Sunday, April 27, 2014
GOOD OL' CHARLIE BROWN is an older collection of "Peanuts" strips containing strips that were published between 1955-57. I've read some of the COMPLETE PEANUTS books from Fantagraphics, but none from this time period. Charlie Brown is still considered wishy-washy and can't win any baseball games, but he often plays center field instead of pitching and some of the girls (particularly Violet) sometimes have a crush on him. There are several "Peanuts" characters who feature prominently in these strips who Schulz later retired. These include Violet, Frieda, Shermy, Patty (not Peppermint Patty) and Pig-Pen. Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus are all younger than what became their "permanent" ages: Charlie Brown is slightly older than Lucy and Linus is about a year younger than his sister. All of the characters have a slightly different look, for instance Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus' faces are as distinct as they become later and Snoopy has a much longer nose and thinner body. Although the "Peanuts" kids are still just kids who sometimes grapple with adult issues, they are still kids. Modern readers should keep that in mind, especially when reading some of the storylines that would be somewhat controversial today if they were published, such as the storyline where Linus goes around shooting everyone with his finger. A few other storylines include Lucy "teaching" Linus about the natural world; Snoopy pretending to be various animals; Snoopy doing imitations of some of the kids as well as famous icons; and attempts by Pig-Pen and others to get him clean. Overall, I really enjoyed reading GOOD OL' CHARLIE BROWN. It was nice seeing how "Peanuts" was not too long after it started; reading the book is like taking a trip back through time: the world was still pretty much the same, but there are differences.