God and Charlie Brown: What Peanuts was really saying

A new book delves into one of the great enigmas about Charles M. Schulz: Was he a fundamentalist, an atheist—or both?



I am a big Peanuts fan who’s collected all of the Complete Peanuts volumes so far (they’re up to 1970, so they’ve already collected most of the strips from Charles Schulz’s prime); I’ve never been quite as sold on the animated specials as some. This is mostly due to the fact that I came to Peanuts first through the comic strip, so the specials always kind of got to me whenever they would depart from the strip. I’m not just talking about plot points that would never happen in the strip, like showing the Little Red-Haired Girl (something Schulz reluctantly approved for the special but refused to do in the comic strip), but just re-assigning lines: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is great, but it jarred to hear Sally saying the line “All I want is what I have coming to me; all I want is my fair share” when that was originally Linus’s line. More importantly, the more specials they did, the less they had to do with the strip; I remember seeing the first broadcast of the infamous “It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown” and wondering who these people were and what they’d done with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.