Sunday, January 31, 2010

May 13, 1952: We've all known people like this


This is a remarkably understated strip. There is no punchline!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

May 12,1952: Roll a d20 to resolve the attack


Role-playing games often use the question of who-shot-whom in a game of Cowboys and Indians to explain why they use die rolls to resolve those issues. They assume that most players aren't as fair-minded as Charlie Brown!

Calvin would not have let Shermy win like that. In fact, Watterson would have probably turned this into a Sunday strip, and have Calvin go to extravagant lengths to come up with reasons that Shermy could never have hit him with his ray gun. This is why Calvin was so popular with his non-tiger friends.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunday, May 11, 1952: Schroeder in concert (with backup)


The entire joke here rests in Violet saying "let him play by himself" instead of "let Schroeder."

There are some nice touches in this one. In addition to the musical staffs that Schulz spent so much effort on, and he put a G-clef instead of an S in his name in the first panel. But best of all we have Snoopy in this strip for no story-related reason other than just being cute and funny there on his end of the couch. His reaction in panel 6 is best here, he's just rendered so winningly in that pose, exactly halfway between a dog-like and a human reaction. It's great.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

May 9, 1952: Oh no no no no no no no

The image for May 8 is broken on's site.


Lucy would show her gratitude towards Charlie Brown for not demolishing her block tower by pulling away a football more than 40 times.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

May 6, 1952: The monster is sighted


This is the first strip in which Lucy does something actively antagonistic against another character (who is not her unseen father). It is also quite a clever little joke on pool ol' Charlie Brown.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunday, May 4, 1952: Great Scott! A land mine!


While overall this one is kind of meh, there are some great touches in this one, like CB's reaction to hitting the grate, his goggles, the text on the sign Schroeder hits, and Lucy's determined expression in the third frame, which seems slightly more Lucy-like to my eyes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

May 3, 1952: Charlie Brown is highly suggestible


That is quite the lurid description Violet is giving there. It's like a horror story.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

May 2, 1952: When Schroeder Met Snoopy


I believe Snoopy and Schroeder have been in the same strip before (a Sunday baseball one), but this seems to be the first one in which the two interact.

I suppose we should be thankful that Snoopy isn't a musical prodigy too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

May 1, 1952: Glub


The inverse of the "girl cares more about Snoopy than she does boy" joke we've seen before.

Friday, January 22, 2010

April 30, 1952: Smaller characters


This strip seems a little under-depicted. Watching Snoopy sliding to a halt in the third panel seems abrupt without seeing him run in the second panel.

Look at the first panel here. The characters viewed from a distance are rendered a little more simply to simulate the increased distance from the reader. Particularly, Lucy's eyes are simple dots instead of circles, making her look a bit more like modern Lucy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

April 29, 1952: The birth of Charlie Brown's insecurity


We've seen hints of it before, but this is the first one in which Charlie Brown seems actually delighted just to be included with the others', like by default he is some kind of pariah, shunned by all.

This is also the first strip in which Lucy is used as a background character. It might also be the first strip in which Schroeder is used as such. That's an important step towards promoting them to full kid-hood.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

April 28, 1952: Adult word-balloon!


Schulz probably used one of these rarely-seen adult-spoken word balloons due to the difficulties in depicting muted trumpet on the comics page.

Lucy's eyes are growing out of their wide-circled phase slowly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday, April 27, 1952: That was sensational, Lucy


Lucy refers to herself in the third-person again here. I'm glad she grew out of that. That is not the only other thing, of course, that is different about her here. Between the wide eyes, tendency towards accidents and meek demeanor, there is probably no other character in Peanuts that changes so much between its conception and final version. (Well, except maybe for Snoopy, but that is a question for later....)

I read a lot of Peanuts back in first grade, for our school's library had a good collection of 50s and 60s Peanuts compilations. In a way, these early strips feel more like "real" Peanuts to me than the strips from the 80s and 90s.

I kind of miss that people don't use words like "sensational" in casual conversation these days. Or, if they are, they're not in the conversations that I tend to have.

Monday, January 18, 2010

April 24, 1952: More kite fail


Snoopy exhibits his developing mischievous streak, and Charlie Brown fails at life again. This is a fairly modern strip, except for the art style it wouldn't be out of place in the 60s.

I would just like to call attention to Schulz's question-marks. He drew 'em extra-fancy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

April 23, 1952: The largest scribble of shame yet!


There are a lot of strips about arguments and their nature right now. Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography notes that he got a lot of ideas for the strip from his social circle, including characters and pastimes, so presumably this strip about arguments originated from his observations of real arguments in his group.

It is a little-known fact that Charles Schulz started a second, short-lived comic strip later on, called It's Only A Game, the U.S. Acres to Peanuts' Garfield. My guess was he started it as an outlet for many gaming-oriented ideas sparked by his social circle that would be out of place in Peanuts.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

April 22, 1952: How undignified


Snoopy's expressions in panels 2 and 4 are cute. Of particular note here, this strip is rather busier than the standard four-panel Peanuts episode, with the "subplot" of Patty looking for the piece over to the side.

Note, on's site, the day before is a reprint of this strip. I don't know what strip is supposed to be up for the 21st.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunday, April 20, 1952: Strange mystery game


In this strip from the early 1950s, the kids are playing some bizarre game the origins of which being long lost to time. It appears to involve throwing several "horseshoe"-shaped objects (themselves artifacts from some activity or process now unknown to us) towards a stake stuck in the ground in an attempt to score a "ringer."

Judging from their progress, it seems likely that the kids must still be playing their game today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

April 19, 1952: Snoopy running


I have been trying to skip over some of these, but I've been doing a poor job of that. I would not doubt that I have linked to every Snoopy strip so far, the reason being he's so adorable in these early strips! I really think I prefer this version over the modern Snoopy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

April 17, 1952: His head does make a perfect target


Here you see the only right and proper response to anyone who claims perfection for themselves. To throw a bucket at their head.

CB's personality has been progressing towards his wishy-washy destination, but there is still some of the old smart-aleck there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

April 16, 1952: Poor Lucy


The second time Lucy has referred to herself in third-person. She is largely depicted as sympathetic in these early strips, it'll be interesting to see the point where she transforms into her demonic guise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

April 14, 1952: Schroeder's Adventures in the White Void


Wait, is he inside or outside? The lack of any background makes it difficult to tell.

There's another musical staff in this picture, I notice. No, I have no idea what song it is, although I have no doubt that it must be some song.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

EXTRA: From Metafilter Music, it's Linus and Lucifer!

Metafilter user doubtfulpalace contributed this excellent version of the classic Peanuts cartoon tune Linus and Lucy last year for a Christmas music competition. It is quite an awesome little remix! Despite the name, the song really doesn't have anything to do with Satan... unless you consider Lucy herself to be allied with the forces of darkness, which doesn't seem too implausible really.

Linus and Lucifer

Sunday, April 13, 1952: Gangway!


Another first! Here we have the beginning of Charlie Brown's long and troubled career as a kite flyer.

What, precisely, is the context behind "gangway?" I've heard it before, but what is its origins?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

April 12, 1952: Ball One


Poor Charlie Brown would never really get much better than this. This is the first strip that puts both Charlie Brown and Schroeder into their respective baseball positions as pitcher and catcher.

Of special note: Charlie Brown's pitcher's mound is a lot more subtle in this strip than it would be later on.

Friday, January 8, 2010

May 7, 1952: Schroeder is speechless


Schroeder does very little talking in these early strips. Here Schulz puts the setup that would make more sense coming out of Schroeder's mouth in CB's, and doesn't even give him a reaction comment at the end. Although he is slowly approaching the other characters in size, it seems like he is still being purposely represented as pre-verbal, even though Lucy, who is apparently even younger, talks (and refers to herself in third person) frequently.

April 11, 1952: Humph!


Snoopy looks quite a bit larger here than before. Compare to his first appearance on October 4, 1950:


Thursday, January 7, 2010

April 10, 1952: Stacking blocks


This strip is here mostly because it seems a lot like something Linus would do.

Also, while there might be an earlier example, this is definitely one of the first times Schulz uses a bent-over, upside-down, floating in mid-air character as a way of representing them tumbling through the air as they fall. This gets used most often when a character is shouting at another one or, of course, then Lucy pulls away the football as Charlie Brown tries to kick it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

April 9, 1952: Someone get the kid some rubber bands


Just a funny strip. The third panel seems to be a little closer to the familiar Peanuts style than before. The thing that sticks out about it, to me, is the mouth, that little line denoting how the skin of the cheek draws back as the mouth grimaces with the effort of the throw. I haven't pinned it down to anything yet, though. It just surprised me a little.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

April 8, 1952: Followed By Monomaniacal


I love the look on Lucy's face in the third panel. The glaring round eyes really work for that one.

It might just be the printing, or the scan, but the second panel looks like Schulz didn't completely encircle the eyes, they look more like the parenthesis eyes Lucy and Linus get later.

April 5, 1952: Nobody Loves Me


1. This is a strip that could just as easily be done in three panels. There is really no reason to have that first panel here, especially since the second panel already combines Violet sighting Patty with Charlie Brown and her remarking upon it.

2. I don't really "get" the joke to this one. Is it that Charlie Brown automatically assumes that he is the "bad?"

3. The trees blowing in the wind in the background of the last panel are a very nice touch.

4. This is the most solid example yet of Charlie Brown's emerging defeatist personality.

Monday, January 4, 2010

April 4, 1952: Snoopy's Monolith is a Wagon


Snoopy moves ever closer to developing real thought bubbles. His dissatisfaction with his dogly lot in life in increasing, too.

Snoopy's dream seems to say that, while the kids may not know Snoopy's owner, Snoopy seems to think that Charlie Brown has a position of importance to him.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

April 3, 1952: How does Schroeder whistle chords?


This strip is really well-done from a storytelling standpoint. It sets up the premise, provides a comparison between CB's and Schroeder's abilities, shows Patty and Violet's opinion of those abilities, illustrates Schroeder's charisma and Charlie Brown's feelings of inadequacy, all in four panels.

Scribble of shame!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

April 2, 1952: Lucy Pimps Out Her Crib


This strip is something that wouldn't work as well as a later-day Peanuts strip, since a lot of the appeal is in the illustration. The characters gained emotional maturity, but their world lost some of its physical flexibility.

Aren't those records at Lucy's feet in panel three? Didn't she just destroy Charlie Brown's just yesterday? Why can't she eat her own?

Lucy seems to be longing for sleeping in a bed, but once she gets one, she won't be able to keep herself from falling out of it for a while.

Friday, January 1, 2010

April 1, 1952: The Mona Lisa's Got Nothing


I like it whenever Schulz draws that bust of Beethoven, for how it breaks the art style, but more interestingly than that....

Take a look at that smile the statuette is sporting in its panel. Rather mysterious!

The bust of Beethoven works great as a punchline because it only has to be drawn once. For someone on a comic strip's deadline, reproducing it in detail, and consistently, would be difficult across a whole strip.

That doesn't mean he doesn't do it later on though, and in a Sunday at that....