Any chance for Bill Watterson to put himself in the public eye is okay with me, even if its just a discussion of his long-time idol, and in this case he’s reviewing a book I’ve certainly put on my must-read list. It’s easy to gloss over Peanuts importance (especially if, like me, you grew up with the much staler and staid later years of the strip), but looking back to it’s beginnings you’re treated to a much richer (and darker) strip, and one that rightfully deserves its place among the best.
From the review:
Lucy, for all her domineering and insensitivity, is ultimately a tragic, vulnerable figure in her pursuit of Schroeder. Schroeder’s commitment to Beethoven makes her love irrelevant to his life. Schroeder is oblivious not only to her attentions but also to the fact that his musical genius is performed on a child’s toy (not unlike a serious artist drawing a comic strip). Schroeder’s fanaticism is ludicrous, and Lucy’s love is wasted. Schulz illustrates the conflict in his life, not in a self-justifying or vengeful manner but with a larger human understanding that implicates himself in the sad comedy. I think that’s a wonderfully sane way to process a hurtful world. Of course, his readers connected to precisely this emotional depth in the strip, without ever knowing the intimate sources of certain themes. Whatever his failings as a person, Schulz’s cartoons had real heart.