krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
[personal profile] krpalmer
After ordering the latest big volume of “Peanuts Every Sunday” from the area bookstore, I once again took my time reading through it. The Sunday pages it reprints in colour get to ones I was alive for, although certainly I’d have first really noticed them in earlier, less elaborate reprint books. Balanced against that personal thought, though, was a certain feeling of melancholy that as this series of books moves into the back half of the comic strip I can imagine certain other people concluding even a “Silver Age of Peanuts” is wrapping up, even if there does seem no insisted-on guide to where the previous lines are drawn. It was also a bit surprising for there to be no introduction; perhaps Fantagraphics has run out of people to say things at last.

“And it’s orange? This I have to see!”

I suppose that were I to “turn to what first comes to mind” myself I’d take down from the shelf a volume reprinting from the 1960s; not that long ago, I managed to buy used online the indulgence of a well-worn but complete set of a Mattel series reprinting tête-bêche the original Holt, Rinehart, and Winston books from that decade, just overlapping with the facsimile reprints from the 1950s that showed up a few years ago. At the same time, though, the urge still dwells in me to be capable of finding enjoyment in all the years of the comic strip; it just feels more positive to me than “resenting the existence of something,” even if I have to admit that urge isn’t absolutely universal for me. As I started reading this volume I did get to thinking of the strips from 1972 now being reprinted with modern colouring online (and my page-a-day desk calendar rerunning 1969’s daily strips, although it shaves the sides of every panel to take up a bit more space top-to-bottom) and thinking in the space of a few years the artwork and lettering had got “bigger” in each panel. With running gags and common themes also having changed from the years just before, though, I was intent to see it as simply “different from what had come before,” just as Peanuts in the second half of the 1960s had its own distinct differences from the first half of that decade.

So far as minor changes go, even as I still lack the absolute certainty every colour in this series is just what someone would have seen at the time (save for the slide in printing quality from the first colour comics at the turn of the twentieth century according to the mutterings of aficionados) I’d started this volume supposing the guidelines set by the animated specials were now being followed by Charles M. Schulz himself. Not that long after I’d resumed totting up the appearances of Lucy in a blue dress, though, she did start often wearing shirts and slacks, just as Sally took her own advantage of children’s clothing becoming less gendered. Where my mental model had seemed to put Lucy in a white shirt, though, in the book she kept wearing colour. Along with that, however, I did find myself thinking Marcie wasn’t showing up that often, even if she made more appearances later on. So far as one character I now expected to be quite rare went, Pig-Pen was featured on the dust jacket but, even in only appearing a few times inside, still showed up a few more times than I might have remembered.

Having collected all the volumes of “The Complete Peanuts” might seem reading this new series amounts to noticing small, fussy details such as I’ve just mentioned, but I did get struck partway through that some of the pages still felt unfamiliar as I turned to them. There were also some sequences of Sundays chaining together, many involving the Beagle Scouts among some of the more elaborate backgrounds by this point. The seemingly significant storyline with Charlie Brown in the hospital was split between weekdays and weekends and as such picks up here in the middle of things later on in the book; I suppose I ought to see that as a chance to go back to the whole thing again.

February 2019

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