1980s Nostalgia: Marcie
After writing a piece on Peppermint Patty last week it occurred to me that no comic character worthy of his or the position in the funnies pages goes without some kind of companion. Garfield has Odie, Dagwood has Blondie, hell even April from For Better or For Worse had the annoying and spoiled Becky. In the comic world, a companion is often an extreme opposite to the star in some way. For example, Odie is as loyal and dumb as Garfield is smart and malevolent. In the Peanuts world, we have Lucy Van Pelt to offset Charlie Brown and (to a lesser extent,) the pairing of sweet Linus Van Pelt and somewhat self-serving Sally Brown.
And Peppermint Patty has Marcie.
Marcie (whose surname is never revealed in the comics but was cited as Johnson in TV special,) is intelligent and rigid in the way that she processes information. She is the only character to wear glasses (her eyes can never be seen,) and has little interest in or understanding of sports. She and Peppermint Patty initially get off on the wrong foot when they meet at summer camp, with Marcie referring to Peppermint Patty as "Sir" (a dig at Peppermint Patty's tomboyishness,) while Peppermint Patty refers to Marcie as a "dorky kid". Later, the pair meet again when Marcie transfers to Peppermint Patty's school, much to the disgust of each other.
Over time, the pair slowly become friends. Marcie's calling Peppermint Patty "Sir" slowly becomes more affectionate, and Marcie is often the one who tries to talk sense into the often idealistic Peppermint Patty. The pairing is an interesting one as both are wholly good characters, and the comedy often comes from them trying to help one another, rather than from a mean-spirited place. Still Marcie remains a supporting character in the comic strip to Peppermint Patty and, in later years, to Snoopy when he takes on the part of the Red Barron.
PS Bonus question. Who is your favourite Peanuts character and why?