Monday, July 19, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 166 (7/19) -- The Complete Peanuts, 1973 to 1974 by Charles M. Schulz

A previous volume of The Complete Peanuts -- covering the cartoons from 1969-70, since I'd accidentally gotten out of order -- was Book-A-Day #135, and interested readers can drop back to there for more detailed musings on how Peanuts was changing at this point in its life. (For those with more time to kill, there's also my ComicMx reviews of the 1967-68 collection and the recent biography Schulz and Peanuts. And a review of 1965-66 here. Oh, and 1961-62, from the last run of Book-A-Day. And, also from that Book-A-Day run, a very short squib on 1959-60.)

So I've babbled a lot about Peanuts over the past couple of years, leaving me with less to say this time. These years do see Peanuts in its slow slide from an often-bleak look at the cruelties of childhood and the inevitable failure of life to be what we want it to be into something lighter and less tethered to reality, as Sparky Schulz's Minnesota childhood got further and further in the past and the pleasant fat years of adulthood in Santa Rosa became a greater and greater proportion of his life. But it's still often sad or bittersweet -- these are the years of "poor, sweet baby," of Sally's first conversations with her school building, and of perhaps Charlie Brown's greatest triumph, when he was a respected president of his summer camp after becoming "Mr. Sack."

And Peanuts still ran close to half the time on unrequited love -- Charlie Brown for the red-headed girl, Peppermint Pattie for Charlie, Lucy for Schroeder, Woodstock for his mother, Snoopy for his mother. Where most American gag strips were about the silly things that happen every day, Peanuts was about how to keep on living when you don't get what you want. It was still vital and true at this point, even if more and more of the stories focused on Snoopy quaffing root beers with Bill Mauldin, or writing bad novels, or playing tennis.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Hallelujah The Hills - Slo-Motion Records Broken At Break-Neck Speeds
via FoxyTunes

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