This graphic novel plays just like a Peanuts television special. It doesn’t just have the Peanuts style, though that’s certainly part of it. It also has the familiar rhythm of a Peanuts special—a rhythm I can’t really explain, but if you’ve seen a Peanuts special or two and read this graphic novel, you’ll see what I mean.
Most importantly, though, Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown has the Peanuts spirit. All while reading it, I could hear the voices of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, etc. in my head, saying each line, delivering each joke, and it felt like Peanuts.
Part of the reason for that is that the graphic novel is based on an outline and storyboard of Charles Schulz’s, which was meant to be a Peanuts special but never quite got off the ground. The special was to be called Will Ye No Come Back Again, Charlie Brown?, which I personally think is a better title, though I can see why it might be a harder sell.
The fact that it bears the Charles Schulz spark is only part of the reason for the magic, though. Jason Cooper, who adapted the story into a comic, clearly understands the Peanuts spirit in a way I don’t think a lot of people do anymore.
As our story begins, Charlie Brown is actually in relatively good spirits. It seems he’s fallen for his new pen pal Morag, a bonny lass from Scotland. So much so, that when she tells him about the upcoming Scottish International Arts and Music Festival, Charlie Brown decides to raise the money to go there.
Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder all help out with the fundraising, because they want to go to the festival, too. Schroeder wants to perform in the festival, making his international piano debut. Linus wants to see the Loch Ness monster, whom he suspects may be in league with the Great Pumpkin. And Lucy… Well, Lucy mostly just wants a trip to Scotland. I can’t say I blame her.
Of course, getting to Scotland is only the beginning. Once they get there, they experience a whole host of shenanigans, which I won’t spoil for you, but suffice it to say, they are the Charlie Browniest shenanigans you can imagine.
They also visit a lot of famous locations in Scotland, from Loch Ness to Culloden Battlefield to the Jacobite train (though they don’t call it that). They even meet a few Highland Coos! Everything is depicted accurately, too—almost enough to make you feel like you’re actually there. In fact, it’s been nearly five years since I visited Culloden Battlefield and ate in the dining area there, but I could almost swear, when I did, I sat at the same table where the Peanuts gang are seen to eat.
If you haven’t been to Scotland, this comic will make you want to go. If you have been, this comic will make you want to go back. The whole adventure is great fun.
The graphic novel also features some of the storyboards for Charles Schulz’s original idea. Some scenes you’ll recognize, but a lot was changed from the initial concept. Some bits, it’s easy to see why they were changed. For instance, the original storyboards feature (gasp!) an adult as one of the characters! There are a few bits of the storyboards that I wonder why they changed, or would have liked to see, but even so, the story doesn’t suffer at all for their lack.
If you’re a fan of Peanuts and/or a fan of Scotland, you’ll definitely want to check out Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown. Personally, I’d love to see it made into a full TV special. Perhaps someday. Until then, though, the comic form of the story is a joy to read.
Creative Team: Charles M. Schulz (story, Peanuts creator), Bill Melendez (story), Jason Cooper (written by), Robert Pope (art by), Hannah White (colors), Jewel Jackson (color assists), Donna Almendrala (letters and post production), and Bryan Stone (letters and post production)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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