In 1967, about one hundred and two years after Charles Dodgson published Alice in Wonderland under the pen name Lewis Carroll, Charles Schulz, the author of the popular comic strip Peanuts, paid homage to Carroll’s character of the Cheshire Cat, through his own character Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet beagle.
Although Charles Schulz does draw some other characters from Wonderland (including The Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit, and Humpty Dumpty) his main focus is on the “Cheshire Beagle Trick” (Schulz) that Snoopy adds to his arsenal of improbable talents, including typing, cooking, World War I fighter-piloting, and playing tennis. Notably, he also made his owner Charlie Brown disappear, and, eventually, reappear in the 1981 television special “It’s Magic, Charlie Brown!”
This might serve both as a way to add to Snoopy’s aura as a supernaturally gifted dog, and as a way through which Schulz could experiment with drawing less and less of Snoopy as he kept disappearing. In this way, it allows for a reimagining of drawing and comics, letting readers explore what a beloved character might look like, and how he might keep his essence, when stripped of all recognizable traits.
Snoopy can also be cagey with the kids in Peanuts, in a similar way to the Cheshire Cat’s behavior with Alice. He may seem to be all-knowing, but at times is unhelpful in pointing other characters in the right direction, physically or metaphorically.
Just last year the Schulz Museum in Santa Monica, California, had an exhibit, titled Peanuts in Wonderland, focusing on these comic strips and Schulz’s admiration of Alice in Wonderland. Some of these strips were also adapted in “Peppermint Patty’s School Days”, a 1985 television episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.
Links to Peanuts Comic Strips featuring the “Cheshire Beagle”, all by Charles Schulz and copyrighted by United Features Syndicate Inc.:
- Schulz, Charles. United Features Syndicate Inc.: Peanuts comic strip from January 9, 1977. http://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1977/01/09
“Tennel Cheshire proof” by John Tenniel – http://www.themorgan.org/collections/collections.asp?id=570. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tennel_Cheshire_proof.png#/media/File:Tennel_Cheshire_proof.png