Sunday, January 29, 2012

March 27-April 2, 1955: The Martian Chronicles

March 27

 A fairly intriguing sequence this week, continuing the prior spaceman strips.  Schulz gets some good mileage out of halftone shading, a system which I don't think I recall him using much outside of these strips.  Maybe he got given a free sample of halftone transfer sheets or something and figured, in a thrifty midwestern sort of way, that he should at least get some use out of them.

March 28

More halftone language gags.  What sound is Charlie Brown actually producing in these strips?  I like to think it's like radio static, but that's difficult to shout like in the third panel here. 

March 29

 Whatever sounds C.B. is actually making, Lucy seems to be learning to understand it.

March 30

And to translate it!  But this all is simply a throwaway joke for CMS, something to use one week then never refer to ever again.

April 1

 This strip proves that the halftone speech effect is not a representation of distortion provided by the helmet but some sound Charlie Brown was actually making.  Lucy takes the opportunity to rag on C.B.'s round head again.

April 2

 Hey kids, don't try this with a cat!  I love how Schulz leaves the actual rubbing undepicted -- you can tell what happened just from context, Snoopy's fur, and the look on Snoopy's face.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday, March 27, 1955: Bumpety-bump

Read this strip at 

The best thing about this strip is the lead panels, the two that some newspapers would strip out.  That hilariously cold way Charlie Brown greets Lucy, who immediately shows why he's responding that way.  It's difficult to mistake "fussbudget" for a compliment this time.

Linus' display of skill is typical for him -- almost everything he tries he turns out to be great at.  Imagine Charles Schulz sitting hunched over his desk, thinking of all the ways be can write out the word "bumpety" and "bump."

Imagine him doing that, and imagine him thinking to himself afterwards, "How did I manage to land this wonderful job?"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

March 21-26, 1955: What did you expect?

This is an early version of a later strip in which Lucy complains that she didn't get what she wanted for Christmas, which was "REAL ESTATE."

March 22 
A callback to Charlie Brown's pretending to be a martian earlier.  It's interesting how television aerials were considered to be futuristic back then.  It's very much Jetson-chic.

March 23
This one's mostly an excuse to draw more funny pictures of Snoopy.  And I am not complaining at all.

March 24
Another serif'd word, the "Hey" in Lucy's speech in the first pane.  I wonder what it was that inspired Schulz to use serifs for emphasis.

March 25
This strip is the beginning of the long war between Snoopy and Linus -- to the victor goes the blanket.  Snoopy may hate cats, but he's definitely picked up this maneuver off of one of them.

March 26
But... then what prompted this exchange?  Does Charlie Brown really have that short an attention span?  TV is still young yet, so we can't blame that.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday, March 20, 1955: STOMP STOMP STOMP

1. As Lucy gets angrier, she shifts from speaking in normal letters, to serif'd letters, to thick letters.  That's some temper she's developing there.

2. Schroeder has picked up some additional disdain for Lucy since the occasions around his piano.

3. I think this one is slightly stronger without the two lead-in panels.

4. Scribble of ire!