One of the most memorable lines from Peanuts is Linus telling Sally, “I’m not your sweet babboo!” For veterans of Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip masterpiece, that’s just one of the punchlines that have stuck over the years. And the gang has been at it for a while: Peanuts has had a career spanning 50 years, and Schulz is recognized today as a landmark in comics literature. The collection I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo! by Schulz is just one of them.
I don’t remember when I started reading Peanuts. It seemed like it was always there. The punchlines were subtle, the humor simple and memorable. For a comic strip that centers around a bunch of “li’l folks,” Peanuts is no ordinary kids story. The main characters, for one, aren’t what you’d expect. There’s that wishy-washy, round-headed kid named Charlie Brown; Lucy, professional “fussbudget”; Schroeder, a Beethoven fanatic; Linus, a bundle of insecurities; and Snoopy, an imaginative beagle on the hunt for his WWI nemesis, the Red Baron.
If the setup seems outlandish, it probably is--but while Peanuts is filled with endless imagination, the gang’s adventures are rooted in everyday life. The classic four square panels of Charlie Brown being miserable are often the most rewarding. Schulz’s trademark “Good grief!” is used in abundance, as Schulz manages to find the richest humor in the gang’s exasperation, existential crises, to nobly hopeless shenanigans--Lucy’s determination to count all the world’s raindrops, for example, where no one has gone before!
Schulz is brilliant in his ability to create complete characters. Charlie Brown might only be eight years old, but his struggles are universal. From battling a kite-eating tree, to mustering the courage to say hello to the Little Red-Haired Girl during lunch, Charlie Brown has done it all. We are shown characters that are full of layers: at times laughably self-pitying, other times maddeningly endearing. It’s impossible not to see ourselves in them. While Schulz’s humor is subtle, there’s nothing trashy about it. His versatile art never fails to bring a smile to your face. Though, as Linus would say, “I’m not your sweet babboo!”