Friday, July 15, 2011

Week of June 21-26, 1954: Self-love and baseball pictures

June 21

I like how the word "tickle" is drawn larger and darker to express how the force of Lucy's tickling is increasing. This is the first strip in a sequence actually; two more are coming next week.

June 22

The clever bit of this strip, I think, is how Snoopy is just sitting there up until the last panel, where it's suddenly revealed he's the umpire. A good strip I think.

June 23

1. It should be obvious that the intent of this strip is to express "Charlie Brown is a narcissist." This strip was drawn 47 years ago. So the implications of "Charlie Brown loves Charlie Brown," that is to say self-love, are rather different now, in the age of South Park, than back then.

2. Wait, Linus loves Violet? He's like one year old! We've barely seen him in a speaking role yet.

June 24

When you trade pictures with Schroeder, what do you expect you'd get?

There is something rather melancholy about this strip for me. Already we're seeing the age of baseball card collecting receding into the past. Here they're trading full-sized pictures of ballplayers, which I expect was never really popular but might have been a fad once. The day will come, and not too far from now, when this throwaway strip meant to be understood by kids and adults of 1954 will be one of the sole surviving records of baseball player picture trading. In fact, given both Peanuts' survivability and huge place in our culture, it may some day be the last record of a fad that may once have enthralled whole schoolyards.

Peanuts was not written to be a cultural artifact but to be comprehended to readers of the time. Comic strips are particularly ephemeral because of their nature, because it's too much to ask of a cartoonist tasked with producing new material daily to give thought to his work's long-term relevance. Yet so they remain, and will only increase being so in the future, vestiges of an age long dead.

But, you know, ha ha! He gave him a picture of Beethoven!

June 25

It may seem weird that Snoopy could hold so much water until you realize that he must be mostly sponge.

June 26

That's a damn frilly sandbox for Charlie Brown. And it's also a rare show of affluence for the kid. It's usually Violet who would have the frilly, expensive sandbox, and Charlie Brown who would be the observer, and it'd also be Violet who would be showing it off.

The attitude of Charlie Brown here is interesting. Who must have built this sandbox? I don't think his parents, and anyway I can't picture Charlie Brown speaking so badly of his folks. I think he must be talking about the workmen who installed it. But what could that mean, that he commissioned the thing?

1 comment:

  1. Given that we never see it again (as far as I can recall), perhaps it's just something CB and Violet happened to notice at a house they pass on the way to school or something.