December 05, 2005

The Complete Peanuts 1955 to 1956,
The Complete Peanuts 1957 to 1958, by Charles M. Schulz

These are the third and fourth volumes of The Complete Peanuts, and they are surely a treat.

I had a pretty sizeable collection of Peanuts paperbacks once upon a time, one or two which were bought just for me (the one I remember in particular was a green book with an angry kite chasing Charlie Brown on the cover--I don't remember the title) and a whole bunch I inherited from my siblings. As near as I can tell the set spanned the period from maybe 1952 or 1953 until probably 1960 or so. Friends of the family had a book or two that covered the earliest strips.

Thus, I was on familiar ground in these two books, and was delighted to renew my acquaintance with many an old favorite.

One of my joys in reading old comic strips is watching the strip and the characters as they develop. At the beginning of this pair of books, the classic cast is pretty well complete: Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Pigpen, Shermie, and Violet are all here, all recognizeably themselves, all drawn just as you'd expect them to be drawn. Sally hasn't been born yet.

But Snoopy--these are the books where Snoopy really begins to come together. In these books, Snoopy first dances, first tries to sleep on top of his dog house (with mixed results), first kisses Lucy on the nose, first begins to exercise his imagination. At the end of 1958, he's still not drawn quite like the iconic Snoopy of today, but he's getting closer.

I can't wait for the next volume.

Posted by Will Duquette at December 5, 2005 07:55 PM