urged him to go even darker.
Here's a selection, starting with a piece that'll ring true to every single person looking at this site.


  1. I have this book somewhere and I will state that Gahan Wilson was 100% accurate in describing childhood - School work, homework, chores, the need to get passing grades to avoid the wrath of parents, etc. most of us were eager to grow up and geat away from all that not realizing being a grownup wasn't much better.

    We tend to remember the past better than it really was.

    Thanks for posting this.

  2. I think Wilson also nailed the confusion and bemusement of being a child in a world full of adults - a great strip as I say.

  3. Funny, I haven't made an extensive study of Peanuts, but I seem to remember it's sentimentality involving a really neurotic kid who could never perform when it came to kicking balls. Compare it to... chopping wood with Grandpa, or something. I think Gahan reacted against Charles Schultz' childhood because it wasn't his childhood, and his childhood wasn't my childhood. I never got groomed in some skeevy cinema, for one thing.

    But sure, I can relate to some of these. Especially complicated stuff in school (all the way up to university - even without missing lots of classes, the Krebs Cycle was and is gibberish to me) and movie monsters with creepy eyes...

  4. I don't think you can write about childhood without at least skirting sentimentality, something Wilson may've discovered when doing Nuts.
    And Peanuts for me can be at least as dark as this, it's just the art styles that differ ( though Charlie Brown was never groomed thank god! )