Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Good Ol Charlie Brown, How I Hate Him!

Complete Peanuts 1950 -1952 (v. 1)Charles M Schulz 

(Amazon, Flipkart, Powells, my review on Amazon)
A Collector's Delight; A Joy To Read
5 stars
This is a notable book I read and reviewed. Click to see more such books.
This is the first book in a very ambitious project - to publish every single strip and Sunday "Peanuts" cartoon. As a first volume in the series, I believe it succeeds, completely. I would want this format to be followed for more anthologies - it sets a benchmark, an aspirational level of excellence.

Apart from the cartoons, which I will talk about in a minute, it has got several extras, like an Introduction by Garrison Keillor at the beginning of the book, an essay by David Michaelis, a complete interview with George Schulz, and get this - an index of characters and topics! For example, if you want to look up strips that contain "insults to size, shape and appearance of head" of Charlie Brown, you will find that in the Index, and the strips are on pages 34, 48, 54, 87, 104, 141, 259. Yes - as close to a searchable book as you can get in paper form. This book is not yet available as a Kindle format e-book, and I don't know if it will be made available as one, but one can hope.

An advantage of having all cartoon strips, in chronological order, without skipping over any strip, in one place - well, in this case over several books to be published as a complete anthology, is that you can follow the development of the characters, the plots, as well as the artistic arc that each character undergoes in terms of the drawing itself of the characters, as well as the emotional and psychological development one sees in the characters. Therefore, Snoopy makes his appearance in the third strip itself, but he is different, quite different, from the Snoopy that you will see from strips just a few years later. He does not talk, for instance, in the beginning. His fighter pilot avatar is also sometime in the future.

As far as the book itself is concerned, it's got a beautiful dust jacket. The paper is high quality, perhaps archival quality - thick and with a slight glossy feel to it. The printing is crisp and high quality. No pixellation or low-quality image transfers either. The layout is landscape, and on each page you get three single strips, while the Sunday strip takes up an entire page. You have the year and month printed on facing pages, and if you peer closely, on each strip, in one of the boxes, you can also see the month and date printed.

One word of advice - read them in chronological order to maximize your enjoyment of these cartoon strip.

The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952
by Charles M. Schulz

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