Li'l Folks is the first comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It was a weekly panel comic that mainly appeared in the women's section of Schulz's hometown paper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, beginning in 1947. He was credited under his lifelong nickname Sparky.
In early 1950, Schulz quit the strip after the editor refused to increase his pay from $10 and also refused to move Li'l Folks to the comics pages of the newspaper. Later that year, he successfully pitched Li'l Folks to United Feature Syndicate for national distribution. Afterwards, he did some retooling of the concept, including switching from several single-panel gags placed together to a four-panel narrative format, and using a set cast instead of random nameless characters. However, editors found the name Li'l Folks too close to the names of two other comics of the time, Li'l Abner and Little Folks. To avoid confusion, the syndicate changed the name and Peanuts was born.
Schulz reused many elements from Li'l Folks for Peanuts, such as Charlie Brown's name and Snoopy's design.
Li'l Folks has been released twice: once in 2003 in the Li'l Beginnings collection and once again in 2016 in the penultimate volume of The Complete Peanuts.
- Adorably Precocious Child: A lot of the humour comes from cute little kids trying to act like adults and saying things you wouldn't expect.
- Art Evolution: The strip became more stylized until it started looking like early Peanuts.
- Canine Companion: One boy is often accompanied by his pet dog
- No Name Given: The characters were mostly unnamed. Only a few have their names mentioned in dialogue (and it's inconsistent, as several boys are named "Charlie Brown").
- Puppy Love: Subverted. A few strips has a boy 'courting' a girl when he's really just interested in her toys or comics.
- Running Gag: A few, such as a toddler in a high chair who acts like he's in a restaurant (or bar), and a young music student who cracks jokes about his trouble playing Beethoven pieces (a clear prototype for Schroeder).
- Short-Runners: It ran from from June 22, 1947, to January 22, 1950.