Lucy… stole… a jeep?

Questions answered

FancyLucyBWscreenresWhen I gave my talk at Beaglefest last month, I spoke mainly of the upcoming Complete Peanuts volume 26, showing off the things that would be included in that volume, as well as some of the things that wouldn’t be. And I did display off one of my favorite spot illustrations that I had found during the process of gathering materials, the image of Lucy all dolled up, as seen here. It was used as part of the Ford Falcon print ad campaigns of the early 1960s.

After the talk, the one and only Kathleen Shea (well, actually, I imagine there are other Kathleen Sheas in this world, but the other ones didn’t make all those lovely quilts displayed in her book Peanuts Quilted Celebrations!) came up and asked me if that animal she’s wearing might be a ferret. I reckoned that it might – while such full-body stoles were more commonly made with foxes and minks, some were made from ferrets, and I could see how one could see that particular head as ferret-y. But I did not voice the odd suspicion that I’d previously formed around that image.

But last night, I happened to show that image to a few other comicsers, and a couple of them had the same reaction that I did: it’s a jeep.

eugeneNo, not the military vehicle… the Popeye character. Back in 1936, E.C. Segar introduced into his strip “Thimble Theater” a magical, four-dimensional animal known as Eugene the jeep. Now, Schulz was a “Thimble Theater” reader; he used to draw Popeye on the other kids notebooks at school. And he certainly knew about Eugene. Washington Post piece cites him talking about how the introduction of Eugene was destructive to the dynamic of the strip.

So perhaps Schulz had drawn Eugene for his school friends, and that practice influenced how he draw certain types of critters. Or maybe, just maybe, this was Schulz getting revenge on Eugene for lowering the quality of “Thimble Theater” by killing him off and using his dead carcass as a decoration.

Questions answered
Delicate Sparky

I tweeted out the cover to Kop Op, Charlie Brown the other day, as part of a series of ridiculous Peanuts items. And after a comment from a respected member of the comics profession noting that it must be a trace, I tweeted out what was clearly being traced, the cover …

Questions answered
Ferret versus Jeep

In a recent editorial, the management of this station that Charles Schulz had used his advertising work to kill off a beloved cast member of a competing strip. In the interest of community service and with the goal of meeting our obligations under the Federal Equal Time Provisions, we hereby …

Questions answered
Linus’s shorthand.

Today, newspapers reran the December 22, 1968 Peanuts strip, in which Linus is doing shorthand, and I see people asking just what he’s saying. Luckily, a few years back, I asked someone who did shorthand. The first panel says “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.” The last panel …