Tuesday, January 26, 2010

notes on The Complete Peanuts, 1973-1974

This book represents two peak years for Schulz creatively. There are many memorable storylines - Snoopy tries to break Hank Aaron's home run record, Sally befriends her school building and Peppermint Patty's has a revelation that Snoopy is not just a "funny looking kid with a big nose." I had to whittle down the oddities/strips of interest that I wanted to share, there's just so much great stuff...[click the strips to make them larger]

This stands out to me because by this point in the strip's life, Schroeder was normally only seen in his catcher's uniform or behind the piano. A week later we'd see the original Patty in a rare appearance (but no Shermy sightings). - 1/31/73

The first time we see Rerun, younger brother of Lucy and Linus. We only heard about him in 1972 when he was born and named, but as a baby he was "off camera." Probably for the best. I'm having trouble picturing what a Schulz infant would look like. In the next day's strip we learn Rerun is one year old. I think he was in pre-school or kindergarten by 2000, though the bigger he got the more easily he was confused with Linus. - 3/26/73

Charlie Brown is on the hotseat with the Little League president when it's discovered someone's been wagering on his team. Linus sage warning in the last panel illustrates the distrust of the adult world in the 'Peanuts' world, where the kids seem to govern themselves. - 4/17/73; Adults screw things up for the kids again in a later winter sequence in which the building of snowmen becomes regulated... - 11/30/73

Peppermint Patty stays with the Brown's for a few days. She sleeps in Snoopy's doghouse (which she thinks is a "guest cottage"). With this strip, 'Peanuts' once again proves its timelessness. - 10/4/73

In one of the strip's most celebrated storylines, Charlie Brown becomes so obsessed with baseball that he develops a strange rash on his head. The doctor recommends a rest at summer camp. Charlie Brown wears the sack on his head 24/7 and ironically becomes the most popular kid in camp. - 6/18/73

Charles Schulz with a rare direct spoof of himself in this strip. He was that year's grand marshal. - 1/1/74

The first (and maybe only) storyline where Lucy and Peppermint Patty team up. In this case, they make a pact to get their ears pierced. I'm not sure why Peppermint Patty refers to Lucy as "Lucille" in this story, when she uses the informal "Chuck" with Charlie Brown. I think "Lucille" would be more Marcie's style. - 5/31/74

Going to camp appears to be a dreaded, compulsory event in the 'Peanuts' world. Was this Schulz's comment on the Vietnam draft? If so, it comes a year or so after the draft had ended. - 6/28/74

Charlie Brown gets in a rare dig on Lucy. - 11/1/74

Even Snoopy learns the folly of underestimating Charlie Brown... - 2/25/73

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