Friday, June 18, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 135 (6/18) -- The Complete Peanuts, 1969 to 1970 by Charles Schulz

This is the tenth volume of Fantagraphics' reprinting of the entire run of Peanuts -- just short of fifty years of one of the very best American comics, in classy uniform editions -- which means that it's both just about halfway through the run and that there's not a whole lot to say about the series at this point. (Personally, I missed this volume when it was published -- comics shops don't seem to be supporting it the way they did when it was new -- and so I'm coming to it almost a year after I read the 1971-72 volume.)

These two years see several extended sequences involving Snoopy, though he's not quite as detached from reality and the angst of the series as he'd become later -- Snoopy is upset about what the Great Beagle will think of his failure to chase rabbits, and then has more troubles when he succeeds to the position of Great Beagle himself. There's also a trip back to his home, the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, that doesn't go as well as expected, and brings in one of Schulz's few direct references to the world outside the strip, when a riot over combat dogs in Vietnam interrupts Snoopy's speech. (More typical is the kind of oblique reference epitomized by Lucy's momentary feminism or the fact that Snoopy's bird friend suddenly develops the name Woodstock.)

Snoopy is beginning to take over the strip at this point, but he has nearly as many emotional upheavals as Charlie Brown -- the round-headed kid may have been devastated when the little red-headed girl moves away, but his dog went off on an epic journey to find his mother, only to find that he can't tell other beagles apart. At the end of its second decade, Peanuts was still one of the best things on the comics page, and as likely to be concerned with loss, pain, and depression as it ever was. As others have said many times before, it really is astonishing how one of the best and most popular works in a very popular medium was almost entirely about loss and failure.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Wake Up Lucid - A Minor
via FoxyTunes

1 comment:

Major Major said...

I wonder if Charles Schultz ever met Bolko von Richthofen?

Joseph T Major

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