Sunday, November 29, 2009

February 13, 1952: Charlie Brown Must Be Oblivious


We've been going through nearly every strip lately, but there's been a lot to talk about!

The reason I bring up this one is that I think I see in it an early version of the Charlie Brown Messes Up strips of the years to come. The payoff of this strip is unusual. The main comedic punch is in the third panel. If all Schulz cared about was that joke, he really only needed that panel. The others may be dispensed with wholly.

But I don't think Schulz was just concerned with the main joke here. The joke isn't about a clueless kid, it is about the kid's well-meaning observation being shown to be mistaken, and his embarrassment about this. About his realizing that he really should have noticed that he was standing on Snoopy's tail. In other words, this strip is about inadequacy.

Even now, most comic strips would just point and laugh and say, in essence, "That stupid kid! He is stupid! Isn't that funny? Ha! Ha!" By pointing at the stupid person doing something stupid and laughing, it helps to reassure ourselves that we are smart. Peanuts empathizes with the stupid kid, and in the process reminds us that we are all stupid, sometimes.

This is why Peanuts is a great comic strip.

1 comment:

  1. The thing that always confused me about this comic is that Snoopy is supposed to be "howling" but there's no sound effect. He just seems to be yawning.