marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Complete Peanuts

The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz  Volumes 1 and 2

The opening of the strip with all the comics.

Volume 1 is a distinctly intriguing collection.  The art is not that far off, though Snoopy is obvious dog-like.  On the other hand --

The cast consists of Shermie (remember him?), Patty (remember her?), this kid called Charlie Brown, and Snoopy.  Snoopy handles the purely canine gags, and his most distinctive trait is his begging and infallible art for telling when some kid is eating candy.  (Though we do get some of this thoughts.  Late in the book, and only a little.)  The three kids do the rest, being a collection of typical kids, sometimes downcast, sometimes exuberant, sometimes brash, childishly narcissistic -- all three of them.  Yes, including Charlie Brown.  Two running gags are when someone says something to him and he diverts the topic to himself and doesn't let them get another word in before they leave, leaving him bewildered, and when he does something smart-alecy and is running in the last panel, saying it was worth it.  Another running gag is one kid telling another to go away forever and forgetting the anger before the other kid is quite gone.  Their ages do not seem cast in concrete, though they are rather younger than you may remember.

Violet (remember her?) is introduced.  Then Schroeder -- in the character of the neighborhood baby, unable to talk or walk yet, though he picks up the music gag and is aged up.  Lucy sort of wanders in; there's no point at which someone refers to her as someone new.  She starts with more of a personality than the others did, and is clearly distinctly younger.   Nursery school age.  After a bit, she refers to her brother, and then after another bit, Linus actually appears.  Just old enough to sit up.

Volume 2 has the characters and cast taking shape.  The only new character is Pig-Pen.  Who is even a corrupting influence.

I think Charlie Brown has fewer smart-alec moments but I didn't count.  He still has his moments; when Lucy tries demanding a drink and then complaining that he put his fingers on the ice cubes, he throws the drink over her.  When he wants to quit school, he gets talked back into going -- he needs to count to nine, to ensure he has enough players for his baseball team.  On the other hand, he loses a lot of checkers games, and Lucy overbears him with her silliness on occasion, such as when she insists that it's a new sun every day.

It also introduces such immortal themes as the baseball game.  Charlie Brown tries to fly a kite though the kite-eating tree does not appear.
Tags: fiction reviews: comic strips, fiction reviews: humor

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