Friday, November 18, 2011

February 6-13, 1955: Square Balloons and Valentine's Day

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.

Sunday, February 6

Well, they can't all be winners. Although the sight of a snowman with extremely long arms is kind of amusing. Next!

February 7

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.

February 8

I wonder if Charles Schulz drew this one in response to letters asking Violet's question.

February 9

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.

February 10

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.

February 11

Chagrimace. More willful ignorance from Lucy. I guess some skepticism is healthy, but what a thing to be skeptical of.

February 12

Every year, 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.

Sunday, February 13

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.


  1. The square balloon gags seem a bit Ernie Bushmiller-like, don't you think? Though I can't offhand think of an example where a surreal visual in Nancy was explored over a series of installments the way Schulz did here.

  2. I think you're right about their Nancy-ness. I don't think Bushmiller ever did sequences in Nancy though, did he?

  3. Don't forget Carl Barks' "Lost in the Andes" (1949), where the square people of Plain Awful challenge Huey, Dewey, and Louie Duck to blow square bubbles with bubble gum.

    The boys don't exactly succeed, but they don't exactly fail either...