krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Another volume of The Complete Peanuts has shown up, but I do have to admit that as I began reading it (and noticing that its spine had Sally on it, walking in a direction opposite from the characters on previous spines, so as to have everyone headed away from Charlie Brown just as I'd wondered the last time around) I had a melancholy feeling or two to deal with. As the volumes entered the 1970s, I consoled myself with thoughts that while I could imagine others muttering about a "Golden Age" of Peanuts ending, I could still say the comic was entering a "Silver Age"... but with the seventies wearing towards a close, I could imagine people muttering about that age ending too. As I worked my way through this latest volume, though, even with the comics continuing to look a little different from a few years before (their proportions have changed too, and the little space left in every first panel for the title gets taken out in this volume) I started feeling more comfortable...

Part of that may have had to do with having seen some of the comics in it before, in one of the first Peanuts books I was given (as opposed to having been there from the start). I could remember the introduction of Molly Volley, Snoopy's tennis partner ("I've heard of mixed doubles, but this is ridiculous!") and Eudora, who gives Sally someone to play against, and they're as part of the comic to me as anyone. I also noticed how the developing "Beagle Scouts" got named, but managed to realise for the very first time that Olivier seemed to be used more than Bill or Conrad to set up punchlines at first, and then also realised for the very first time that his name is "Olivier," not just "Oliver." After those familiar comics, things pushed on into whole storylines I couldn't remember having seen before. One small moment also caught in my mind, one where Charlie Brown sees Lucy with a soccer ball and, showing a grandness of spirit for a baseball player, praises "the running... the fancy footwork" and says "Putting together a perfect play can be very gratifying"; Lucy responds "I just like to kick things".

With those positive feelings in mind, I found myself responding to the allegations that Charles M. Schulz had "watered things down to protect the merchandising profits" with the thought that the comic was already being merchandised back in the 1960s; the Peanuts characters were selling Ford Falcons in ads at the start of that decade. I suppose, of course, that as the comic continues to change with time, I'll have to take each volume as it comes.

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