Snoopy and Charlie Brown are the faces of the Peanuts franchise, but it actually has quite an extensive supporting cast. Probably not one big enough to rival The Simpsons, but if you watched the recent Peanuts Movie (or Charlie Brown and Snoopy Movie as it was known in Australia) you would have recognised a lot of familiar faces from the comic strip.
And one of those faces was the subject of today’s review – Olaf, Snoopy’s decidedly chunkier brother. Yep, Snoopy has a brother. Several, in fact, though Olaf is one of the few who’s made prominent appearances in the strip.
Olaf debuted back in 1989 as the disappointed winner of the “Ugly Dog” contest, and went on to make multiple appearances in both the strip and the animated specials over the following years. In spite of his supposedly ugly appearance, he’s actually quite endearingly cute – though he could probably do with losing a few kilos. You can read the whole thing starting from here. In typical Peanuts fashion, it’s quite funny, but is also very depressing in parts – particularly when we see Olaf’s reactions to his “win”.
I’m not really clear why he was the first character outside of the main range to be included. I would have thought one of the human characters, like Peppermint Patty, would have been a more obvious inclusion. Olaf does appear in the recent film, but it’s very brief – and the more obvious choice for one of Snoopy’s brothers would have been Spike, who’s much more prominent in the comics. I’m pleased with their choice, but it is an unusual one.
In terms of execution, Olaf looks like a fat Snoopy, wearing a brown hunting cap and with a pink tongue slightly protruding from his mouth. His eyes are also painted half-closed, reinforcing the overall hefty feel. It’s a simple design, but it works. Like his brother, Olaf is frequently drawn in a position that would be ¾ profile in real life – you can’t replicate that exactly in plastic, but I think it’s just slightly truer to the character than Snoopy ended up being. Well done, Funko!
Paint is cleanly executed, but check yours in person before buying. I've seen some with fuzz around the nose and eyes -- and the hat is actually cast in white, then painted brown, so making sure the hat is properly covered is quite important.
Olaf was a Target exclusive in the US, so I wasn’t sure if he’d actually make it over here – he was reselling for silly money not long after his release last year. But he’s now made his way to Australia as a regular release via Popcultcha. I’ve also seen him in Kinokuniya in Sydney, though not anywhere else.
For Peanuts fans, this is a must-have POP. Olaf hasn’t had a lot of merch over the years, and it’s always good to see more. If this one sells well, hopefully we’ll also eventually get Spike! More casual fans can probably give him a miss – but he is pretty endearing in person.