Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Complete Peanuts, 1965 to 1966 by Charles Schulz

At this point, there's really not a whole lot I can say about Peanuts or this reprint series that either I or far more famous people haven't already said several dozen times. Schulz created a wonderful strip in Peanuts, and, even more than that, he created a whole world for that strip to take place in. His characters were true, his drawing was (at least during this era) clean and crisp, and his writing was incisive and thoughtful.

Sure, no kids in the history of the world ever talked like the Peanuts characters, but that was deliberate. The Peanuts kids were never supposed to be "real" kids -- as if the funny pages, then or now, ever had anything like real kids -- but something like small adults, and something like pieces of one person's psyche personified, and mostly just characters in the stories Schulz wanted to tell.

So many of the strips from Peanut's golden age are gems -- there are dozens just in this book along -- that this series really is a must-have for anyone interested in strip cartoons. Schulz is just that dominant, and that good; every gag-a-day strip after him was either influence by Peanuts or deliberately running away from it.

I'll leave you with two of my favorite strips from this book, both of which show the amazing depth of emotion "Sparky" Schulz could bring out of a few pen lines and some well-chosen words. Click on them to enlarge.

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