Charlie Brown experiencing this kind of outburst is rare, through the overall history of the strip. This is more the kind of thing the other characters would do, although CB will do it if it regards someone he really admires. Less often Davy Crockett, more often Joe Shlabotnik.
Linus hasn't spoken a word to another person yet, but he plays baseball. (Of course, Snoopy never speaks to another person -- or rather, doesn't say things other than "Boo.") Everyone remember Schroeder-the-musician, but Schroeder-the-catcher appears frequently, if less distinctively.
Canine prodigies are disconcerting. Sarcastic ones moreso.
Yeah Linus, I know how you feel. The blanket hasn't become a big element of the strip yet, but we're getting there.
How does Schroeder know about used cars? I like how the kids don't refer to the baby sitters by name, just by their attributes and reputation. It's an impersonal relationship, that between the high school student and her temporary charges. The most legendary babysitter in comics would have to be Calvin's nemesis Rosalyn. It's really difficult to picture a character like her in Peanuts, and not just because she's an adult.
Charlie Brown has mostly laughed at this kind of rejection up to now, but this is getting more to his familiar personality from later strips.
Since the last post, the comics world took a grevious blow when Richard Thompson, creator of the best modern comic strip going by a wide margin, Cul De Sac, had to lay down his pen due to encroaching Parkinson's Disease. I'm sorry I wasn't about to work in more references to it in these posts; it is wonderful in a way that fans of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes will find familiar, but still manages to be distinct from both of them in both style and tone. Alice is kind of like Calvin but more realistic and much more random; Petey is like Charlie Brown except much more introverted and nervous. The strip ended just after its fifth birthday, and in far fewer newspapers than you'd expect from its extreme brilliance, but I'm still suffering from a strong sense of deja vu from when C&H closed up shop. Thompson says he's quitting because the disease made it hard to keep up with the strong deadlines of a newspaper strip, so I'm hoping, kind of like Michael J. Fox, that we haven't heard the last from him, or his brilliant creation maybe in some other form.
Patty and Violet have taunted Charlie Brown with party exclusion before, but now it's starting to look particularly malicious.
Not really a lot of joke here, I guess. It does look a little more like Snoops is Charlie Brown's dog, however. I wonder, in the future post-apocalyptic culture-to-come that treats comics as holy texts, if the mystery of Snoopy's early ownership will become fiercely-contested dogma and the subject of vicious crusades?
That's a lot of effort Charles Schulz put into that big star on the left. Remember: these panels are blacked-out, so those stars are all made out of negative space.
It just occurred to me, we don't see an awful lot of the Peanuts kids hanging out around water throughout the strip. I remember seeing C.B. at the seashore some time back (Patty and Violet mistook his head for a beachball), and there have been several wading pools.
I wonder... is that tree back there the same tree, earlier in life, that we would frequently see the kids laying beneath later on?
Charlie Brown's attitude in panel 2 is largely my own opinion on riddles. Neither of us would do very well if tasked to win magic rings from slimy cave-dwellers.
This strip is a solid point of development towards Snoopy's status as a foil to Charlie Brown. There's a lot of other classic elements in this strip: Charlie Brown's failures as a ball player, Schroeder's role as catcher, Snoopy kind of playing a role as a fielder and his playfulness, and CB's impotent reaction to it at the end.
* The short distance between the pitcher's "mound" and home plate, and how Charlie Brown has to throw the ball in an arc to avoid the strip's title.
* Snoopy's cloud of "R"s in panel five.
* The tiny Patty off the field in panel six. There's another tiny figure in the background, but I can't tell who it is.
* Panel nine: "Oh good grief!"
* The vigor and looseness of the entire sequence. I think this is Peanuts art at its height right here.
* Snoopy's smug expression in the last panel. That dog!
And that's 1,000 posts, I think! (Blogger's numbering might be counting some future posts I have scheduled that haven't appeared yet.) Posts have been slow as of late, and for that I apologize, but it's been some weird times out here. We've got some interesting strips coming up though so it should pick up for a while, hopefully I can keep up the energy through the next thousand.
Lucy's smile in panel three is an atypical expression for her.
Whoop? Although it's difficult to think of a better bit of onomatopoeia to use here. Maybe "whine," but that's not really a sound effect. Maybe "ouch," but Snoopy can't talk. Speaking of which, Snoopy's got another thought balloon here. I think he's finally in the phase where he mostly uses thought bubbles.
We've not gotten huge amounts of hate out of Patty and Violet yet, although it's flared up from time to time. Charlie Brown does seem to be giving Violet cause for her outburst here. How about a little personal space, kid?
Although Snoopy doesn't talk to the characters, they've never shown themselves (to my knowledge) to have any doubts that Snoopy understands them. Charie Brown's phrase here, "You just aren't much for doing things right, are you?", sounds idiomatic in a midwestern kind of way to me, like something that might have been floating around Schulz's hearing that he thought to call up. But that's just a guess, of course. The drawing of Snoopy running here is very nice, and the next strip shows that it's not the only way Schulz has to draw it. You can imagine pretty well what Snoopy would look like in motion from these.
This is a very "Peanuts" kind of punchline, taking something the kids have figured out (regardless of whether it's true or not) and extrapolating it to draw further conclusions. I don't think an awful lot of strips would think to do that.
Oooooo! Not only do we not get to get the bug's "house," presumably a hole, we don't even get to see the bug. The hyphens between the Ts in "pret-t-t-y fancy" are a good textual representation of a spoken idiom. (I guess "idiom" is the word of the day.)
What appears to be an ordinary gag shows unexpected depths when examined more closely.
What does Snoopy mean by "WHEN will I ever learn?!" At first glance it looks like he's expressing regret that he enjoyed himself too much and, in his excitement, hit the pavement. But look at Patty and Violet's faces: they don't smile, or frown, or act even act surprised the whole time. Even in panel six their expressions are remarkably deadpan. In panels eight and nine their reaction is mostly: "Well, that happened. Lemonade?" Because of this, I propose that Snoopy's thought balloon in the last panel has more to do with disappointment at the lack of concern expressed by the human girls than any regret for going overboard.
Oh, also, this is Snoopy using thought balloons completely in the modern style, with a trail of bubbles as if talking to himself. I don't think it's absolutely the first time it's happened, but up until now, except for one or two early instances, he's either been completely wordless or used word balloons. That marks a major advancement for the strip.
These strips might be slightly out of order or not match up with their dates due to a problem with my blogging client.
Another strip that shows off Linus' genius. Lucy still seems mostly proud of her little brother at this point.
July 19 (?):
Snoopy vs. The Yard: Horseshoes. Not a lot to say. The last panel seems to exist mostly as a way to explain to people what's going on in panel 3, in case they couldn't piece together that a game of horseshoes was being played from the stake.
Not an awfully kind for a kid to do to her little brother!
This isn't that much better either, but I like Linus' reaction, and how it catches Lucy off-guard. Don't put up with it Linus! Fight the Man! Er, Girl!
Lucy pines away for Schroeder a lot, but you see very few strips, that I remember at least, that hint that Lucy might have a crush on Charlie Brown. Other than all the abuse she's heaped on him over the years, I guess. That might actually be considered a pretty solid hint, now that I think of it.
We barely recognize Pig-Pen either. He kind of looks a bit like Shermy like this.
Who is better: Christian Slater or the Earl of Sandwich?
Who is better: R. Crumb or George Foreman?
Who is better: Alfred E. Neuman or a cardboard cutout of Darth Vader?
What I'm asking in my roundabout way is, what criteria are they using? Apparently they're going by the personal flaws of their opponents, which I guess is as objective a measure or anything.
Peanuts would eventually earn a long history of abstract first panels, but I have to admit I don't quite get this one. Is that supposed to be an olive branch? It wouldn't fit in with the theme of the strip, which is that neither side is willing to give an inch.
How did Linus get into that crib so easily? Other than that, not a lot to say about this. Except maybe that "lap, lap, lap" and "smack, smack, smack" seem a little weird.
Up to this point, class distinctions haven't really entered into Peanuts that much. We had that strip in which Shermy plays with his elaborate train set, then Charlie Brown goes home to play with his simple oval. This is just another version of that really. Still, it takes some effort to piece it together, but one can eventually detect a continuity effort to depict Charlie Brown's family as less well-off as the other kids. This comes to a head in a memorable Sunday strip in which Violet, after bragging about her dad, is dressed down quite effectively by Charlie Brown showing her where his barber dad works.
Well you know what they say a stopped watch is still right twice a day, unless it's a daylight savings day, in which case it is possible that it could instead be right one or three times depending on circumstances.
Snoopy seems to have an innate perching instinct which eventually finds expression atop his doghouse.
Snoopy is a fun character to see in weird poses, which I suspect is the inspiration behind his imaginative flights of fancy in upcoming years. He's not there yet, but this is a step along the way.
As Snoopy becomes more "filled out," and more humanoid, he also becomes much less mobile, which I think eventually comes to harm the fun of the character. Well, you're free to disagree with me.
I'm reminded of that earlier Sunday strip in which Charlie Brown fills a wading pool from a hose, runs over to turn off the water, comes back to find Snoopy sitting in the water, and is so disgusted that he empties the pool and starts over. What's wrong with Snoopy sitting in the pool too? Is it wet dog smell?
The text of ROASTED PEANUTS is copyright 2009-2011 by John Harris. No copyright is claimed over the comic strips, which are here under the principle of fair use. Strips presented for review purposes only. We love Peanuts a whole lot, and wouldn't dream of exploiting it. Please don't sue us; we're only trying to love. Thank you for reading this notice.