Fantagraphics' bestselling archival series collecting the most beloved comic strip of all time—The Complete Peanuts, our landmark hardcover series, offers a unique chance to see a master of the art form refine his skills and solidify his universe, day by day, week by week, month by month. Each volume includes two years of daily strips along with featured introductions, our popular Peanuts index, essays, in-depth interviews and more, all wrapped in a gorgeous design by award-winning cartoonist Seth.
Peanuts definitively enters its golden age. Linus becomes more eloquent, and more neurotic; Charlie Brown cascades further down the hill to loserdom; but the rising star is master mimic and blanket thief Snoopy.As the 1950s close down, Peanuts definitively enters its golden age. Linus, who had just learned to speak in the previous volume, becomes downright eloquent and even begins to fend off Lucy's bullying; even so, his security neurosis becomes more pronounced, including a harrowing two-week "Lost Weekend" sequence of blanketlessness. Charlie Brown cascades further down the hill to loserdom, with spectacularly lost kites, humiliating baseball losses (including one where he becomes "the Goat" and is driven from the field in a chorus of BAAAAHs); at least his newly acquired "pencil pal" affords him some comfort. Pig-Pen, Shermy, Violet, and Patty are also around, as is an increasingly Beethoven-fixated Schroeder. But the rising star is undoubtedly Snoopy. He's at the center of the most graphically dynamic and action-packed episodes (the ones in which he attempts to grab Linus's blanket at a dead run). He even tentatively tries to sleep on the crest of his doghouse roof once or twice, with mixed results. And his imitations continue apace, including penguins, anteaters, sea monsters, vultures and (much to her chagrin) Lucy. No wonder the beagle is the cover star of this volume. 730 b/w comic strips
In the fourth volume in Fantagraphics Books' , Snoopy continues to develop as a character, and the worm--Linus--turns against his fussbudget sister, Lucy. Sure, she's still a fierce intimidator of her little brother and Charlie Brown, but he's learned to strike back with a deft pair of pliers, a huge sand castle or snow dinosaur, or merely the will to walk up and change the channel. Lucy also continues her pursuit of the oblivious musician, Schroeder (contrary to the advice of Dear Agnes). Snoopy continues his impersonations (vulture, penguin, etc.), plays baseball and football, angsts over being called "fuzzy-face or "dime a dozen," and dances gleefully on Schroeder's piano. Charlie Brown, of course, has very little glee, especially when he has to manage a dysfunctional baseball team that only wins if he's sick or when the championship is riding on his catching a simple pop fly. But at least he has his pencil pal. Charles M. Schulz by this time was comfortably in his routine of multi-day stories, and there's a bit of foreshadowing when Schroeder, wildly inventing names of imaginary pianists, comes up with "Joseph Schlabotnik," which would later become the name of CB's baseball hero. The volume has an introduction by author Jonathan Franzen and a Sunday strip from May 3, 1953, which was discovered after the 1953-54 volume was printed. --David Horiuchi
Starred Review. In this fourth volume of Fantagraphics' wildly successful chronological reprinting of Peanuts, the comic strip begins to slide into its most popular form. In these pages, Snoopy is becoming most Snoopy-like, with a wondrously funny vulture sequence; Charlie Brown is hapless and often hopeless while his war with Lucy moves into high gear, and of course Pig-Pen, Patty, and Schroeder are all kicking around. Schulz evolved his characters from week to week, letting their idiosyncratic musings, pratfalls and jokes accumulate. It's possible to flip back a few dozen pages and understand Charlie Brown's emotional evolution. The humanity of both the characters and their creator is the subject of Jonathan Franzen's insightful introduction—certainly the best yet published in the series. Deftly putting to rest the rather trendy theory that Schulz's inner torment gave vent to the psychological dramas in Peanuts, Franzen convincingly makes the case that Schulz was able to accomplish what he did because of a surfeit of love and family. After one has read these pages, full of well-rounded, humane characters, Franzen's theory seems just about right: to create characters so essential and so loveable, Schulz could only have emerged from just such a milieu. (Oct.)
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The best-known, most-beloved "kid strip" is, of course, Peanuts, which graced newspaper comics sections for 50 years until artist Charles Schulz's death in 2000. This volume in Fantagraphics' series reprinting the strip's entire run covers 1957 and 1958, by which time its essentials were well established. The characters are what they would continue to be for four more decades: Lucy, bossy and selfish; Linus, quiet and grave; Snoopy, humbly whimsical; and, most important, Charlie Brown, utterly Charlie Brownish. Take that back a bit about Snoopy, who, as novelist Jonathan Franzen points out in the introduction, here begins his transition from recognizably canine ball fetcher and people licker to a near anthropomorph that impersonates other species and plays the violin atop Schroeder's piano ("Little by little," Charlie Brown observes, "that dog seems to be losing his mind"). Schulz's drawing style here is solider than it would be in later years, when the strip grew visually sparer yet even more expressive. Even these early strips, though, put to shame anything in the funny pages today.
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" The Complete Peanuts confronts us afresh with what a brilliant, truly modern and totally weird idea it was to create a comic strip about a chronically depressed child."
"As essential as pop texts get."
― The Onion
"Consider replacing those tattered old Peanuts paperbacks with this definitive series."
"What more can I say about these wonderful collections? I’ve enjoyed each one immensely so far; they make me laugh and grin and even smirk a little from time to time... Top notch book. You can’t have a much better time than reading these collections. Highly recommended."
― Todd Klein, comic book letterer, designer, and writer
Charles M. Schulz was born November 25, 1922, in Minneapolis. His destiny was foreshadowed when an uncle gave him, at the age of two days, the nickname Sparky (after the racehorse Spark Plug in the newspaper strip Barney Google). His ambition from a young age was to be a cartoonist and his first success was selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post between 1948 and 1950. He also sold a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press. After writing and drawing the feature for two years, Schulz asked for a better location in the paper or for daily exposure, as well as a raise. When he was turned down on all three counts, he quit.
He started submitting strips to the newspaper syndicates and in the spring of 1950, United Feature Syndicate expressed interest in Li'l Folks. They bought the strip, renaming it Peanuts, a title Schulz always loathed. The first Peanuts daily appeared October 2, 1950; the first Sunday, January 6, 1952. Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Day-and the day before his last strip was published, having completed 17,897 daily and Sunday strips, each and every one fully written, drawn, and lettered entirely by his own hand ― an unmatched achievement in comics.