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Peanuts, reprinted 5/15/06

As strongly as I oppose reruns and zombie comics squatting on the ever-shrinking comics pages, I must shamefully admit that I still like seeing Peanuts there — particularly now that the reruns have looped back to the strips from the 1950s. Not only are these strips sharper, meaner, and funnier, but the strip’s overall timeless quality makes it all the more jarring when a passing fad — college students cramming themselves by the dozen into phone booths, say — suddenly pops up to remind you that you’re seeing an artifact that’s more than a half century old. I really love the bizarre wreath of feet surrounding Charlie Brown’s face in this strip. And though he’s usually portrayed as the ultimate loser, in this particularly instance he’s come out on top: he’s the only participant in this stunt getting any fresh air.