Mission (Out of) Control
This prologue story was previously released as a minicomic. It follows Woodstock and his fellow birds as NASA engineers. But it isn’t so much about their job duties, rather than their goofy antics in the breakroom.
There are no words – just actions – very slapstick. Everything goes wrong, like a Charlie Chaplin film. I was so lost. I guess their humor just translates better in the cartoons.
I didn’t care for the art, either. It was drawn by Vicki Scott, compared to Robert Pope’s pencils of the main story. Some may enjoy this style. But I sure didn’t. If I was rating this on Mission (Out of) Control alone, I would have given it 3 out of 6 sodas.
Snoopy on Mars (Or is He?)
“I’m the first beagle on Mars! What a giant leap for dog kind! What magnificent desolation…What am I going to do for supper?!”
Already, I liked this art way better than the prequel. Hannah White’s colors complemented it well.
The opening panels have Earth junk scattered about the Mars surface. Then, a collar unattached from its owner reads “Snoopy.” If you read this comic for a second time, you’ll realize this as foreshadowing.
Snoopy narrates his journey like he would in his Red Barron stories. As he treks through the Mars surface, there’s a cliff that sees an “alien city” on the horizon. But really, isn’t he the alien? The colorful city is simple, yet wacky, much like Dr. Suess.
We Interrupt This Broadcast…..
But then, his story is abruptly interrupted. I was left to believe it was over. There’s a new story without warning. And there’s a different version of Snoopy in a fedora and a stringy mustache.
But the writer didn’t leave me confused for too long. This new Snoopy isn’t Snoopy at all, but his brother Spike. He discovers the collar among the scattered junk from the opening panels and brings it to town with him.
Have You Seen Snoopy?
Additional to the Snoopy and Spike stories, there’s yet a third story. Charlie Brown glances out his window to see the Woodstocks in their NASA garb. Thus, tying the prequel story. When he asks them about their astronaut game, I start to gather the pieces.
“Hmmm…Whenever you see a bird in a tie, you know something strange is going on.”
Spike finds his brother at a vet, still hallucinating about the alien city. So they give the “round-headed kid,” kid a call. While they wait for Charlie to find a way there, Snoopy and Spike sort their family issues.
It’s interesting how the creator, Charles Schultz, set the speech patterns that are still used today. There’s a character who’s mother is the vet. Though, the words of this offscreen character is relayed through her daughter. Remember, there are no adults in Peanuts. And in the cartoon, there are those silly noises for their voices. The dogs talk in thought bubbles, while the kids have speech bubbles. Yet, they can understand each other. And the Woodstocks talk in speech bubbles, but their words are tally marks.
Snoopy: A Beagle of Mars
I wasn’t sure what to think of this comic at first. There was the Woodstock story at the beginning. And then I thought we moved on to yet another story. But once I figured out everything was connected, I grew fascinated. By the end, I found that heart-warming sensation I did when I would watch the Peanuts cartoons as a kid.