The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956by Charles M. Schulz, Matt Groening
The third volume in our acclaimed series takes us into the mid-1950s as Linus learns to talk, Snoopy begins to explore his eccentricities (including his hilarious first series of impressions), Lucy's unrequited crush on Schroeder takes final shape, and Charlie Brown becomes...well, even more Charlie Brown-ish! Over half of the strips in this volume have never been printed since their original appearance in newspapers a half-century ago! Even the most dedicated Peanuts collector/fan is sure to find many new treasures. The Complete Peanuts will run 25 volumes, collecting two years chronologically at a rate of two a year for twelve years. Each volume is designed by the award-winning cartoonist Seth (It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken) and features impeccable production values; every single strip from Charles M. Schulz's 50-year American classic is reproduced better than ever before. This volume includes an introduction by Matt Groening (The Simpsons) as well as the popular Complete Peanuts index, a hit with librarians and collectors alike, and an epilogue by series editor Gary Groth.
- Canongate Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.77(w) x 8.66(h) x 1.26(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).
Schulz grew up in St. Paul. By all accounts, he led an unremarkable, albeit sheltered, childhood. He was an only child, close to both parents, his eventual career path nurtured by his father, who bought four Sunday papers every weekjust for the comics.
An outstanding student, he skipped two grades early on, but began to flounder in high schoolperhaps not so coincidentally at the same time kids are going through their cruelest, most status-conscious period of socialization. The pain, bitterness, insecurity, and failures chronicled in Peanuts appear to have originated from this period of Schulz's life.
Although Schulz enjoyed sports, he also found refuge in solitary activities: reading, drawing, and watching movies. He bought comic books and Big Little Books, pored over the newspaper strips, and copied his favoritesBuck Rogers, the Walt Disney characters, Popeye, Tim Tyler's Luck. He quickly became a connoisseur; his heroes were Milton Caniff, Roy Crane, Hal Foster, and Alex Raymond.
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.)
After World War II had ended and Schulz was discharged from the army, he started submitting gag cartoons to the various magazines of the time; his first breakthrough, however, came when an editor at Timeless Topix hired him to letter adventure comics. Soon after that, he was hired by his alma mater, Art Instruction, to correct student lessons returned by mail.
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 Peanutsand 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.
Prior to Peanuts, the province of the comics page had been that of gags, social and political observation, domestic comedy, soap opera, and various adventure genres. Although Peanuts changed, or evolved, during the 50 years Schulz wrote and drew it, it remained, as it began, an anomaly on the comics pagea comic strip about the interior crises of the cartoonist himself. After a painful divorce in 1973 from which he had not yet recovered, Schulz told a reporter, "Strangely, I've drawn better cartoons in the last six monthsor as good as I've ever drawn. I don't know how the human mind works." Surely, it was this kind of humility in the face of profoundly irreducible human question that makes Peanuts as universally moving as it is.
Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Dayand the day before his last strip was publishedhaving 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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