Friend of the blog, or at least the Twitter feed, Alex brings word of Peanuts Minus Snoopy, which I guess was sort of inevitable in the wake of Garfield Minus Garfield. The genius of Garfield Minus Garfield, of course, is that it changes the focus of a terrible comic and in so doing makes it a pretty great comic.
In Garfield the focus is always on Garfield: Garfield likes lasagna; Garfield likes to crush spiders; Garfield likes to torture dogs; Garfield likes to mock his owner; Garfield thinks he's way funnier than he actually is; etc. Removing Garfield shifts the focus of the strip onto Jon Arbuckle, whose pathos had always been obscured by the wisecracking of his dumbass cat. And so the comic becomes something genuinely different and smarter and better.
Peanuts Minus Snoopy, on the other hand, takes a great strip and turns it into...something slightly less great.
Unlike Garfield, Snoopy isn't really the focus of his strip. Peanuts is an ensemble; Snoopy is an important player, but Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Sally are all just as important. And so removing Snoopy doesn't change the focus of the comic in the way that removing Garfield from his eponymous strip does. Peanuts is about the struggles of childhood. Peanuts Minus Snoopy is...about the struggles of childhood.
This isn't to say that Peanuts Minus Snoopy is a disaster or anything. Far from it. It's an interesting experiment. It puts a finer point on some of the non-Snoopy relationships. It provides some pretty decent surreal humor. But it isn't as good as the originals. More often than not, it just feels like a pretty good comic strip that's missing something.