REVIEW: Snoopy, Come Home is a Canine Classic

snoopy come home

Snoopy, Come Home (not to be confused with the animated film of the same title) is a reissue of Charles M. Schultz’s book from the early 1960s, incorporating 126 daily Peanuts newspaper strips from 1955-1962. The volume’s release will coincide with the beloved series 70th Anniversary this year and a new show on Apple TV.

Snoopy, Come Home

Charles M. Schultz (writer and artist)
Titan Comics
13 April 2021

 

Snoopy, Come Home by Charles M. Schultz (Titan Comics)

One of my favourite Twitter accounts is Peanuts On This Day, a lovely feed sharing daily panels from Peanuts strips from various decades, a daily beam of sunshine amidst the often toxic, overcrowded shouting that can occur on social media. (Do follow if you don’t, I highly recommend it, and you will not regret it). Charles Schultz’s smart and simple premise of a boy, his sister, his friends, and his super-smart dog has accessibility and warmth that you cannot help loving; each panel is imbued with such humanity and heart that you feel an emotional connection to this gang. You laugh, you sigh, you cry with each character. Between Snoopy’s smarts, Charlie Brown’s ongoing existential crisis, Lucy’s unrequited love for Schroeder (plus her brilliant ‘the Psychiatrist is in’ side hustle), it never fails to amaze how brilliant Schultz was at highlighting the hilarity and tragedy disparate in the everyday.

Snoopy, Come Home begins with Snoopy on top of his beloved home (a running theme of this book), saying how he is a home where friends are always welcome to visit — human friends or bird friends — at the time of their own convenience. As three birds swoop in and promptly fall asleep on his roof, Snoopy kindly admits, “it’s nice to have a home where your guests feel comfortable.” It’s so simple a scene but so filled with quiet humour and lots of heart.

Snoopy, Come Home by Charles M. Schultz (Titan Comics)
Snoopy, Come Home by Charles M. Schultz (Titan Comics)

Gentleness is the theme of Snoopy, Come Home this new volume, which plays on softness rather than fast gags. But that does not been things are insipid — far from it. Schultz’s panels offer deeply tender and often poignant observations about the everyday. One such storyline includes a fearful Snoopy facing the possibility (fortunately unfounded) of losing his much-loved home. In this storyline, we see him waking in the night, panicking deeply, having a very Charlie Brown-like crisis. And when the usually relaxed Snoopy panics, we cannot help but panic.

Snoopy, Come Home by Charles M. Schultz (Titan Comics)
Snoopy, Come Home by Charles M. Schultz (Titan Comics)

I also think it’s especially clever that Schultz included a moment where Snoopy, in the midst of having an emotionally fraught time, is met by Lucy’s realism and very topical remark that he is not the only one to lose his home because people lose their homes every day. But they rally around him, the little community of friends they are. In a year of financial hardship and fraught times, it’s one more example of Schultz’s foresight and how there is a panel for every occasion.

But there are lighter moments, too. One of my favourites included Snoopy in various states of sleep, including on Schroeder’s piano (while he is hitting the keys loudly) and in the birdbath of one of his avian friends. In Schultz’s world, no joke is unwanted, and no storyline is disposed of once used. This is what makes Peanuts so accessible and popular — we can follow the panels for years, and they never feel outdated. They have richer meaning when we read them as adults, and that is something exceptional.

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