The longest story ever written by one person is not a gripping series of novels, nor is it The Never Ending Story (boy, was that a misleading title), it’s none other than Peanuts, the comic strip written by Charles M. Schulz. Clearly this is a rather big claim to make, especially with so many long and fantastic stories available over the centuries, surely some other piece of literature would hold the crown for the longest story ever written.
As a kid growing up I had the opportunity to watch what was a newly released movie called The Never Ending Story. I was only young at the time and fully expected it to never have an ending and go on forever. The title proved to be totally misleading. I wonder just how many people made unnecessary trips to the bathroom during a screening thinking that it will run for an eternity. But it turned out that a story that had no ending actually did have an ending, and wasn’t all that long either, being roughly as long as any other story available to watch on VHS a the time. But what about other books?
Off the top of my head there are several I can think of. The story about Middle Earth by J R R Tolkien essentially stretched several volumes, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings and continued with The Silmarillion. But despite the extraordinary length of this work, part of it was written by his son, Christopher. So out the door it goes. What are some others that could be considered the longest story ever written by a single person?
Another set of books that comes to mind is the work by Tom Clancy, and his hero, Jack Ryan. The story of Jack Ryan has a beautiful and intricate back story, and isn’t confined to only one book. His books about Jack Ryan spanned more than a dozen stories in total, but falls short of a simple comic strip. Then there’s the story about Robert Langdon, the iconology professor created by Dan Brown. To date he has appeared in four books, which falls miles short of the mighty Peanuts story.
Why is Peanuts the longest story ever written by a single person?
Peanuts is an extremely popular cartoon strip in America. It has attained critical acclaim as one of the best written comic strips of all time. It’s been so popular that NASA even names Apollo 10 space modules after it. But popularity and critical acclaim are one thing. Why is Peanuts the longest story ever written by one person? In short. It spanned more than fifty years.
The first Peanuts comic appeared in 1947 as Li’l Folks. It ran for three years until Schulz tried to syndicate the strip. After Schulz’s first attempt fell through, he tried again and scored a deal in 1950, but there had to be a name change because of similar names already in circulation, along with a few others minor issues. On October 2, 1950, Peanuts premiered in nine national newspapers. It ran a daily strip from that date until the final strip was published on February 13, 2000, one day after the death of its creator, Charles M. Schulz.