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Here’s the advantage of being friends with Christian: there’s a lot that he never got exposed to, and there’s a lot that he’s curious about. And he knows that if there’s anything I like more than the stuff I like, it’s sharing my opinions on the stuff I like. As we’ve seen here in the Sub-Basement, even a simple question can lead to an extended dissertation. Possibly the happiest day of my life was when he asked me in an email “where to start” with The Beatles. You could say Christian validates me. Or you could say he enables me. Potato, potahto.

Among the subjects on which I have strong opinions, I was a bit surprised to realize that the works of Charles Schulz fell into that category. From a young age I could have told you that I would happily expound on, say, Superman or Star Wars. But it wasn’t til I was cast in my high school production of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown that I realized that, without having planned it, I was a Charlie Brown geek.

It makes sense, in the context of things I’m into; highly idiosyncratic? Yup. Years of dense continuity? You’d be surprised. It even divides into canon (the strip itself) and Expanded Universe (the tv specials, movies, plays, and Dolly Madison commercials). It’s Your First Kiss Charlie Brown may have shown the Little Red-haired Girl and named her Heather, but since she never appeared in the strip, she’s as nonexistent as Jaster Mereel.

(Don’t take that to mean I’m down on the specials and movies; I still wibble when the gang sing “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” (after decorating the tree by waving their hands) and I don’t care who knows it)

It’s absolutely true that “Peanuts” was not Schulz’ choice for the title of the strip.  He wanted to retain the title of his previous strip, Li’l Folks, but there was already a Little Folks, so that’s what the syndicate saddled him with.  Schulz himself said of the title,
That’s why the specials and collections would always follow the Something Something, Charlie Brown pattern, occasionally swapping out Chuck’s name for Snoopy’s.  But the name has become inescapable, and shorthand for the characters, the same way people continually refer to Silk Spectre, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan as “the” Watchmen (looking your direction, Zack Snyder).

It’s also true that Charlie Brown isn’t bald – he has blonde hair in a crewcut. That little squiggle on his forehead, that everyone assumes is a single hair? That’s that little cowlick that all little boys with crewcuts have. I mean, who doesn’t remember when Charlie Brown won free haircuts, but couldn’t collect because his dad was a barber?

Still, and this may come as a surprise, i gave up tilting at that particular windmill years ago, if only for the sake of my blood pressure.  That’s what allows me to remain optimistic about this…

…in spite of the very first shot reinforcing the single-hair misconception.

I have to say, I like the style. When I heard “3D animated Peanuts” I had nightmarish  mental images of Schroeder giving up Beethoven for terrible rapping, or Pigpen farting and blaming it on Snoopy. The fact that it’s from the producers of such classics as Rio 2 doesn’t help.

But this might actually work. The style isn’t 3D, as we think of it, closer to felt cutouts. Of course the familiar strains of “Linus And Lucy” are there, because trying to do without if would be like making a Star Wars movie without The Imperial March.  Best of all, it retains the voice of the late Bill Melendez, producer of the TV specials, for Snoopy’s vocalizations.  As long as the adults remain unseen and sound like muted trumpets, I’ll give them a pass on calling it Peanuts, instead of Something Something Something, Charlie Brown.

The tats are real, by the way. Here’s my Charlie Brown armband, which really was a 40th birthday present from The Missus.

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And here are Mowrer’s.

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“That little gal with the horns” is based on a drawing by Bill Wray that looks uncannily like Mrs. Mowrer.

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And this, as I’m sure you recognize, is the circuitry from the Six Million Dollar Man action figure, because that’s how Mowrer rolls.

And why, you ask, haven’t we seen these in the strip before? Because shut up, that’s why.