As the Peanuts' 65th Anniversary year winds down, Peanuts-related news seems to be ramping up. The Peanuts Movie hits theaters this weekend, and every preview and trailer manages to look better than the last; Charles Schulz's birthday is coming up on November 26th; the United States Postal Service unveiled a new Forever stamp; there's a new tribute book out on the stands, which we reviewed yesterday; and Charlie Brown and the gang even appeared in the seventh-inning stretch of Game 2 of the World Series.
When it comes to Peanuts news, though, Fantagraphics is taking the crown. The curators of the complete Peanuts library have three new hardcover releases coming up just in time for the holidays: Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, the full-color Peanuts Every Sunday: 1961-1965, and The Complete Peanuts 1997-1998, and all three are worthy of addition to your collections.
On October 2nd, 1950, Charles Schulz's Peanuts debuted in nine newspapers for United Features Syndicate. Fifty years later, it concluded with just shy of eighteen thousand strips published in thousands of papers, with the final installment appearing one day after Schulz passed away.
Between those two loci, Peanuts begat a billion-dollar media empire, the modern American comic strip, and a legacy of progressiveness, honesty, and inclusion that endures today. If Peanuts isn't definitively the greatest comic strip of all time, it's probably the most influential, and certainly the most successful, forever altering the dominant styles and subject matter of the funny pages.
Charles Schulz was a master humorist whose enormous Peanuts library will surely be remembered as one of the great works of the 20th century, and while he will never be replaced, I'm glad to see his work live on with new entry points for modern audiences that may help lead them back to his work.
One of those entry points is the Peanuts movie coming out in November. Another, aptly timed ahead of the movie's release, is next week's original graphic novel Peanuts: Where Beagles Dare, from Jason Cooper and Vicki Scott, published by Kaboom. It's a full-length Snoopy adventure that sees the hound in his World War I Flying Ace mode --- and therefore emboldened and no doubt headed for trouble. Check out an extended ten-page preview.
In the house of Carmine Infantino, the notable Silver Age comics artist and DC Comics editor, there resides a very special and unique piece of original art: a drawing of Batmanby Peanuts creator Charles Schulz where the Dark Knight lies supine on Snoopy's doghouse...
Aside from maybe Ralphie in "A Christmas Story," poor old Charlie Brown is just about the saddest little boy in fiction. Not that he's particularly depressed or bestowed with a bad life -- he's just a bit of a dud, one of those kids from elementary school that you paid little mind to because he was, well, boring...
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