Thursday, December 10, 2009

March 1, 1952: Whee!


How did he get out of his house so fast? How could the characters think they were hiding behind that tiny fence?

The third panel here is most interesting to me, since it depicts three characters running. It's not as easy to depict a cartoon character running, cleanly, as you might think, and those squat Peanuts characters have special issues with it. The general pose these running characters adopt is leaning forward slightly, front leg lifted up and bent, rear leg bent and folder under the body, and arms held out a little with hands crumpled. They are also shown "hovering" in the air. Note that their legs are a little longer when running, so they don't look too strange, but in the last panel their legs must be quite a bit longer for them to be holding that crouching pose.

Note that characters who are actively trying to run lean forward a little, but Charlie Brown, who isn't trying to run very hard because he's not intent on escaping and doesn't know why he's running, is leaning backwards a little. This post also helps to keep him distinct from the other characters, since his head is moved out from behind Patty's. Also note Shermy's pose in the second panel, with his right leg pulling away from the door a little in anticipation of his run. These are the kinds of things a good nuts-and-bolts cartoonist thinks about. It is hard to imagine, say, Scott Adams, whose cartoons are more about irony and banter, and who uses characters mostly as containers for dialogue, it is hard to imagine him spending much time worrying about these things.

Finally, did kids every say "whee" like that?


  1. What's interesting to me is that Charlie Brown is using proper grammar (notwithstanding what appears to be an extraneous comma.) Most kids I've encountered would say "Who are we hiding from?"

  2. B-b-but a couple of weeks ago he said "Trease Peaty!"

  3. I came in to say the same thing Peter said. (And I'll add that TRULY proper grammar would have it as "From whom are we hiding?")

  4. Apropos of nothing, but:

    "But who," she demanded, "do you suspect?" I looked at her cryptically. "Everybody," I said, and disappeared into a small grove of trees as silently as I had come.

    (James Thurber, end of "The MacBeth Murder Mystery.)

  5. Johnny Hart wrote an intro for a hardbound Peanuts collection once in which he mentioned that Schulz never had to worry about being trampled by his cartoon characters (it makes sense if you read the whole thing) because they walk around three feet off the ground. It's more or less true; the Peanuts characters' feet usually only touch the ground when they're standing still.

  6. It's not proper grammar. You only use whom when the word follows directly after the proposition. 'From whom are we hiding?', but 'Who are we hiding from?'