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Book Review: The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952

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I had a big book buying spree near the end of last year. I think the UPS guy was delivering new cartoon books pretty constantly for a while there.

Of course it takes time to get to all of them, and one I’d neglected far too long was The Complete Peanuts (1950-1952).

What a great book! OK, the jokes are kind of dated, and it’s a far cry from what most would recognize as Peanuts, but the germs of the strip are there and it’s a fascinating and soothing read.

Some high points:

  • Page 81: In what I can tell is the first Charlie Brown baseball reference, our favorite blockhead is the catcher instead of the pitcher/manager.
  • Page 117: The first football kicking incident is actually perpetrated by Violet. (Lucy picks it up on page 268.)
  • Page 140: Schulz’ iconic signature is rendered in a pseudo-German script following a music gag.
  • Page 248: Schroeder breaks the fourth wall, complaining that he should “put in for a transfer to a new comic strip.”

I must say, sometimes I buy books like this because I think I should. You know, I am a cartoonist after all. Shouldn’t I have all the Complete Peanuts on my shelf? But once I dug into it, I was surprised at how much I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Most modern cartoonists will credit Schulz as an influence as a matter of course, but it was fun to remind myself exactly what Schulz accomplished and what it meant to me.

I can’t wait to dig into the next volume!

Mark Anderson is a professional cartoonist whose family cartoons and business cartoons appear in publications nationwide.
Edited: PC

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