Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, December 14, 1952: Sandwich histrionics


Lucy remarks about Charlie Brown's annoyance with her asking him to do something. This is another case of a character's personality becoming defined from another character's verbal recognition of it.

That happens because comics use exaggerated behavior as a way to communicating effectively to the reader. To show anger, you show a character actually kicking the thing he's angry at, even though a real person would not usually do such a thing. It illustrates anger effectively however, and I think readers subconsciously recognize this and adjust their expectations. But it also means that, to actually establish a character's personality, you have to describe it explicitly somewhere, and in a strip that doesn't (generally) use narration like Peanuts you have to do that by putting that description in the mouth of another character.

Schulz would become quite masterful about adjusting reader expectations. His characters are able to act out theatrically when necessary, but can also play it very far down at times.

I also like the serif lettering on "RATS!" in panel 7.


  1. The strip would be great without the first tier. But that panel with Lucy's incredibly clunky and fey exposition just makes me mad. It's hard to believe that the same guy who'd already done such fine work at this point was also still capable of writing such bad lines.

  2. Yeah, the "bread an' budder san'wich" thing rankles. But Schulz is, ultimately, still a newcomer to the field. He has lots of time to improve.

  3. Actually, I meant the previous panel! "I wonder if I dare ask..." is just so wrong on every level.

    I remember at least one other strip where Lucy asks for a "bread an' budder san'wich" but it wasn't so cloying.

    (word verification: tediot. I assume that's someone acting like a fool at TED?)

  4. This strip seems to imply that Charlie Brown is somehow responsible for Lucy's care in this setting, almost as if he's a babysitter. This relationship between CB and the toddler Lucy has popped up elsewhere; how long does it continue?

  5. Perhaps this explains why Lucy is so eager to lord over her superiority to ol' CB later on, when she gets big enough to assert herself?