The Complete Peanuts 1953-1954

Overview

The second volume in the most eagerly-anticipated publishing project in the history of the American comic strip: the complete reprinting of Charles M. Schulz's 50-year American classic, Peanuts.

Our second volume begins with Peanuts' third full year and a cast of eight: Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty, Violet, Schroeder, Lucy, the recently born Linus, and Snoopy. By the end of 1954, this will have expanded to nine. Linus still doesn't speak (except, on a few occasions, to himself, ...

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2004 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 344 p. Contains: Illustrations. Complete Peanuts. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

The second volume in the most eagerly-anticipated publishing project in the history of the American comic strip: the complete reprinting of Charles M. Schulz's 50-year American classic, Peanuts.

Our second volume begins with Peanuts' third full year and a cast of eight: Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty, Violet, Schroeder, Lucy, the recently born Linus, and Snoopy. By the end of 1954, this will have expanded to nine. Linus still doesn't speak (except, on a few occasions, to himself, à la Snoopy), but Schulz begins laying the foundation for his emergence as the most complex and arguably most endearing character in the strip: garrulous and inquisitive, yet gentle and tolerant. And he evens acquires his "security blanket" in this volume!

Meanwhile, Lucy, an infant just a year ago, has forcefully elbowed herself to the front of the cast, proudly wearing her banner as a troublemaker or, in Schulz's memorable phrase, "fuss-budget." The strong, specific relationships she sets up with each character further contributes to making her central to the strip. (She has earned her cover status on this volume.)

Charlie Brown is clearly in transition. Although his eventual, best-known persona (the lovable, perpetually humiliated round-headed loser) is in evidence in many strips, his brasher, more prankish side as seen in the previous volume (foreshadowing Bill Watterson's future Calvin) shows up, too.

This period's significant new character is Pig-Pen, who would remain one of the main cast members throughout the decade. And then there's Snoopy. To readers unfamiliar with the early days of the strip, Snoopy's appearances here will no doubt come as the biggest surprise. Although Snoopy has started talking/thinking to himself, he does no imitations (except for one brief shark impression), he doesn't sleep atop his doghouse (much less type or fly a Sopwith Camel), and has no fantasy life—in fact, he doesn't even walk upright! But as we know, he is merely biding his time, and his evolution continues its fascinating course within these pages.

This book collects 730 daily and Sunday comic strips, the vast majority of which are not currently available in any in-print Peanuts collection, and over 400 (well over half) of which have never been reprinted since their initial appearance in papers over 50 years ago. The Complete Peanuts is produced in full cooperation with United Media, Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, and Mr. Schulz's widow, Jean Schulz. Each volume in the series presents two years of strips along with supplementary material in a three-tier page format that accommodates three dailies or one Sunday strip per page. Award-winning graphic novelist Seth is designing the series so that each individual book is sharply recognizable and yet clearly part of a consistent series. Using archival-quality syndicate proofs for virtually every strip in its history, the series boasts the best-looking, crispest reproduction for a classic comic strip ever achieved. The volume's introduction is by revered news journalist Walter Cronkite.

Peanuts is the most successful comic strip in the history of the medium as well as one of the most acclaimed strips ever published. Charles Schulz's characters have become American icons. A Charlie Brown Christmas is as much an annual holiday ritual for families as It's A Wonderful Life. A United Media poll in 2002 found Peanuts to be one of the most recognizable cartoon properties in the world, recognized by 94 percent of the total US consumer market and a close second only to Mickey Mouse (96 percent), and higher than other familiar cartoon properties like Spider-Man (75 percent) or the Simpsons (87 percent). In TV Guide's "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All-Time" list, Charlie Brown and Snoopy ranked #8.

Charles M. Schulz passed away in January, 2000, on the eve of his farewell comic strip.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This second thick volume in The Complete Peanuts makes for a delicious wallow in a nostalgic world that has a lot more bite than readers may recall. Although some feel that Schulz's later work assumed a certain predictability, his early strips are undeniably crackling. Schulz portrays a children's world that's anything but idyllic, complete with fusspots, tortured artists, exclusive clubs, insecurities and kites that refuse to fly. One strip shows Lucy destroying Charlie Brown's puzzle, kicking Schroeder's piano and stomping on Linus's cookies; the final panel shows her fleeing, pursued, moaning, "I'm frustrated and inhibited and nobody understands me." Another strip depicts the harsh reality of unpopularity; the illustration shows section after section of fence scrawled with graffiti that reads "Linus loves Violet. Shermy loves Patty. Lucy loves Schroeder. Charlie Brown loves Charlie Brown." It's said Schulz's work draws on his own experiences, and this becomes especially clear when Charlie Brown himself decides to draw a comic strip and doesn't get the public response he'd hoped for. (His work is about a man who decides to ride across the country on a lawn mower.) The Peanuts landscape is the familiar neighborhood, with trees, sidewalks, sandboxes, ball fields and remarkably generic interiors. As always, the illustrations are a marvel of simplicity and the insights are haunting. (Oct. 5) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560976141
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Series: Complete Peanuts Series , #2
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

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).

In his senior year in high school, his mother noticed an ad in a local newspaper for a correspondence school, Federal Schools (later called Art Instruction Schools). Schulz passed the talent test, completed the course and began trying, unsuccessfully, to sell gag cartoons to magazines. (His first published drawing was of his dog, Spike, and appeared in a 1937 Ripley's Believe It Or Not! installment.) Between 1948 and 1950, he succeeded in selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post—as well as, to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press, a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks. It was run in the women's section and paid $10 a week. 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. In the spring of 1950, he received a letter from the United Feature Syndicate, announcing their interest in his submission, Li'l Folks. Schulz boarded a train in June for New York City; more interested in doing a strip than a panel, he also brought along the first installments of what would become Peanuts—and that was what sold. (The title, which Schulz loathed to his dying day, was imposed by the syndicate). 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.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2004

    Wonderful Series for Every Home Library

    There is somehting for everyone in the Complete Peanuts series. The charm and warmth of Charlie Brown and friends are sure to entertain all ages. I eagerly await the release of future volumes.

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    Posted February 4, 2010

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    Posted May 7, 2010

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