Images © Peanuts Worldwide LLC.
By the time of this collection, Charles Schulz had been doing the Peanuts strip for 40 years. Hard to imagine how he kept going, and unlike many of his contemporaries, he did the entire strip himself: writing, drawing, lettering and inking. Yes, the strips are simple, but grinding them out incessantly for that long would seem to be impossible without losing the charm and humor you began with. Somehow, Schulz defied the odds. The lines in these strips are a little shakier, a slightly lower percentage made me smile or chuckle, but on the whole, they’re still terrific, full of the dry wit and slapstick humor, the characters we all recognize in ourselves, the whimsy of a dog who can be anything, and much more. Yes, there are some subjects that don’t work for me, like Snoopy’s brother Spike trying to deny his loneliness in the desert with fake friends, but plenty more are familiar and still funny.
I don’t think any new characters show up in this volume, and some are only in it very briefly, like Rerun and Pigpen, as well as the annoying girl sitting behind Linus in school. The tit-for-tat humor of these Snoopy and Linus strips had me laughing out loud. As Schulz headed into his fifth decade, he was still warmly entertaining, and this volume is well worth your time.