Friday, July 15, 2016

Booknote: The Complete Peanuts, 1969-1970

Charles Schultz, The Complete Peanuts, 1969-1970. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-56097-827-5.

Genre: comic strips
Subgenre: humor, children
Format: Hardback
Source: My local public library. 

I continue to make my way through this series. This time I got through the 1969-1970 volume. We are coming out of the 1960s, and many of the strips reflect issues and ideas from that time as Lucy declares herself a "new feminist" and Peppermint Patty defies her school's dress code.

However, the reality with Lucy is that she remains a bully and even an emotional abuser. There is whole week or so worth of strips in this volume with a plot where she destroys Schroeder's piano for no other reason than he does not pay attention to her. Because, when you look at it, in addition to harassing Charlie Brown and her brother Linus, she is really stalking Schroeder. Schroeder has clearly and often expressed he has no interest in her. This is not exactly very feminist on her part, though I am sure some feminists out there would see her being "bossy" as a plus. It is bullying and stalking pure and simple. If the situation were reversed, and Schroeder did half of what she does to him to her, I am sure every feminist in the U.S. would be yelling for his head because he is an abusive male. In her case, we'll, it's humor. Uh huh.

Overall, the more I read this series, the more I see Schultz as a way overrated cartoonist. I honestly wonder how this cartoon manages to keep its appeal, especially now when a lot of people, including a lot of feminists, are so sensitive to things like bullying and stalking. Another example, in a January 1970 strip, Linus is making small snowmen. Lucy, without a word said, comes by and kicks them, destroying them. As a reader, I found that kind of disturbing to be honest. The guy is just there minding his own business, and she comes out of nowhere to ruin his brief fun. I do not see the humor in this.

The only thing redeeming in this series is Snoopy's imagination. By the way, in this volume we find out that the cute little bird's name is Woodstock. In the end, I liked the volume but barely. I am keeping my expectations low as I continue to read the series.

3 out of 5 stars.

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