"Welcome Home, Franklin”

Cartoonist Robb Armstrong co-wrote Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin, which is now streaming on Apple TV+.

The story of Franklin, a character in Charles Schultz’s beloved comic strip, Peanuts, reflects a wider search among Black Americans for friendship and inclusion. Peanuts first appeared in newspapers in 1950. Years later, in 1968, Schultz introduced Franklin, the first Black character to join Charlie Brown and his pet beagle, Snoopy. 

At first, Franklin has trouble fitting in with the others, all of whom are White. He hopes that his success in a Soap Box Derby will help him win over new friends.  

Franklin didn’t have a last name when he first appeared in the comic strip. But Schultz later said that his last name was Armstrong. This was in honor of Robb Armstrong, a renowned cartoonist known for his Jump Start comic strip. I recently spoke with Armstrong about the significance of Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin, an Apple TV+ series that he co-wrote. 

Armstrong said that Schultz, who died in 2000, profoundly influenced his own career. For Armstrong, who is African American, the addition of a Black character in the world-famous Peanuts strip opened the door for kids like him.

“Franklin’s presence in Peanuts was a pivotal moment for me,” Armstrong said via video. “It instilled in me a belief in the power of representation and the importance of diversity in storytelling.”


“Schulz added Franklin to Peanuts to combat racism and violence in America,” Armstrong says.


Armstrong explained Schulz’s motivation for introducing the character of Franklin. He wanted to break down barriers in American society. “Schulz added Franklin to Peanuts to combat racism and violence in America,” Armstrong said.

At the time, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated, and Armstrong was grappling with his own struggles in school. At the time, books and other learning materials rarely depicted positive stories about children of color.

Armstrong went on to work with Schulz and earn his admiration. Armstrong also created Jump Start, the most widely syndicated cartoon strip in the world by a Black creator.

When Franklin was given Armstrong’s last name, it was a proud moment for the young cartoonist. “I felt honored to be part of the biggest legacy in the industry,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong emphasized the key role that Franklin’s character plays in Peanuts and the importance of representation in the media. “Representation matters,” Armstrong said. “Franklin’s presence serves as a timeless reminder of the importance of diversity in shaping our collective narrative.” 



Photos courtesy of Apple TV+