Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
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.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Read this strip at gocomics.com.
Put a crayon in Lucy's hand and the world is her kitty. Comic characters are susceptible to manias that would get real people committed. Can't you just imagine a Batman villain whose schtick was drawing lines between dots? "The Connector." It can't be any less silly than the Riddler, whose gimmick is providing clues by which he can be caught.
Every once in a while Schulz allows himself a metajoke. The strips in which people make fun of the size and shape of Charlie Brown's head are among these ("Is that a beach ball?"), as are the ones where Charlie Brown can't hide behind a tree because his head is too wide. One strip Schroeder even threatened to put in a transfer to a different comic strip. The last panel here is another such joke.
Some time later, Lucy will ask Charlie Brown if he thinks she has beautiful eyes, and, perhaps risking a pounding, Charlie Brown says they look just like little dots of india ink.
The first frame here is one of Schulz's more abstract lead panel designs.
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.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
This is one of those strip concepts Schulz returns to later. I remember there being a similar strip involving Snoopy, who befriends a snowman, and is heartbroken when it melts away. Cut to Charlie Brown and Linus, who have been watching. Linus: "Poor Snoopy, he's too sensitive." CB: "I notice he's not too sensitive to eat the carrot." I'm paraphrasing, but it happened more or less like that. Even the carrot eating is here, which makes me wonder if that later strip weren't a conscious callback on the part of Schulz.
Anyway, this strip provides a good example of Charlie Brown's developing depression. He really takes this too seriously. I mean, going so far as to beg the sun to stop shining? Wow. A futile statement of man protesting against the universe! I smell a thesis coming on....
As the first panel indicates, snowman building is an artistic statement with Charlie Brown. He's a sculptor who works in the medium of snow, and he's at least got Schroeder's admiration for it.
I wonder if this isn't some kind of statement, conscious or not, by Charles Schulz about the ephemeralness of his own medium? Peanuts will probably be around much longer than other concluded strips, mind you. There are a lot of forgotten newspaper comics out there.
"I liked Peanuts for a while. In the late '50s, early '60s, I read it. It was good; well written and funny. I didn’t mind the minimalist drawing style. He caught on because his stuff was so cute and still kind of poignant and meaningful that everybody liked it. Everybody! How could you not like it? Who could dislike it? [laughs] There’s not a thing unlikeable about it. And because of that, Shultz became the richest cartoonist – one of the richest men in America. I met him once actually, at a book fair in San Francisco. He told me he liked my work, which took me aback."
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Hover over the image on that page to see the source of the joke made overt. It's a reference to a very silly Lucy/Linus Sunday exchange, which starts off when Linus tells his sister "I'm aware of my tongue."
Another snow pun for a title! Get used to them, it's far from the last....
We had another strip like this not long ago, where Charlie Brown didn't seem to come out of it too badly, but poor Snoopy was overwhelmed. Like in that strip, the funniest thing to me is how effortlessly Charlotte Braun belts out her words. There's a good set of lungs on the girl.
Oh no. Oh, no no no no no. What character in comicdom can get something as willfully wrong as can Lucy Van Pelt? Other than Mallard Fillmore, of course. Lucy actually knows she's wrong unconsciously, I think, which is why she sets herself against Charlie Brown's disagreement before she even hears his opinion. She's so happy with her discovery.
Notice... both here and in the previous strip, Schulz draws forward-facing characters with neutral expressions without a mouth, possibly for parity with the way he draws his characters when they face the side. He experimented with this a time or two before. He abandons it eventually.
I've had conversations with people that have gone exactly like this, right down to my depressed skulking away at the end.
Another mouthless face. And Lucy called Charlie Brown's face funny-looking.
Charlie Brown has some standard ways of expressing displeasure, which are already beginning to get set in. 1. "Good grief." 2. "I can't stand it." 3. "My stomach hurts."
Schroeder is practicing his scowl for the role.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Charlie Brown started out very slightly antisocial. Now he's moved into obsessive compulsive disorder. He's shown some signs of depression, but it hasn't really set in yet. The market isn't yet large enough to support five cent psychiatrist booths, but it's coming.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
A disturbing insight into Lucy's attitude towards property.
For some reason this strip reminds me of that disco version of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
That's kind of hyperbolic. Lucy didn't even know what a metronome was before Monday!
Girls in Peanuts tend to be rather more rough-and-tumble than in other strips. Lucy, of course, eventually gets to where she won't think twice about returning a slug in the jaw for an insult. "Peppermint" Patty won't even be arriving on the scene for many years yet.
When someone tells you to close your eyes, yeah, it's usually a good idea not to if you can get away with it. Anyway, why doesn't Violet just rummage through her candy bag facing the other way?
An enthusiastic speech by Schroeder, boldly staking his claim as the neighborhood artist.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Snoopy vs. the Yard: Snowflakes
This is the first sign of strife between Lucy and Linus concerning Linus' blanket. Still, Linus' holding onto a security blanket hasn't been presented in anything other than positive terms otherwise -- this seems to be more Lucy selfishly claiming Linus' property as her own than shame or anger that he's carrying it around.
Lucy might have just a touch of OCD....
It is funny when a character defines a trait so completely that it causes extraordinary things to occur. Pig-Pen seems quite pleased by his accomplishment, and even the snowman itself seems happier than average.
Lucy's mood continues to sour. Although Linus hasn't spoken much yet, we can already see their relative ages beginning to approach each other.
It's like, the snow might all melt tomorrow, so might as well get your snowman quota for the year out of the way now.
It's becoming harder to find insightful things to say about every strip, and it was never the purpose of the blog to re-publish every strip anyway, so it is probable that soon we'll go back to only notable strips, of which there are still a good number at this point.