Lucy: A Peanuts Collection
Jason Cooper, Charles M. Schulz, Vicki Scott, Riley Pell-Jenkins, Art Roche, Jeff Dyer (story), Alexis E. Fajardo, Paige Braddock, Justin Thompson, Charles M. Schulz (inks); Charles M. Schulz, Vicki Scott,Scott Jeralds, Stephanie Gladden, Robert Pope (pencils); Nina Taylor Kester, Lisa Moore, Alexis E. Fajardo, Art Roche, Donna Almendrala, Katharine Efird (colors); Katharine Efird, Donna Almendrala, Alexis E. Fajardo, Denis St. John, Steve Wands (letters)
When I was a young girl, Peanuts’ Lucy van Pelt was daily, illustrated proof that you could be grumpy, even violent, and still be a thoughtful, well-rounded, intelligent girl. Her presence was helpful in the same way Charlie Brown’s morose outlook and Linus’ philosophizing were helpful; they were proof you could have multiple layers, be crabby, and still be you. Lucy: A Peanuts Collection celebrates 64 years of Lucy’s existence.
I was delighted to grab this little volume for review. Everyone’s favorite football-grabbing armchair therapist and all-around fussbudget gets her own softcover collection of Peanuts comics, featuring a select number of Charles Schulz strips, stories from Boom’s Kaboom Peanuts comic book series, and original sketch material from the Schulz archives. Together they make a fairly well-rounded picture of the romantic, crabby, tough, smart, competitive, vain, silly, and wrathful young lady.
All of Lucy’s important relationships come up for exploration. Her frustrated romantic attraction to Beethoven-loving Schroeder; her bullying friendship with Charlie Brown and her adversarial yet protective relationship with her much more dreamy-minded and philosophical little brother Linus; her push-and-shove association with Snoopy, who replies to her frequent criticism by suggesting where she can put her thoughts when he’s not grossing her out by kissing her cheek.
There are two stories that stand out in this volume: “Music Goes Round,” in which a frustrated Lucy gets Take Me Out to the Ball Game stuck in her head and passes the tune along to others, causing it to circulate through her friends’ group; and “Miss Crabby Pageant,” in which Lucy goes up against other angry girls for the titular title with Linus and Charlie Brown’s help. There are some other isolated moments that really work, like Lucy grabbing Schroder’s piano and carrying it over her head and throwing it into the sewer out of frustration.
The downside to all of this is that sometimes a little Lucy goes a long way. All of that direct meanness, all of that anger, and even the violence can be a lot to take all at once with no breaks. That was the beauty of Peanuts; Schulz knew how to balance out his kids’ behavior, letting each one shine so that none would overwhelm. I love Lucy, but she’s downright cruel sometimes, and when that cruelty goes unchecked it’s hard to tolerate her in large doses. Not that I’d ever want to see a change in her personality, but when she reacts to some clear devastation on Schroeder’s part with a quip things just end up feeling off.
The art does excellent tribute to Schulz’ style and sense of humor; sweetly colored and popping with cool blues and rich reds, they capture rolling summer hills and frigid ice ponds—and all of the seasons in between—that exist in Lucy’s world.
How much you’re going to love this volume will definitely depend on how much you love Lucy, and even for me, the trip became a little tiring. Yet, the best parts of the comic are truly amazing. In the end, you’ll smile more than once. The doctor is definitely in.