“The Peanuts” – I think pretty much everything has already been said about this amazing series. The influence it had on comics and cartoonists, it’s place it pop culture, the evolution of comics itself and the personal ties to Schulz’s life. We know the drill. But are the strips worth reading?
That’s a question you need to answer for yourself, but if you are more interested in daily funnies than superhero comics, I think you need to be somewhat familiar with “The Peanuts”. This series is a huge chunk of comic history and, as a plus, very funny. It also ran for 50 years, so you see how characters evolve and how the topics of the comic mirror the once-recent themes, or reflect on changed ideas of childhood and family life. So far for the praise.
On the other hand I will go so far and say that I don’t care for Snoopy. Yeah, it’s pretty much blasphemy to talk this way about the probably most beloved icon of the whole comic, but the strips based on Snoopy are usually the weakest and the ones I’d skip. Why? In the beginning of the strip Snoopy was a dog, who interacted with the children like a dog would do (more or less) and later started to develop more and more personality. Somewhere on the way (mid 1960 I think) he turned “whacky”, with a wide array of costumes and personas, lost his “dog-ness” and acted more like the other kids. While the other characters had their own personalities, quirks and fears, Snoopy seemed mostly the crazy, annoying comic-relief. And now I probably lost all respect as a cartoonist in your eyes.
Should you buy the books?
“The Complete Peanuts Collection” is an amazing series of books and you’ll get (as soon as all the books have been released) 50 years’ worth of “Peanuts”. If you’re not a collector, or want to check out a few strips first, you’ll have no problem finding other “Peanuts” books in the stores.
Even if you’re not that interested in dailies, give them a try anyways. It’s part of our culture, you know?
While this book isn’t on my shelf o’comics, it’s linked to it, so let’s have a quick mention. If you’re interested in “Peanuts” and Schulz’s life itself, I suggest you check out this biography. It gives you great insight to the history of the artist, how it influenced his work and more.
A portrait of one of the great artists of the last century.