Pigpen in the spotlight

Grrrrrr… I just wrote a write-up of the new book The Dirt on Pigpen, only to have my computer eat it. I’m not going to try to recreate it word-for-word. So let me sum up:

  • Pigpen is more a concept than a character, and the strips are more about how people react to him than about how he reacts to hmself.
  • There’s a fair amount of repetition involved – Pigpen attracts dirt in odd ways, Pigpen gets his snacks dirty.
  • Odder still is when it isn’t repeating — sizable portions of the strip seem like they’re using any Pigpen appearance they can find to flesh out the relatively thin book (96 pages). Doesn’t matter if it isn’t about Pigpen, if Pigpen doesn’t speak, if he’s only in one panel, if he isn’t recognizable…
  • And oddest still is a strip or two which do focus on Pigpen but which don’t focus on his unsanitary nature. Shermy makes a good character for a generic joke; Pigpen, not so much.
  • Worth looking for: the Peppermint Patty/Pigpen romance storyline.
  • One for the nitpickers: Pigpen’s name is hyphenated for the first 3/4 of the book, and at various times is in quotes (double or single) or not.

If a book made up of Pigpen cartoons sounds like a good idea to you, then you should like this (and order it here!)

I also got my copy of The Complete Peanuts: 1963 to 1964 (not in stores until May). Haven’t had the chance to read it all yet, but I’ve read what the cover refers to as an “Introduction by Bill Melendez” and the interior describes as “Foreword by Bill Melendez”. A couple quick notes on that:

  • Having Peanuts animator Bill Melendez do the opening text is a switch from the earlier volumes, where notables from other realms would give their insight on Peanuts.
  • It is a foreword, not an introduction. Bill talks about his work on Peanuts, and how the whole animation thing came together. He’s not talking about the strips that constitutes the body of the book… not introducing it. (Yeah, I’m in a nitpicky mood today!)
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