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JOHN WATERS TALKS CHARLIE BROWN AS THE '60S WIND DOWN.
As we rush toward the end of Peanuts' second full decade, Snoopy finds himself almost completely engrossed in his persona as the World War I Flying Ace — to the point where he goes to camp with Charlie Brown and maintains his persona throughout the entire two-week period (much to Peppermint Patty's bafflement).
Still, Snoopy looms large, so this volume (a particularly Snoopy-heavy one) sees him arm-wrestling Lucy as the "Masked Marvel" and then taking off for Petaluma for the national arm-wrestling championship; impersonating a vulture and a "Cheshire Beagle"; enjoying golf and hockey; attempting a jaunt to France for an ice-skating championship; running for office on the "Paw" ticket; being traded to Peppermint Patty's baseball team, then un-traded and installed as team manager by a guilt-ridden Charlie Brown; as well as dealing with the return of his original owner, Lila. If you're surprised by that last one, imagine how Charlie Brown feels...
Lila makes only a brief appearance (as does José Peterson, a short-lived — and short — star member of Charlie Brown's baseball team), but this volume sees the appearance of what would be Schulz's most controversial major character: Franklin. (Yes, in 1968 the introduction of a Black character caused a stir.)
Peppermint Patty, working toward her ascendancy as one of the major Peanuts players in the 1970s and 1980s, also has several major turns, including a storyline in which she’s the tent monitor for three little girls (who call her "Sir" — a joke Schulz would pick up later with Peppermint Patty's friend Marcie).
Stories involving other characters include a sequence in which Linus's flippant comment to his Gramma that he'll kick his blanket habit when she kicks her smoking habit backfires; Lucy bullies Linus, pesters Schroeder, and organizes a "crab-in"; plus Charlie Brown copes with Valentine's Day depression, the Little Red-Haired Girl, the increasingly malevolent kite-eating tree, and baseball losses. In other words: Vintage Peanuts!
The new issue of the Believer features not only another typically great cover by regular cover artist Charles Burns, but also features Burns himself as the cover feature! Very sweet. The issue includes a lengthy interview with Burns, but you can read an excerpt via the first link.
Eric Reynolds recorded a couple of brief video clips of Gary Groth's interview of Schulz and Peanuts author David Michaelis at the Elliott Bay Book Company here in Seattle on Wednesday evening and passed them to me to put on YouTube:
We also have several still photos from a few different sources — click for a gallery on Flickr.
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