Tuesday, March 22, 2011

notes on 'The Complete Peanuts: 1975-76

1975 and 1976 were two exemplary years of the strip, highlighted by the introduction of some new characters. There was Truffles, a new girl who formed was stuck in two love triangles, one between Sally and Linus and the other between Snoopy and Linus (love quadrangle, maybe?). There was also a new school building for Sally to converse with. Two of Snoopy's siblings were revealed - his sister, Belle, and a brother named Spike. The latter quickly became a favorite of Schulz, carrying many of his own solo strips and storylines over the next quarter century. It's striking to me that the cover character is Frieda, who appears only a couple of times in the strips collected here. [the strips may be cut off, so just click on them to see the whole thing]

5/4/75 - The perhaps innovative touch of David Michaelis' Schulz biography was tying incidents from Schulz's life together with things happening in the strip. While I think Michaelis practiced some pop psychology and took it a bridge too far, the approach has it's validity. I can't help but believe that this rambling story of Charlie Brown's is taken from Schulz's own childhood.

7/22/75 - Lucy again trying to relate to Schroeder through his love of Beethoven.

8/14/75 - In an uncharacteristic bout of altruism, Lucy decides to take Spike home and fatten him up. I've always liked the simile "thin as a promise", and I'm sure when I was little I had no idea what "scarf city" meant.

8/20/75 - This reference is one I did understand as a kid. It struck me funny then and bizarre now that Schulz would have Spike watching a "Hogan's Heroes" rerun.

9/25/75 - A simple strip, but it showcases Schulz ability to put an odd spin on an everyday thing.

10/30/75 - It's Peppermint Patty's turn to join Linus in the pumpkin patch. He lays down the law.

3/25/76 - In one of Peanuts' longest storylines (six weeks!), Snoopy has tripped over his supper dish and is confined to a cast. Snoopy's cover story is that he broke his foot while rescuing three airline stewardesses on runaway horses.

5/10/76 - Charlie Brown's stubborness keeps him on the pitcher's mound in the middle of a rainstorm. Things take a surreal turn when the mound starts to float away.

8/9/76 - A pastor named Robert L. Short made a career out of exploring the Christian themes in Peanuts. Perhaps this is a reaction to that?

8/23/76 - I often think of this strip when I can't finish all the food on my plate.

10/9/76 - One for my attorney friends.

12/22/76 - This strip says everything to me about the purity of their unlikely friendship.

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