SNOOPY: FIRST BEAGLE IN SPACE / AUTHOR: CHARLES M. SCHULZ / PUBLISHER: ANDREW MCMEEL PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: 16TH APRIL
It’s a rather nice surprise to discover that Snoopy (and his friends) are connected to all things sci-fi in a way that most of us don’t expect. Charles Schulz was a huge supporter of America’s effort to explore space, all the way back in the 60s. So much so, in fact, that Snoopy is the official safety mascot of NASA.
Snoopy: First Beagle in Space is a charming collection of Snoopy strips from a classic era of Snoopy’s fame. It’s full of all the characters you expect to see in a Snoopy comic and has the same level of gentle humour that’s just funny enough to make you smile and is unlikely to offend anyone. It’s aimed squarely at kids and has Snoopy wandering round the woods leading Woodstock and chums on a scouting mission. Because he’s a beagle scout, apparently.
Despite the name, the majority of the content is nothing to do with beagles in space. Anyone expecting a comic book version of the TV show Snoopy in Space will be sorely disappointed. We get some space-related strips at the beginning and the end of the book, mostly related to Snoopy either fantasising about being an astronaut or worried that the moon will fall on his head. We also get some reprints of classic 1950’s era ‘space’ strips; mostly Charlie Brown playing at being an astronaut. The book also has some content about space exploration suitable for kids, but it’s more an afterthought than anything else.
What we do get is Charlie Brown playing baseball, Lucy being a loud-mouthed braggart, Woodstock being cute and so on. There’s a hint of the Red Baron, but mostly these are cute, short gag strips about being a carefree child in a world where the scariest thing is running out of dog food. The artwork is exactly what you’d expect; deceptively simple and incredibly easy on the eye.
Snoopy: First Beagle in Space doesn’t live up to the promise of its title in the slightest, and yet that doesn’t really matter. It’s Peanuts; it’s cute and silly comfort food for the soul. If you’re not familiar with the material by now you’ll most likely be bored to tears by it, but if you’re a beagle fan, then prepare to enjoy the warm and fuzzy nostalgia this sort of thing evokes.
If you want space adventures with everyone’s favourite big-nosed dog, check out Boom Studios’ Snoopy: A Beagle of Mars, which is more modern and actually puts a dog in space. Otherwise, settle in with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy.