I had a big book buying spree near the end of last year. I think the UPS guy was delivering new cartoon books pretty constantly for a while there.
Of course it takes time to get to all of them, and one I’d neglected far too long was The Complete Peanuts (1950-1952).
What a great book! OK, the jokes are kind of dated, and it’s a far cry from what most would recognize as Peanuts, but the germs of the strip are there and it’s a fascinating and soothing read.
Some high points:
- Page 81: In what I can tell is the first Charlie Brown baseball reference, our favorite blockhead is the catcher instead of the pitcher/manager.
- Page 117: The first football kicking incident is actually perpetrated by Violet. (Lucy picks it up on page 268.)
- Page 140: Schulz’ iconic signature is rendered in a pseudo-German script following a music gag.
- Page 248: Schroeder breaks the fourth wall, complaining that he should “put in for a transfer to a new comic strip.”
I must say, sometimes I buy books like this because I think I should. You know, I am a cartoonist after all. Shouldn’t I have all the Complete Peanuts on my shelf? But once I dug into it, I was surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Most modern cartoonists will credit Schulz as an influence as a matter of course, but it was fun to remind myself exactly what Schulz accomplished and what it meant to me.
I can’t wait to dig into the next volume!