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Library Journal★ 06/01/2014
By collecting the world's most popular comic strip in its entirety, Fantagraphics' Complete Peanuts run (begun in 2004) performs a tremendous service to multiple generations of fans. But that series less-than-ideally reprints the Sunday installments in black and white. Now Fantagraphics redresses that issue with this lavishly oversized (13" × 9.5") hardcover, the first of ten planned volumes, presenting the earliest Peanuts Sunday strips in full color. Rather than reproducing the strips from old newspapers (which might be faded or printed off register), the publisher has recolored the line art to match the originals and the results are glorious. The first strips here display Schulz's supercute early style, but Peanuts matured quickly in both artwork and emotional tone. Featured are examples of many famous Peanuts mainstays, including the very first instance of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. The rather dour design of the Complete Peanuts books feels like an attempt to align the strip with the alt-comics crowd, but the color presentation here is more likely to appeal to the millions of others who identify with these most relatable of characters and find them funny. VERDICT A true delight, essential for every collection.—S.R.