We have a fairly uninteresting Sunday strip to lead off, so I included the following week with it. And then just to go that little bit farther, I included the next Sunday strip in with it.
Well, they can't all be winners. Although the sight of a snowman with extremely long arms is kind of amusing. Next!
More of Linus' square balloons. This does make it a lot easier to store them. By the way, I like how the cartoon convention that blown-up balloons automatically float upward is ignored here. People don't typically exhale helium dammit.
I wonder if Charles Schulz drew this one in response to letters asking Violet's question.
This is a good example of something Schulz is good at, taking an absurd premise and elaborating upon it entertainingly. I believe it's not impossible to create a balloon that would blow up into a cube, but I don't know if you could do it with just latex.
We've seen Lucy at the piano before, and we've seen Schroeder cut her down, but this, I think, is the first time when the setting retreats into the background and it's really settled into the Schroeder/Lucy formula. This strip could just as well shown up ten years later.
Chagrimace. More willful ignorance from Lucy. I guess some skepticism is healthy, but what a thing to be skeptical of.
thousands ones of children accidentally construct cages around themselves using building sets. Won't you please give today to the cause of outlawing these horrible toys?
Particularly noteworthy: this is the first time Linus makes an utterance that isn't obviously either baby talk or an internal monologue. From here, it's only a matter of time before he starts quoting the Old Testament.
That car in the first two panels is entirely a throwaway, but it helps to underscore just how much the world has changed in the years since 1955.
That's an uncharacteristically mocking attitude from Schroeder in panel 2.
This is the first strip that focuses on Charlie Brown's problems with Valentine's Day, I think. Although the object of his affections isn't the Little Red-Haired Girl, this is definitely the kind of silly mistake he'd make with her later.
Charlotte meets Linus. This may actually be the only strip that features the two of them. Unlike Pig-Pen, who has a similar kind of gimmick attribute, Charlotte doesn't stick around for that long. This may be her last hurrah in fact.
The problem with Charlotte Braun is that she doesn't have much of a personality beyond loudness. Pig-Pen is so comfortable in his own skin that he kind of transcends his gimmick. Charlotte's gimmick lends itself to obnoxiousness though, so as Lucy becomes bossier she kind of steals Charlotte's niche.
Thinking about how Charlotte Braun disappears from the strip leads me to brainstorm completely made-up Peanuts characters who have similar one-note gimmicks. Maybe a girl who has really big hair? One who walks loudly wherever he goes?
I've noticed that this mistake, of assuming the range of one's experience matches that of the breadth of the world, is one that lots of people fall prey to, including myself from time to time.
This is far from the last time Lucy stomps something inches away from Snoopy's nose. There's a memorable bit later where she cures the common cold by having people cough on the ground, then she smashes the cold germs flat with her feet.
I think that counts as a chagrimace, but it's wider than usual, which I think is more from Schulz's developing art style than intent. It might be argued that Charlie Brown, after some earlier strips, is due to have a couple inches knocked off of him, but of course the characters eventually take it slightly too far.
I don't think this is the first time Patty and Violet have teamed up on Charlie Brown, but it's the most egregious example to date, and it only intensifies from here. But: "Charlie Brown lives in a purple house?" That's kind of reaching isn't it?
Another early Linus/Snoopy interaction. That's a rather overstated frown in the last panel there.
A simple gag about a kid not understanding an idiom. Yeah yeah, let's get to the real reason we're here:
THIS. One of the most important strips in Peanuts' entire run. The first strip in which Snoopy fantasizes about being something else. In these four panels we see the origin of the World War I Flying Ace, Joe Cool, and a hundred World Famous things. They are cute strips of course, but there are strange depths buried there.
This strip is a bit problematic mechanically though. Schulz uses a thought balloon for Snoopy's thoughts in the first panel, but in the second the balloon does double-duty as a thought and speech balloon, which makes it seem like Snoopy is speaking in English.
Charlie Brown's wide, amused smile is, in its way, as funny as Snoopy's snarl.
Lucy is willfully wrong about something else. Some notes here:
1. The subplot about Charlie Brown's paddleball is a nice touch.
2. The letters asked about and responded with are written with serifs and with little single-quotes around them.
3. Charlie Brown's annoyance that Lucy refuses to believe 'F' follows 'E' in the alphabet is interesting. He seems to care that Lucy get her facts straight, and takes it personally when she refuses to see reality. That's admirable in a way, but will probably cause him problems later in life, for there is no shortage of Lucys in the world.
When I was a kid, I would read these strips where Lucy is referred to calmly as a fussbudget, and the sarcasm flew roughly two miles over my head. It didn't help that Lucy would then respond without a trace of irony. The humor of Peanuts could be really dry sometimes.
Violet's smile throughout this strip is vaguely infuriating.