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It’s Only a Game

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

January 27, 2007

Quick Rating: Great

Charles Schulz’s other classic comic strip…

Writers & Artists: Charles M. Schulz & Jim Sasseville
Publisher: About Comics

A lot of folks don’t know it, but Peanuts was not the only comic strip ever done by the great Charles M. Schulz. In the early 50s, he launched It’s Only a Game, a one-panel cartoon about the world of sports, games and hobbies.

He was soon joined by cartoonist Jim Sasseville, who did a lot of the Peanuts comic books published by Dell. (Schulz did every Peanuts comic strip himself, but employed ghost cartoonists for the comic book). Sasseville sketched out Schulz’s ideas and occasionally came up with his own strip. With gags ranging from everything from baseball, football and tennis to ice fishing, Bridge and Monopoly, the one-panel gags truly covered a wide range of interests.

In 2004, About Comics reprinted the entire run of this strip (it was only a little more than a year) in one volume. Is it any good? Well, it’s not Peanuts, but what is? A lot of the humor is kind of dated, such as the frequent Bridge strips that drop the name of a card game guru that contemporary audiences may never have even heard of. It’s cute, and some of it is really good – the baseball, golf and fishing gags, for instance. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that an awful lot of the characters look like Charlie Brown and the gang all grown up, and the few cartoons in this collection that feature children could easily have been printed as Peanuts comics without people noticing the difference, except for a higher “camera angle” that Schulz never used for the gang. It’s not a must-have for the casual reader, but for the Schulz fan or for someone interested in the history of cartooning, it’s a really clever and enjoyable volume.

Rating: 9/10

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