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A definitive collection of Charles M. Schulz's masterpieces of comic art presenting every strip from 1967 to 1968. Foreword by John Walters.
Snoopy's identity as the World War I Flying Ace has almost entirely taken over, in this volume although he finds time to moonlight as an arm-wrestling champion, a figure skater, a vulture, and a "Cheshire Beagle." Plus: Did you know Charlie Brown was not his original owner? The secret is revealed...
Franklin and Jose Peterson also take their initial bows, side by side with Charlie and Sally Brown, Linus and Lucy, Schroeder, and cover girl Violet.
This volume of 'The Complete Peanuts' series offers familiar continuities: Lucy unsuccessfully wooing Schroeder, and still running her 5-cent Psychiatry practice (with 7-cent winter pricing); Charlie Brown hopelessly infatuated with the little red-haired girl, and just as hopelessly trying to win at baseball; Linux earnestly seeking favour with the great pumpkin, still attached to his blanket, and slightly obsessed with his teacher Miss Othmar.
There is a debut appearance for two ethnic characters - Franklin, who is apparently a sand castle master builder (African-American) and Jose Peterson, a reliable ball slugger (Mexican/Swedish). There is also an obvious plug for immunisation.
Peppermint Patti appears quite often, Violet much less* and Pig-pen hardly gets a look in. (* A number of fans of this series have noted the unusual choice of Violet on the cover, as she does not appear often in this volume.)
There is quite a focus on Snoopy - in particular, an abundance of strips about his 'WWI Flying Ace' persona complete with Sopwith Camel. Snoopy's imagination is further illustrated by various 'alter egos': vulture, mountain-lion, arm wrestling Masked Marvel, Ice-Hockey player, would-be Olympic Skating competitor, Political candidate.
We learn for the first time that Snoopy had, albeit briefly, a previous owner (Lila). It is Linux whose research uncovers this shocking truth (he called up the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm) and who remarks to Charlie Brown "You got a used dog!"
There are some brilliant strips in this collection and fans of 'Peanuts' will find plenty to enjoy, especially those who are familiar with Americana and general events of the time.
For me, the WWI Flying Ace strips became a bit over-laboured (that being said, this was one of Snoopy's most famous personae). I found the overall reading experience for this volume a bit flat compared to the volumes from '59 to '60 and from '61 to '62, but still consider it a worthy addition to the shelf.
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