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The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) (The Complete Peanuts)

Charles M. Schulz

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9781560975892: The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1)  (The Complete Peanuts)

The first volume in the bestselling archival series collecting the most beloved comic strip ever. Many of these formative strips have never been collected or reprinted anywhere else. Introduction by Garrison Keillor.

This first volume, covering the first two and a quarter years of the strip, will be of particular fascination to Peanuts aficionados worldwide: Although there have been literally hundreds of Peanuts books published, many of the strips from the series' first two or three years have never been collected before—in large part because they showed a young Schulz working out the kinks in his new strip and include some characterizations and designs that are quite different from the cast we're all familiar with. (Among other things, three major cast members—Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus—initially show up as infants and only "grow" into their final "mature" selves as the months go by. Even Snoopy debuts as a puppy!) Thus The Complete Peanuts offers a unique chance to see a master of the art form refine his skills and solidify his universe, day by day, week by week, month by month.

This volume is rounded out with Garrison Keillor's introduction, a biographical essay by David Michaelis ( Schulz and Peanuts) and an in-depth interview with Schulz conducted in 1987 by Gary Groth and Rick Marschall, all wrapped in a gorgeous design by award-winning cartoonist Seth. Black-and-white comic strips throughout

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Good grief! The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 launches the most ambitious and most important project in the comics and cartooning genre: over a period of 12 years, Fantagraphics Books will release every daily and Sunday strip of Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts," the best-known and best-loved series in the world. Most everyone with an interest in its history has seen the very first strip ("Good ol' Charlie Brown... How I hate him!"), but this first volume follows it up with 287 pages (three daily strips or one Sunday per page) of vintage material in chronological order. "Peanuts" was unique at the time for portraying kids who seemed like real kids, but they also had a wisdom beyond their years, embodied especially by the lovable loser, Charlie Brown, who even in these early years has lost 4000 checker games in a row. We see him don his familiar jagged-stripe shirt for the first time (December 1950) and, at the age of 4, at his peak as a babe magnet. Shermy is the other significant boy, and the girls in their lives are Patty (not to be confused with Peppermint Patty) and Violet. Schroeder is an infant who has learned to sit up in order to play Beethoven on his toy piano. Snoopy is an anthropomorphic dog who plays baseball (April 1952) and has his own thoughts (October 1952). In March 1952 we meet a bug-eyed Lucy, who by November has been designated "Miss Fuss-Budget of 1952" and is pulling the football away from Charlie Brown (Violet had done it a year earlier). Her baby brother Linus arrives in July 1952. The book itself is beautifully packaged, the strips printed large and clear on high-quality paper and accompanied by an in-depth essay by David Michaelis, a 1987 interview with Schulz, an introduction by Garrison Keillor, and even an index of characters and subjects. It's so well-done that any reader will be impatient for the rest of the series, but in the meantime this is a book to savor. --David Horiuchi

About the Author:

Charles M. Schulz was born November 25, 1922 in Minneapolis. His destiny was foreshadowed when an uncle gave him, at the age of two days, the nickname Sparky (after the racehorse Spark Plug in the newspaper strip Barney Google). 

In his senior year in high school, his mother noticed an ad in a local newspaper for a correspondence school, Federal Schools (later called Art Instruction Schools). Schulz passed the talent test, completed the course and began trying, unsuccessfully, to sell gag cartoons to magazines. (His first published drawing was of his dog, Spike, and appeared in a 1937 Ripley's Believe It Or Not! installment.) Between 1948 and 1950, he succeeded in selling 17 cartoons to the Saturday Evening Post—as well as, to the local St. Paul Pioneer Press, a weekly comic feature called Li'l Folks. It was run in the women's section and paid $10 a week. After writing and drawing the feature for two years, Schulz asked for a better location in the paper or for daily exposure, as well as a raise. When he was turned down on all three counts, he quit.

He started submitting strips to the newspaper syndicates. In the spring of 1950, he received a letter from the United Feature Syndicate, announcing their interest in his submission, Li'l Folks. Schulz boarded a train in June for New York City; more interested in doing a strip than a panel, he also brought along the first installments of what would become Peanuts—and that was what sold. (The title, which Schulz loathed to his dying day, was imposed by the syndicate). The first Peanuts daily appeared October 2, 1950; the first Sunday, January 6, 1952.

Diagnosed with cancer, Schulz retired from Peanuts at the end of 1999. He died on February 13, 2000, the day before Valentine's Day—and the day before his last strip was published—having completed 17,897 daily and Sunday strips, each and every one fully written, drawn, and lettered entirely by his own hand—an unmatched achievement in comics.

Garrison Keillor has hosted the comedy/variety radio show A Prairie Home Companion since 1974. His many books include Lake Wobegon Days, Leaving Home, Happy to Be Here, The Book of Guys, Homegrown Democrat, Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Love Me, Wobegon Boy, Pontoon, Liberty, and Pilgrims. Audio CDs and cassettes of compilations of A Prairie Home Companion and Keillor's readings of his books have sold in the millions. He wrote the script for and starred in the 2006 motion picture A Prairie Home Companion, the final film directed by Robert Altman.

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