First Peanuts Sunday

First Peanuts Sunday

Yesterday, Craig Yoe noted the 56th anniversary of the first Sunday Peanuts page. What a wonderful, simple use of composition and page layouts. Schulz uses a basic nine panel grid altered by 2 symmetrically placed wide panels: at the beginning for the title (which is seen in all the Sundays) and at the end. Charlie Brown is centered in all but the first panel, isolated in those minimalist Schulz settings (a little less minimalist here than in later years, but showing all the same visual tropes: wall, fence, tree, part of a house). He faces left (twice) then right (twice) then back to the left again. He’s looking around in the most basic way. The penultimate panel increases the isolation with that empty background of a grass horizon. The single sound effect is made more prominent and “loud” by being the only word (other than the never absent title and signature) on the page. The transition from the small almost empty panel to the long crowded panel (even the grass is more detailed) increases the impact of the gag.