This is a minicomic by J.T. Yost that I picked up at Chicago Comics today. Yost has made a named for himself with many by winning a Xeric Award for his comics contained in Old Man Winter & Other Sordid Tales, which I admittedly haven’t read despite my steadfast respect and appreciation for the work Xeric winners put into their craft.
Tales of Good Ol’ Snoop Doggy Dogg, as the name and cover suggest, is a hybrid comic strip of Snoop Doggy Dog satire and Charles Schulz’ Peanuts strips. As it is a minicomic and there are only 4 discernible strips bound together, it feels more like a taste test than it does a fully digestible read, but then again that’s often what you get with minicomics. That’s not a knock on the form — quite to the contrary, I think they often demand a step back to view them conceptually.
Indie comics as a whole have a history deeply rooted in drug culture and illustration as a means of escape from real-life consequences (take the work of R. Crumb or Gary Panter for example — I don’t think it’s a case that needs to be hammered home). The end goal isn’t all that different from the Peanuts reading experience or the creative goals of Charles Schulz, I don’t think. That premise of commonality was what drew me to this on the shelf, particularly as its applied to Snoop Doggy Dogg, who is himself an icon of marijuana culture.
I haven’t read through the creator’s website to verify this, but the pitch the reader is meant to believe is that these stories come from actual dreams where Snoop plays a sort of totemic authority figure for his subconscious contemplations as he deals with worries similar to those of Charlie Brown, thus thematic connection to Snoopy. So it’s also a dream comic. It’s interesting to note that the dreams are dated years before the actual cartoons were drawn, at least according to the notations. Either the dreams really haunted Yost, or he kept a journal. I hope for his sake the latter was the case.
The final association comes in the end where the characters and style shift, and Snoop’s real-life music is used to the same effect that Schroeder’s piano playing would have to get everyone dancing and carefree in the comic — or that Vince Guaraldi’s music conjures in the animated incarnations — which in the end made for a surprisingly satisfying end in a moment of triumph over early adolescent stress.
It’s a small package, but it really worked for me. So I guess I’m going to have to hunt down a copy of Old Man Winter now.