The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown
Story by Andy Beall, Bob Scotty, and Vicki Scott
Artwork by Vicki Scott and Paige Braddock
BOOM! Studios has been publishing comic books and original graphic novels based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts for several years now, and this week they released the latest graphic novel, The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown.
I didn’t know a great deal about it beforehand; the cover had Snoopy in an astronaut’s spacesuit, and that was about it. But it was Peanuts, and I was going to pick it up irregardless.
The basic plotline is this.
Charlie Brown and his friends are playing at being astronauts and Martians. Snoopy is pretending to be the World Famous Astronaut. Snoopy wants to be fed excessively. When Snoopy eats all the dog food Charlie Brown has, Charlie Brown is forced to feed Snoopy with cat food borrowed from the owners of the Cat Next Door. Snoopy, incensed, throws his food dish into the yard of the Cat Next Door, and then he’s unable to get it back. Thereupon, Snoopy falls asleep and dreams that he has become the first beagle on the Moon. And when Woodstock flies into the Cat Next Door’s yard, Snoopy is forced to confront his fears and his nemesis to get back his friend and his supper dish.
As you might guess from the title and that brief description, The Beagle Has Landed is a Snoopy-centric story, though there are moments for Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy. The artwork evokes Schulz’s mid-60s style quite well. The story is generally, if not overwhelmingly, amusing. I laughed at times. Snoopy’s dream sequence on the Moon is creative, but the joke about Snoopy’s desire to eat all the time is belabored.
The book was enjoyable, a little slight for its length, and also odd. Franklin, Shermy, and 5 share a panel together, which may be the strangest and most inexplicable collection of Peanuts characters ever assembled. The story simultaneously takes place before and after the Apollo program (Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus have a conversation about whether or not any of them would want to be the first man on the Moon, but later Snoopy refers to one of the Apollo astronauts in his dream).
As with all of BOOM!’s Peanuts output, the best way to read this that I’ve found is to imagine that it’s an adaptation of a lost television special rather than as something Schulz might’ve done at length in the comic strip. If this had been a television special circa 1965, it would be remembered as one of the minor specials, a bit like the 1980s specials.
There’s nothing about this that makes me want to jump up and down and sing, but it also doesn’t do anything wrong. The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown is a well-made piece of Peanuts ephemera that hits enough of the buttons to feel right.