Review by Woodrow Phoenix
In volume eight of The Complete Peanuts, Snoopy attains his position as the star personality, with the introduction of two major character parts for him in these two years: he becomes the World War I Flying Ace, conducting the first of many ‘dogfights’ in his Sopwith Camel against the accursed Red Baron, and he begins typing a novel (“It was a dark and stormy night…”). He steals the eye-patch which Sally has been given to wear over her lazy eye, and plays at being a pirate until ‘scuttled’ by Captain Sally. He decides to challenge Lucy’s dominion as the arm-wrestling champion on her block by becoming the mighty-pawed Masked Marvel. There’s also romance when Snoopy falls in love with a dog on the beach and tries to impress her with his skill on a surfboard, and tragedy when disaster befalls his beloved doghouse.
Two new characters debut in this volume, the shy, lonely Roy who becomes Charlie Brown’s friend at camp, and ‘Peppermint’ Patty, a very different kind of girl from the other Peanuts regulars even if she does have the same name as one of them (You’d think someone would have mentioned it to Schulz). She’s perpetually confused about almost everything except baseball and volunteers to help Charlie Brown’s team win a few games. Even though she scores five home runs and pitches a no-hit game she can’t dig them out of their hole and walks away in disgust. Charlie Brown has to deal with additional humiliation from dandelions on his pitcher’s mound and the loss of his buddy Linus when the Van Pelt family move house. Schroeder is amazed to find himself missing Lucy: “Don’t tell me I’ve grown accustomed to THAT face!” And Charlie Brown finally discovers something he’s good at – spelling.
Charles M. Schulz’s golden decade of newspaper strip supremacy continues in this volume of brilliantly-drawn, surprising, funny and quirky stories. The introduction is by filmmaker Hal Hartley.