I think this is a very important strip. It establishes that Charlie Brown doesn't just play baseball but is kind of obsessed with it. Of course it could well have been a transitory aspect of the character at this point, valid just for one strip, but already Charlie Brown is really the only character of Peanuts' cast who works here. Linus is too young, Schroeder isn't so serious about anything that isn't music, and Shermy is kind of a non-entity. Snoopy is still too dog-like, and anyway can't talk. While Peanuts' girls aren't very girly overall, it would take a tomboy type to be this obsesses over sports, and "Peppermint" Patty is still many years away.
At the end of it we kind of feel sorry for Charlie Brown, standing alone in the driving rain, even as we recognize his predicament is his own making and continuing. Part of that comes from Schulz's art, which is top-notch here. One of the most effective techniques in his cartoonist's bag of tricks is the way he depicts rain, which requires great attention to line thickness and patience in just rendering all those lines.
It's very easy to mess up, but the effect is wonderful. The way the lines blend in with each other in the last panel, how they get darker above the horizon to provide the illusion of a blurred backdrop, the care he takes to make sure that the important parts of the panels aren't too broken up by the crosshatching, it all demonstrates the immense care Charles Schulz took in rendering the strip.
Notice where a character has a dark portion of his clothes or hair, that he changes how he shades it in. He's also careful to make sure the rain doesn't make it difficult to read a character's identity of expression. Character faces are mostly unobscured. This strip must have taken Schulz some serious time to put together, and all for one day's output. Whether you think Peanuts has yet attained the status of art, it's certainly got the chops when it comes to craft.
Here's a question for you: who is the kid in the next-to-last panel? Shermy is the character is most fits, but he ran away in the previous panel. He is carrying a baseball glove in panel six and is holding it overhead in panel seven, so I guess there is some continuity there. But looking closely at panel six, it's not entirely convincing the way he holds his glove there. It looks huge there in any case.
The text of ROASTED PEANUTS is copyright 2009-2011 by John Harris. No copyright is claimed over the comic strips, which are here under the principle of fair use. Strips presented for review purposes only. We love Peanuts a whole lot, and wouldn't dream of exploiting it. Please don't sue us; we're only trying to love. Thank you for reading this notice.