Charles M(onroe) Schulz Clarence Petersen - Essay

Clarence Petersen

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Snoopy and the Red Baron] was Schulz's first full-length cartoon adventure and, as the publisher describes it, "In the tradition of the great war novels, it is an odyssey of love, guts, and tears." In case you don't read the comics, Snoopy is Charlie Brown's hound dog, and the life he leads would do credit to Walter Mitty. In his most persistent fantasy Snoopy is a World War I air ace, and his doghouse is the Sopwith Camel in which he ventures at dawn into the wild blue yonder to do battle with the butcher of the skies, Baron von Richtofen. Ridiculous? Don't be silly! Think of it—Snoopy under anti-aircraft fire over France; Snoopy smiling coldly in the shadow of the familiar Fokker Triplane; Snoopy piercing the skies with a defiant cry of "Nyahh, Nyaah, Nyaah, Red Baron!"; Snoopy plummeting to earth; Snoopy making his way across barbed wire through enemy lines to safety; Snoopy, secure at last back in headquarters and already dreaming of the next epic dogfight: "Someday I'll get you, Red Baron!" This is what war and heroism are all about, friends. This is what Dos Passos and Hemingway and Republic Pictures were trying to tell us all along. (p. 13)

Clarence Petersen, in Book World—Chicago Tribune (© 1969 Postrib Corp.). August 10, 1969.