"Pig-Pen" is a human soil bank who raises a cloud of dust on a perfectly clean street and passes out gum drops that are invariably black.
Charles M. Schulz on "Pig-Pen"
"Pig Pen" first appeared on July 13, 1954. In his first appearance, he tells Patty, "I haven't got a name . . . People just call me things . . . Real insulting things." He says he is usually called "Pig-Pen". No real name for "Pig-Pen" was ever subsequently given in later Peanuts strips.
Being constantly dirty is a trait that "Pig-Pen" is best known for. He can get dirty even by walking in a rainstorm. There is one strip where he cleans himself up for a party, but the other Peanuts characters do not let him in because they do not recognize him.
In another strip, after bathing and dressing in clean clothes, "Pig-Pen" steps outside his house and instantly becomes dirty and disheveled, whereupon he declares to Charlie Brown, "You know what I am? I'm a dust magnet!" Another strip shows "Pig-Pen" declaring the importance of having clean hands, but after failing to wash them effectively, he realizes that he has "reached a point of no return."
In This is America, Charlie Brown: The NASA Space Station, after "Pig-Pen" cleans himself, dirt attracts to him magnetically, making him dirty again.
"Pig-Pen" is also mocked for being dirty in the TV specials, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas. In It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, "Pig-Pen" disguises himself as a ghost, but his true identity is easily revealed because of the trail of dust that follows him.
Charles M. Schulz admitted that he came to regret "Pig-Pen's" popularity, given the character's essentially one-joke nature; he utilized the character very rarely in the later years of the strip's run.
"Pig-Pen" last appeared in the Peanuts comic strip on September 8, 1999. That strip is unusual in that it shows him embarrassed to the point of shame by his dirtiness, with none of the pride or sense of destiny that he had expressed in earlier strips.
Although Charlie Brown is "Pig-Pen"'s friend, he does not appreciate the cloud of dirt that follows him. He sometimes reproves "Pig-Pen" for his constant messiness. However, he is usually impressed by how "Pig-Pen" manages to stay messy, even in a rainstorm. In one strip, "Pig Pen" is embarrassed when Charlie Brown deduces - simply from the dirt on his clothes - where he has been playing for the past three days.
Patty and VioletEdit
Patty and Violet always mock and insult "Pig-Pen" for being messy. In one strip, Patty is about to pour a bucket of water on "Pig-Pen", realizing afterwards that he is already clean. Patty turns around, but, as the reader can see, "Pig-Pen" is only half clean and his dirty side is facing away from Patty. In another strip, Violet attempts to shame "Pig-Pen" by making him look in a mirror. She asks him, "Aren't you ashamed?" to which "Pig-Pen" replies, "On the contrary. I didn't think I looked this good." He has also told Violet "I forgot to rake my hair,".
In the Peanuts computer game, It's the Big Game, Charlie Brown, "Pig-Pen" says that he is in-love with Violet, due to her habit of making mud pies. However, this has never been stated in the comic strip, and therefore cannot be considered canon.
Snoopy, like most of the other characters, is disgusted by "Pig-Pen's" dirtiness. On one occasion, he is shown running away from a muddy ball thrown by "Pig-Pen". Snoopy even refuses to take food from "Pig-Pen", because the food is too dirty. (Which is considered unusual since Snoopy will stop at nothing to take food from someone.)
Unlike most of the other characters, Peppermint Patty does not mind "Pig-Pen's" dirtiness, and in one strip from 1980, she even fell in love with him.
- "Pig-Pen" is one of the many Peanut characters to appear in the game Snoopy's Street Fair, in which, he owns a flea circus.