5.0 out of 5 stars You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
This is the first in a series of books that will reprint every single "Peanuts" comic strip ever published, and Schulz was off to a great start. Some strips are just funny, some are downright hilarious, but it's an amazing, if somewhat dated, collection. (You might be confused by the word "druggist"; it's the manager of some sort of store.)The cast isn't as big as it will...
Published on Oct. 17 2006 by Some Random Guy
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3.0 out of 5 stars I Guess It'll Have To Do...
My rating, which will anger some, is an average of two things: five stars for Charles Schulz' classic work, and one star for the presentation. "Peanuts" is an American masterpiece, and at long last we have the earliest stuff here, in the dawn of its development, with real graphic beauty, a groundbreaking and highly influential look, and just a hint of the...
Published on May 11 2004 by J. D Suggs
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)When my sister and I were children, our mom would buy us paperback collections of Peanuts. I think we owned every trade paperback available and many of the later Holt, Rhinehart & Winston series. We knew a complete collection of cartoons wasn't in print, and this really bothered us. But now the first edition is here!
I received this set as a gift (from my sister, of course.) It's wonderful. I'd never read most of the first years' panels. They differ from Schulz' later work, and provide the seeds for his future introduction of more famous characters, such as Lucy and Linus. Some panels reflect the period, others reflect ideas Schulz eventually abandoned. Still, even in the first couple years, Schulz manages to entertain us, and develop his craft. And he did it day after day after day for almost fifty years.
It will take about twelve years for Fantagraphics to release the complete series. The first book is not expensive at twenty bucks and I plan on buying the entire set. If you haven't read Peanuts, this is the place to start your collection.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)THIS is the stuff! This was the big bang of modern comics, and the beauty of it is its mix of zen-like simplicity and psychological/ cultural complexity. These are still, even in their raw form, the best versions of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, simultaneously the closest in representation to their imagined yet conceivable real-life counterparts, and the strongest in graphic design. While I love the patented squiggle of later Peanuts (not to mention the invention of Woodstock), there is something so knowing-yet-innocent, something so exceptionally endearing about this era that was inevitably lost as the late 1960s took hold, not to mention the rampant commercialization of the 70s onward. The book itself could not have been more respectfully designed!
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahhh, the good ol' days,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)These early Peanuts strips, crude as they are, remain my favorites. The characters are not yet fully formed, so they are allowed to express a wider range of emotions than they would in later years. Even Charlie Brown can be a bit nasty!
For the record, however, I should note that the initial Sunday strips likely were in color, though they are printed in black-and-white here. Color Sunday comics pages predate Peanuts by a good number of years -- Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, for example, was known for its dramatic, colorful Sunday strips.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Here comes Good Ol' Charlie Brown, yes, sir!",
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)This collection features the original Peanuts comics in its first 2 and 1/2 years. Not even the 1st Peanuts book includes all of the cartoons (I have the book and I don't remember it including the 1st cartoon where Shermy introduces Charlie Brown, sarcastically calling him "Good ol' Charlie Brown"). The 1st 5 characters included Charlie Brown (who started out naive and friendly), Patty (not Peppermint, she was just a cute girl with bobbed hair and a plaid dress and matching hairbow), Shermy (Charlie Brown's original buddy), Violet (known for her pigtails and mudpies) and Snoopy (who walked on all fours whose gags were more cute, not yet ingenious). The next year (1951) would mark the debut of Schroeder, who started out as a baby and later became a pint-sized musical genius with a passion for Beethoven (you can see the cartoon where Charlie Brown plants the seeds inside the future musical maestro's head). Violet and Patty would start out as friends to both Charlie Brown and Shermy. Also, Charlie Brown 1st models his trademarked shirt with the jagged stripe this year. 1952 marks the beginning of the Sunday strip (I believe it's the one they're all playing tag; the trademarked block letters had yet to be introduced). And of course, we see the debut of the Van Pelt family. First introduced is Lucy, a cute little girl (seriously) with saucerlike eyes (she'd later sport a fussbudget attitude)and later, her baby brother, Linus (at 1st, he'd fall down a lot in the strip and had yet to be known for his blanket and his philosophy on life). Classic cartoons include the debut (of course), Charlie Brown getting offended by a rumour of a crush on Patty, Violet reprimanding Snoopy for sitting in the birdbath, the gang playing tag, Lucy mistaking Charlie Brown's record collection for licorice candy and the 1st instance of Charlie Brown getting the football yanked away (1st from Violet, but Lucy would later take on the role eversince). If you're a collector of Peanuts, you'll want this collection!
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribute to one of the great storytellers,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)At last!I have been waiting for nearly thirty years for a publication of complete Peanuts. The early comics are difficult, and expensive, to come by.
They lack the streamline of the later strips, and are quite amateurish some times. He was still finding his way. But the genius so apparent in the later, especially the seventies strips, can already be seen.
I will read, and rearead, this one. I will plague my wife with it, forcing her to read the pearls.
Peanuts is one of the few cartoons that have really changed over the years, so this will be welcomed by the serious Peanuts fan and student alike.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! Excellent Job!,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)After years of only being able to find Peanuts strips in seemingly random and incomplete anthologies, "The Complete Peanuts" project is finally giving the work of Charles Schulz the respect it deserves.
By publishing all the Peanuts strips in their entirety and in chronological order, this Fantagraphics project is for the first time treating the Peanuts comics not as a mere collection of individual strips but as a unified whole: as a complete work in itself.
Despite having read many other Peanuts collections, a vast majority of the strips in "1950-1952" were new to me. It's fascinating to see the beginnings of a strip that would become so popular and influential. The look of the characters is much different from their later incarnations, but the gentle wit and philosophical insight that characterized the entire Peanuts series are definitely in evidence.
The extra features such as the index and Charles Schulz profile and interview were pleasant surprises and a nice touch. It is clear that for the people who put this together it was a labor of love. If future volumes are of this quality, the series will be a treasure. I'm excitedly awaiting the next volume, covering 1953-1954.
Two minor criticisms: I must concur with an earlier reviewer who expressed concerns about the long-term durability of the binding... but I guess only time will tell how well it'll hold up. Also, as has been pointed out, the Sunday comics are in black and white. I don't know if they were originally printed in color at this early date, but if so, reproducing them in color in this volume would have been a nice touch and I certainly would have been willing to pay extra for this. That having been said, however, these issues do not seriously detract from the overall enjoyment of this well-done first volume. I do not hesitate in giving The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 a solid 5-star rating.
5.0 out of 5 stars HOW I HATE HIM!!!!,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)For those of us who experienced Peanuts in its heyday (the 1970s and 1980s) it's almost inconcievable that at one time Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and "the Peanuts Gang" were considered edgy and cutting edge; that intellectuals applauded the freshness and depth of the strip. If you're shocked at all by this notion, then David Michaelis' essay "The Life and Times of Charles M. Schulz" included in this book will be eye-popping, neuron-bending reading. Apart from arguing that Peanuts was an intellectual revelation for the comics, the piece also exposes Schulz as someone who was deeply uncomfortable with his fame, who felt "abnormal" in his role as master cartoonist, and felt that he had a responsibility towards his fan base. You will not think of Peanuts in the same light at all when you finish reading it.
The book overall is amazing. Every single Peanuts cartoon printed between October 1950 (when the strip debuted) and December 31st, 1952 is included. This also includes Sunday strips, which don't begin until January 1952 (they're not in color, but I'm not sure if they were originally printed in color). There's also a nice introduction by Garrison Keillor (another famous Minnesotan), and a rather lengthy and indepth interview with Schulz from 1987. Lastly, there's an index in which readers can find out which pages include strips that mention "crying" or "filibuster" or which pages include strips that Snoopy appear in, or Linus. If you're desperate to find a Peanuts strip from 1950 to 1952 in which Santa Claus in mentioned, this index will save your life. Otherwise, it's a curious addendum to a great collection of strips.
The strips themselves are of course the reason to buy the book in the first place, and they reveal quite a bit. Peanuts was edgy in the early days, sometimes even surreal. The kids were downright cruel and nasty to one another; even Charlie Brown had an attitude. Some of them seem to show strange glimpses of human nature at work. The fact that Schulz used kids that weren't really "kids" is how he gets away with it all. Had the strip been drawn as a group of adults it wouldn't have made it out of the inkwell. It also wouldn't have worked if the kids were really "kids" - what children use words such as "trite"; what toddlers do you know that admire Beethoven? But of course they are kids in many ways as well, but they expose the bizareness of being in the world and having to endure strange logic, motives, and emotions. It actually can be complex stuff. This side of the strip presents itself more when read in large chunks. It can also be violently slapstick (or just plain violent), absurd, and poignant all at once. There are good reasons that Peanuts is considered one of the best strips of all time.
From the very first strip, very familiar to fans, in October 1950 the action starts: "Good 'Ol Charlie Brown, yes, sir... Good 'Ol Charlie Brown... How I hate him!" This sets the stage for what's to come in a big way. Children (or the children/adult hybrids) seem to take immense pleasure in back-stabbing, upsetting, being unfairly judgmental, hitting, and yelling at one another. Some of the only real warm fuzzies are the Christmas strips. Of course many of the strips are just gag strips, but that's not all there is. There is depth if one looks for it.
In this book many characters that will rule comics (and sometimes the mainstream) are introduced: of course Charlie Brown (who morphs throughout the collection), Snoopy (he won't look familiar, and he doesn't think/talk as much as he later would; he's more of a dog comic relief here), Violet (who appears a lot early on - usually making mud pies - but she appeared less frequently as the strip's run went on), Patty (not Peppermint Patty), Shermy (I think he disappeared in later years, along with Patty), Schroeder (who goes from a baby to his final Peanuts form, loving Beethoven all the way), Lucy as a baby, and Linus as a baby. There are no adults anywhere (though apparently in the next volume there will be - what Schulz later called his "failed experiment"). There is also the first appearance of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown - which later became a common theme of the strip.
Judging by its beginnings, it's not hard to see how Peanuts became a cultural phenomenon. Over the years the edge may have worn off a bit (as other comic strips began to imitate it), and such constructions as Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America and the rampant commercialism the strip went through may turn some stomachs (the "gang" sold junk food and insurance, among other things), this strip still has something. This collection will restore Peanuts to its rightful place as one of the best, if not the best, strip ever produced. Fantagraphics has already accomplished great things with its Krazy Kat reprints, and the complete Peanuts may be in a position to outdo even that. Keep them coming!
5.0 out of 5 stars Schulz was a genius right from the start!!,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)Finally, after 52 years, the Peanuts strips are being reprinted in order WITH NONE OF THEM MISSING!!! Up to the point of this publication, Peanuts fans had to endure books that were marked "with selected cartoons" which meant STRIPS WERE MISSING!!! Even if you have every paperback ever printed, you are still missing hundreds of strips. Now you can have them all, in all their glory!!
The Complete Peanuts Collection is magnificient. Each strip is crisp and clear (no blur like the paperbacks) printed on high quality paper bound perfectly with a nice dust jacket. Fans have reached nirvana, especially with the 1950-1952 strips, many of which were never printed before.
Even the early strips, where the characters are basically toddlers, Schulz shows his genius. Charlie Brown was more of a wise-guy in the early strips. Snoopy was developing as a thinking animal (in one strip he reads Charlie's diary). Lucy was developing as a pest (she waits until her father has relaxed into his easy chair before shouting for a glass of water). Linus is still an infant here. Schroeder learns to love music (he is also very young here). The remaining cast: Violet, Shermy and Patty would eventually be phased out, mainly because they had no distinct personality.
The book is well worth the price. Hopefully, new fans will embrace Schulz's genius with a pen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book!,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)First, the bad - the Sunday strips aren't in colour (although Schluz was never a fan of the colouring anyway) and the text pieces have some obvious typos.
Now, the good - everything else.
The book is beautifully designed by cartoonist Seth. There are a few text pieces, including a 1980s interview with Charles Schulz - where he's very frank on some topics.
And then, there's Schluz's cartoon strips. No, there's no security blanket for Linus, Lucy has yet to develop into her crabby self (she starts as a googly-eyed baby), Snoopy doesn't fight the Red Baron and characters like Peppermint Patty are decades off.
Instead, we're treated to the early Schulz. Schroeder, Lucy and Linus premier as mere infants. Initially, it's Charlie Brown who has the Beethoven fixation. And Schluz's artistic style is still evolving. But there's a rough charm to these strips - flashes of greatness. And it's great fun to see where Charlie Brown and the gang got their start.
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunday Color?,
This review is from: The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 (Hardcover)I wonder, did they even have color in the early '50s? If not, then the book would be more faithful to the "original" publication, would it not?
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The Complete Peanuts Volume 1: 1950-1952 by Charles M. Schulz (Hardcover - May 18 2004)
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