And Rerun’s older than many of you reading this right now.

§ July 6th, 2015 § Filed under peanuts § 3 Comments

While the designation of “my favorite individual Peanuts strip” will attach itself to a different entry depending on what Peanuts I’ve read most recently, currently this strip holds the honor for me:

Lucy’s panicked interruption is pretty amazing.

Anyway, I’m currently reading Fantagraphics’s The Complete Peanuts: 1993-1994 which is not the current volume, but the one previous to the 1995-1996 volume released just a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, I had missed the 1993-1994 volume as it had come out during that transitional period when I was leaving my old place of employment and beginning to establish my new criminal lair in the heart of Camarillo, and didn’t realize it until one of my regulars pointed out that he too was missing that book.

Rerun is fairly prominent in this volume:

…which reminds me of how I keep thinking that he’s a much later addition to the strip than he actually is. When I was a kid, I read a lot of Peanuts reprint books, mostly those oversized Holt, Rinehart and Winston-published trade paperbacks. Mostly I checked them out of the library, though once I managed to scrape together the $3.95 to get one of my own (And A Woodstock in a Birch Tree from 1979 — still on my bookshelf now!). My introduction to Rerun was about that time, and I understood then that, unlike the other more firmly established characters in the strip, he was a newer addition to the cast, and because I “discovered” him in the late 1970s, it just sort of lodged in my head that he dated from the late ’70s.

Of course, that’s not the case. He was first mentioned in 1972, and actually appeared in the strip in 1973, so Rerun’s been around about as long as I’ve been able to read. Or, to put it another way, for over half the life of the Peanuts strip itself. And yet, he still feels like “the new cast member,” probably because the character was put on the backburner for a very long time, only returning to prominence in the strip’s final years.

I always loved the self-awareness of the character’s name as well, with Schulz seemingly admitting (or just outright saying as such in that 1972 strip) that we were going to go through the aging-from-baby-to-peer-of-Charlie-Brown process again, one that had occurred with both of Rerun’s siblings, Lucy and Linus, as well as Schroeder and Charlie Brown’s sister Sally. Rerun’s sporadic use over the history of the strip did result in some “continuity” (as it were) errors, detailed in this Wiki entry. The accelerated aging process had a few bumps in the road, such as confusion as to whether he was able to walk or if he was still crawling.

Getting back to the 1993-4 edition of The Complete Peanuts, we see another one of Schulz’s crazy one-off kid characters:

…which always look so weird in contrast to the regular cast. It’s almost a literal depiction of the strangeness one feels as a child when first meeting someone outside of your immediate and familiar circle of friends. Yes, “as a child,” we adults don’t have awkward responses like that ever, nosirree. But anyway, someone should catalog all these one-off, usually nameless, characters. “The Forgotten Kids of Peanuts” — almost sounds like a spin-off strip, where children from summer camps and surrounding neighborhoods relate tales of a dog that walked like a human, of a boy with a blue blanket that almost seemed to have a mind of its own, of a swirling storm of dust and filth that may have contained a child within.

3 Responses to “And Rerun’s older than many of you reading this right now.”

  • Snoopy’s family history seems a sad and tragic thing (as could be true of many dog-breeder, kennel-sold puppy “farms”) with his siblings spread far and wide.

    Spike (a you mentioned in your Twitter) is an especially sad tale, and there were long stretches (that seems to me to be months at a time) where Shultz would go of on that tangent and focus on the sad, desert solitude of Spike.

    It was during one of these long jags, near the end of Shultz’ life that I worried if he were succumbing to some depression.

    Like you, I was a great lover of Peanuts as a child, and have a few of the small, square floppy books (“Happiness is a Warm Puppy” and others like that), and some pocket book trades, and back then, as a budding artist, Snoopy was one of the first things I taught myself to draw (tho, it’s darn near impossible to get him just right, while Shultz did it effortlessly with a few ragged lines. A master).

    I might need to go read me some Peanuts now.

  • Casie says:

    That first strip is hilarious! I love writing like that. The untold story that can’t be told. I’m dying to know what that could be.
    So fun! Thanks for sharing, Mike!

  • DavidG says:

    Amazingly a friend and I made the same observation just a few weeks ago while we were visiting the Schulz museum (very entertaining by the way). I still remember being shocked by my first encounter with the character in a reprint book in the late 70s, and I still think of him as “new”. I feel much the same way about Spike btw.