Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer

From the Bookshelf: Peanuts Every Sunday 1966-1970

"The Complete Peanuts" may be more than complete, but the spinoff project to release the Sunday pages in colour is still under way. It did take me a while to get the latest volume of "Peanuts Every Sunday." I had ordered the previous large and pricy volumes from, but this time the wait for the listing to offer physical copies had stretched on until at last I ordered it through my local bookstore, which with my discount card was cheaper than going through an online reseller. In any case, I had a definite interest in this volume. The second half of the 1960s, as I understand it, were "the phenomenon years" for Peanuts, where all the developments of the fifteen years before added up to more attention than most comic strips get as the television specials added up along with the magazine covers, followed by appearances on stage and screen and going to the moon, with the World War I Flying Ace more or less leading the way.

"I scan the air carefully searching for the Red Baron.. I must bring him down!"

The first two World War I Flying Ace Sunday pages helped close out the previous volume, but it was his third appearance (just two pages into this book) where some completing element of magical realism seemed to snap into place for me. (Some of the pages soon afterwards did seem to get back to "Snoopy's imagination comes up against the kids.") Some memorable adventures followed, but I do remember a comment in one biography of Charles M. Schulz that the Vietnam War eventually seemed to take the fun out of things. There's one Sunday page halfway through 1969 that just might be interpreted as "closing things down"; Snoopy does show up in his flying helmet and scarf in one page that follows, but not perhaps quite as the Flying Ace.

I suppose that beyond that, seeing the Sunday pages in colour (even if I'm still wondering how often their colours can be taken from the information that went to the printers back then) lent a bit of interest to two characters developing in the second half of the decade. The somewhat fledgling-like birds Linus pats on the head early on turn into one bird hanging around Snoopy, a bird that shrinks a bit further, has its design refined, and at last gets the name "Woodstock" in 1970, but every one of them is now yellow. As for Peppermint Patty, who first appears as one character among many signing a document for Lucy that "absolves me from all blame," her hair seems to vary a bit at first before getting me thinking of later lamentations it's "mousy-blah." Aware the "Peanuts Begins" reruns seem to draw their Sunday colours straight from the first volume and that the "regular" reruns from the end of the 1960s had wound up abandoning "gradient fills," I had wondered at what moment those "regular" reruns had begun matching what's in this volume. On seeing Lucy continuing to wear yellow or red dresses, I realised that hasn't happened yet. Some orange clothes also caught my eye, if only because an orange shirt for Charlie Brown can seem just as close to the shirt the colour coding inherited from the TV specials as the lemon yellow he sometimes wears in place of red.

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Tags: comics, peanuts

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