Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunday, July 18, 1954: The nature of nothing

Read this strip at

From the Wikipedia article on Virgil Thomson:
"[...] Thomson was famous for his revival of the rare technique of composing "musical portraits" of living subjects, often spending hours in a room with them before rushing off to finish the piece on his own. Many subjects reported feeling that the pieces did capture something unique about their identities even thought nearly all the portraits were absent of any clearly representational content."

A sly strip. Schroeder's looks of concentration, followed by his throwing his hands up, are important for understanding that he's giving up. I think it works better this way, allowing us to see him throwing in the towel, than being told directly that he's got nothing, which would seem a bit harder on Charlie Brown's feelings.

1 comment:

  1. This strip represents one of the few times Schulz goes full bore into a current-events / pop culture topic... and as a result, it's one of the few strips that hasn't held up well over time. Unless you know who Virgil Thomson is (and if the Wikipedia quote weren't provided I'd have to look it up), the strip loses a lot of its punch. It still makes sense because Schroeder explains what he's doing in panel 5, but I'm sure it was funnier back when Virgil Thomson was famous. This may or may not have been why Schulz steered clear of topical humor for the most part, but doing so served him and Peanuts well.