After a long hiatus, I've resolved to start reading these again. Whenever I feel like I need a boost I'll go ahead and buy another volume. I mean, I'm never going to retire anyway so what's the point of having a savings account?
Edit: Also, sorry folks you have to click through to the blog to see the whole comic strip.
These were good years for the strip, with Schulz continuing to refine his technique, there are long sequences here - notably Linus' pledge to go without his blanket for two weeks and Charlie Brown's epic baseball gaff - and there are jokes with almost identical panels repeated many times. This repetition wasn't detrimental, it seemed more like Schulz working out a joke in his mind until it reached maximum absurdity. Violet's hi-fi parasol inevitably becomes Lucy's hi-fi jump rope.
Much of the humor appears timeless, but the Peanuts gang were children of the 1950s, young baby boomers as observed by the previous generation. There are many gags that deal with outmoded technology, branding, or early television, but those dealing with child psychology were some of my favorites. This was the beginning of parenting being serious business:
Snoopy's impressions took off in the last volume, but he adds many more to his repertoire in these years and in general is just delightful.
There were no additions to the cast, the last two comics have everyone in them (the very last even with names) but Schulz has a lot on his hands figuring out the group dynamics, good and bad. Schroeder and Charlie Brown compete for who's better at despairing over contemporary pop culture:
It was truly difficult picking a Sunday for this review, but this one touches on a lot of things I love about the series. Poor Charlie Brown, he suffers all the pangs of childhood and rarely catches a break:
Maybe it gets better for him next year, but I doubt it!
Next: 'Volume Five: 1959-1960'
Previous: 'Volume Three: 1955-1956'