krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
[personal profile] krpalmer
When I happened to learn that someone who keeps up a news site about Peanuts books was working on one of them himself, and that the book would contain reproductions of various memorabilia, it caught my attention. I was reminded of "The Star Wars Vault" and a volume about Charles Darwin I bought from a discount shelf not that long ago (Darwin's handwriting is rather hard to read, though), and decided to order a copy of "The Peanuts Collection."

The book isn't that intimidating in size, and feels just a bit more solid in the hands than "The Star Wars Vault" did, although it doesn't have a "removable item" on every page. Those "removable items" aren't the only draw of the book, of course; something that really caught my attention was some unfinished comic strips from various eras (even if they were selected from a larger supply of them, they seem like they could have worked as finished products to me). With that said, the "removable items" (each carefully marked as a reproduction) are also interesting, ranging from a replica of an old sketch of Charlie Brown (the crumbled edge of the paper copied as well) to a letter promising the phase-out of "Good Ol' Charlotte Braun" (who had curly hair a little like Frieda's would turn out and talked real loud) to a "Project Apollo Recovery Team" sticker, which seems a particular prize of the book to me but one I sort of wish I had extra copies of so I could stick them somewhere. (I've seen original stickers on the "Mobile Quarantine Facility" in the Smithsonian, although they were covered up in the famous pictures of Richard Nixon speaking to the Apollo 11 astronauts shut up inside it.)

In alternating between pages on the characters and not just various other themes of the comic strip but also "the world beyond," though, I may have found myself contemplating a comment that Schulz started off not really interested in merchandising but unbent bit by bit, wondering about a certain attitude in a "post-Watterson era" that the proclaimed worth of Peanuts is in proportion to how much each strip can be seen as a desperate attempt by Charles M. Schulz at self-therapy. At the same time, though, the book contained a few comments from Schulz himself on the whole issue ("A lot of people apparently don't believe in insurance" and "Tapioca Pudding," who showed up in the strip in the mid-1980s, talking about how her father was going to put her on lunch boxes), which did seem to help me keep things in perspective.

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