The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952

Charles M. Schultz, Introduction by Garrison Keillor

Fantagraphics Books classy first volume (of a projeced 25) of The Complete Peanuts gives ample evidence that the company is worthy of the immense task. Introduced in October 1950, Charlie Brown and his little circle of friends instantly displayed the playful mixture of pessimism and optimism that sustained the strip’s appeal for 50 years. Schulz’s gentle humor and minimalist draftsmanship deliver few laugh-out-loud moments or emotional epiphanies, but instead illustrate moments to induce many a sympathetic grin. In a back-of-the-book interview Schulz makes it clear he had no underlying agenda or philosophy to expound through the characters he created, and he hated the title Peanuts, which was assigned by an early editor and had “no dignity.” I’m sure Schulz would be pleased that the dignity he intended for the strip is fully recognized with this premiere edition.