This is entry #13 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: Roy T. Cook (University of Minnesota–Twin Cities)
Artwork: “Once Upon a Time”, in Detective Comics #500 (1981), Len Wein (writer) & Walt Simonson (artist), 2 page comic.
Words: Charles Schulz created a metafictional series of Peanutsstrips about a Beagle who writes a short novel (the definitive version, including cover art by Lucy van Pelt, is found in Snoopy and “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night”, Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1971). Wein and Simonson created a two-page meta-meta-comic whose only text is Snoopy’s brief masterpiece. Intentionally purple prose is thus transformed into a poignant superhero adventure. Is it true in the Peanuts fiction that Snoopy wrote a Batman comic? Are facts about Snoopy’s fictional biography relevant to our interpretation of “Once Upon a Time?” My head hurts!