krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
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!” )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
After buying four of the big volumes reprinting the Peanuts Sunday pages in colour, following up with the fifth in the series was easy enough to consider. I did, though, mention it on my Christmas list only to wind up buying it myself. It brought me to the halfway point, even if I had to face familiar ambiguities brushed by here and there about opinions pushed on what was yet to come, or what some seem to imply began in this volume itself. An awareness Charles M. Schulz got divorced and remarried in the first half of the 1970s and seemed to do better in his second marriage can get mixed up with excessively autobiographical readings of his comic strip and an impression of certain demands on it, although that then brings to mind a comment from Charlie Brown, back when he still had a bit of the smartalec attitude he'd started with, that the one thing that cheered him up was seeing someone else depressed.
'There was one that was all different shades of red..' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
"The Complete Peanuts" may be more than complete, but the spinoff project to release the Sunday pages in colour is still under way. It did take me a while to get the latest volume of "Peanuts Every Sunday." I had ordered the previous large and pricy volumes from, but this time the wait for the listing to offer physical copies had stretched on until at last I ordered it through my local bookstore, which with my discount card was cheaper than going through an online reseller. In any case, I had a definite interest in this volume. The second half of the 1960s, as I understand it, were "the phenomenon years" for Peanuts, where all the developments of the fifteen years before added up to more attention than most comic strips get as the television specials added up along with the magazine covers, followed by appearances on stage and screen and going to the moon, with the World War I Flying Ace more or less leading the way.
'I scan the air carefully searching for the Red Baron.. I *must* bring him down!' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
For the unexpected twenty-sixth volume of The Complete Peanuts, I pondered over just how to get a copy of it and wound up ordering one online, almost "for old time's sake" remembering how I'd got a certain number of volumes that way over the years. There was something a little "Charlie Brown-like" about that, though, when I received the book in the mail and found its hardcover boards were warped. I had it anyway, though, and could contemplate seeing what had been selected to go in it. Hearing what would be in it a little while before it was published did get me realising that, for all that I seldom suppose myself "an assiduous collector," I'd lucked into getting a good number of the stories promised to be in it back when they were still generally for sale. Even with that, though, there did turn out to be surprises.
'Now, I can go back to worrying about soil erosion!' )
'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
The computer-animated Peanuts movie that just happened to align with the comic strip's sixty-fifth anniversary seemed to get good notices, including some from people I supposed to be other Peanuts fans, but where I had bought a Blu-Ray of The Lego Movie I waited on The Peanuts Movie until I was surprised to see it turn up on Netflix. This could have had something to do with how, aware as I am of how "drawn animation" has helped shape perceptions and form mental images of the Peanuts characters, a good number of the TV specials and the four feature-length movies made years ago preceded me by enough that I'm only aware of their storylines through their storybook adaptations. It just might be that, with certain small elements condensed out along the way, they kept striking me as veering between "ultimately outright depressing" and "perhaps lightweight." (As a small example, when I finally had the chance to see "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," its concluding minutes didn't seem quite as bleak as the storybook had somehow left me thinking.) Still, I wound up taking a chance, and there were things about The Peanuts Movie I did get to mulling over.
There was a big surprise )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
As "Peanuts Begins" kept working its way through the early years of the comic strip, I did get to wondering when one particular strip would turn up. On reading the very first volume of "The Complete Peanuts," I was amused by one strip from 1952 (the "cute period" of the strip, perhaps) where Charlie Brown was out in the rain in a trench coat and fedora; I wound up scanning a panel in to use as one of my valuable few Livejournal icons. The black-and-white image did somehow stand out, though, and when the colourized strips rolled around to this instalment at last today I decided to make an upgrade (of sorts, of course, what with those who'll extol "the artist's original vision"...) In the end, though, the change in icons not going automatically backwards did leave me thinking my old Livejournal might yet still commemorate the way things were.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
The "next volume preview" at the back of what I'd supposed the penultimate volume of The Complete Peanuts surprised me a bit by putting Sally on the cover of the collection to come. Some years ago I had seen a seemingly official anticipation on all the cover characters that had said the series would end with Charlie Brown, as it had begun and as it had included a Charlie Brown from each decade, and so far as I can remember the list had seemed accurate up to that point. Some months after that, though, I saw an explanation of sorts in that plans now included a twenty-sixth volume featuring "comics and stories," things Charles M. Schulz had drawn outside of the regular strips. This, of course, would mean an even number of volumes in the series and the opportunity to put the actual final days of the strip in one more consistent-sized boxed set. In the piece I saw the explanation in, though, there was also the comment the introduction to the last regular volume would be by President Obama, and that was in a strange way reassuring. I did wonder all over again about what I'd heard of Schulz's personal politics for all that he'd seemed to have kept them out of the strip (in a collection of interviews with him I once bought, a wide-ranging late interview included him remembering how depressed he'd been when Dewey hadn't defeated Truman after all and criticising Bill Clinton's policies, even if Clinton has provided a back-cover quote for the last several volumes, and in an earlier interview he had been contacted by people associated with Adlai Stevenson's 1956 campaign, supposing anyone writing such an "intellectual" strip would surely support that candidate; Schulz had to turn them down and explain he was an "Eisenhower Republican"), but I could suppose that no matter how careful Obama would be in his comments (his introduction wound up just one page long, and that included the usual page-wide graphic at the top) he wouldn't cluck and sigh that Schulz could have enjoyed his retirement and maintained the respect of those whose opinion counted (just like the commentator's) by having quit long before. Now, I just had to see what my own opinion would be.
'Dear Harry Potter, I am your biggest fan.' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
Back when the comics site I follow the daily reruns of Peanuts on began rerunning the strip from the very beginning, I suppose I was thinking ahead to the moment "Peanuts Begins" has now reached, the first Sunday page. I had wondered whether it would be shown as the "regular" reruns now go with the upper-right panel left out (as it could be) to reconfigure the pages to "portrait" format, but instead we're getting the whole thing a bit less blown up. I had also wondered about the colouring of the new "Peanuts Every Sunday" collections, and the colouring of this first page matches the book's... of course, there would seem to be weeks to come yet to be compared.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I spent this week working through the 1976 summer break of Creative Computing (or at least I'd like to gather that computer magazine took a two-issue break in the middle of that year, the better to not have to hunt down two rare early issues). Along the way, I did manage to mark the continued development of microcomputers and indulged myself by including a page other than a cover (which, for BYTE, had reached past simply coloured drawings to the point of the Robert Tinney paintings long associated with it).

BYTE, May 1976
Artist and Computer
BYTE, June 1976
Popular Electronics, July 1976
BYTE, July 1976
Good Grief!
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I always take my time reading through new volumes of The Complete Peanuts; with the new Peanuts Every Sunday volumes reprinting the Sunday pages in colour, I might be even more careful rationing them out. With a Christmas vacation coming up I did change my pace just at the end so I wouldn't have to take the latest yearly oversized volume with me, but wound up also taking my own time getting around to writing down my thoughts on it.
'A little blue in the sky and a little orange for good flesh tones...' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I dallied again on pre-ordering the latest volume of The Complete Peanuts, thinking instead of waiting until I saw it at the local bookstore, where I would have a chance to see just what the introduction said. At first glance there, I wasn't sure who Paul Feig was, but I soon understood him to be a producer of the new Peanuts Movie. I may not have gone to see that film at the movies, but the introduction did seem positive, so I bought the penultimate volume of the series. Now, I just had to see how I'd take the comic strips themselves.
'Sorry, Charlie Brown.. I thought I heard someone say the millennium is coming..' )
'What's the name of the guy who draws 'Dilbert'?' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I was setting up to set down a pretty long and involved post when a simple anniversary I'd managed to miss for most of the day caught my attention at last. Today just happens to be the sixty-fifth anniversary of the first Peanuts comic strip appearing in newspapers. That might be simple enough to think about, but I did also happen to think it's been over fifteen years since the last comic strip appeared; lasting that long as a complete entity in a medium that in its simplest form might be supposed to be found afresh each day and then just sort of put aside until tomorrow seems sort of impressive.

There are times I've felt down or troubled and pulled forth particular moments of the strip as, indeed, a sort of "security blanket," but also times I've turned back to a collection or two while feeling good. If other people can keep finding the strip to do the same sort of thing, I hope it'll last for a while longer.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
With this year being the sixty-fifth anniversary of Peanuts and a major motion picture set to premiere, a variety of books are showing up too. The volumes of The Complete Peanuts I have lined up on a bookshelf perhaps put me in a mood where I've supposed I don't need anything else, but the announcement some of the very first comic strip collections were to be reprinted got my attention anyway. I'd already known plenty of strips hadn't been reprinted in those books; for some reason, wondering what had been had me contemplating the past experiences of the first people who hadn't made scrapbooks but still sought something more permanent than one strip a day in their newspapers. I started looking up the ISBNs for the reprint books so I could order them should I decide to; then, I found the first two of them on a shelf at the local bookstore and accepted the opportunity and the decision somehow made for me by buying both. They weren't that expensive anyway.
Peanuts )
More Peanuts )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
One thing I didn't mention when commenting on the previous volume of The Complete Peanuts was that with it, I already had "Peanuts in complete": a few years ago now, five paperback volumes collected "every strip per year" for the final years of the strip, and I wound up getting all of them. While their production values weren't quite as "dignified" as The Complete Peanuts, a thought that did come to me was that one of the final introductions in the three volumes then remaining might yet seem so dismissive of the last years of the strip as to feel unpleasant to me... That thought then returned when I heard the introduction to the latest volume would be provided by "Rifftrax MST3K". While I suppose it's interesting to see the "post-Mystery Science" project placed alongside the other figures who've provided previous introductions, and I at least remembered a MSTing of a "Peanuts fanfic" (among other things), the thought "I'm not interested in them taking cheap shots at current convenient targets I happen to like myself" that's kept me from taking chances on any of it popped up in a new context. I wound up reluctant to pre-order the book, instead waiting to see if it would show up in the local bookstore, where I could at least read its introduction first.

One of the volumes did turn up there. I already knew the introduction inside the book was "by Conor Lastowka and Sean Thomason," names not associated with the "Best Brains" of Mystery Science Theater; I supposed they had joined the Rifftrax writing staff. However, their comments were pleasant and entertaining enough, although they did make a big deal out of "selling the premise of Peanuts would be tough these days," which had me remembering how different and perhaps easily describable the strip had been in its first days. They also, however, brought up Snoopy's brother, the "ugly dog contest" winner Olaf, in a "he's big in Japan" kind of way, which was a bit more fun. The "riffed-on" comic strips also in the introduction, said to have been done by the more recognisable names of Rifftrax, were also quite acceptable, and with that (and the thought that both Charles M. Schulz and Mystery Science Theater were from Minnesota), it was on to the actual comic strips.
'Then a voice comes to me that says, 'We can't take your question now..We're all out rollerblading..'' )
'Aren't you on the internest?' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I went to look at the daily Peanuts comic strip online (the new year has brought the 1968 strips into play), and noticed a surprise. The comics site has now also started a feature called "Peanuts Begins" (which did make me think of how older Dilbert strips can be found online), making a point of this being the sixty-fifth anniversary of Peanuts. Even for someone who has all the "Complete Peanuts" books, the fairly famous first strip being coloured got my attention; beyond Charlie Brown's initial featureless T-shirt being golden yellow instead of the "white" that seemed to have stuck in my own mind, the "antique" colours of sky and landscape are also sort of intriguing.

I did reflect a bit on the beginning of the strip, where Shermy was "the boy" and Patty was "the girl," with Charlie Brown as "the little guy" and Snoopy at times more the neighbourhood puppy than anyone's dog. How long this will be kept up does leave me wondering a bit (given the strip started in October, eventually the seasons will get out of sync), but it would be nice for the effort to get to 1952, when for me the characters will have grown past an odd initial sense of them looking sort of "half-finished" to "really kind of cute."
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
It seems there's going to be one "Peanuts Every Sunday" volume each year to reprint the Sunday pages in colour. I took my time reading through the latest one, managing to finish it just before leaving for Christmas vacation; as it was another large volume, though, I decided to leave it behind and summarize it in the new year. There was a bonus this time around as compared to the first, an extra year's worth of pages; it ought to mean the pages will be divided up a bit more logically going forward. The five years covered in this volume did sort of strike me on reading as the strip's "ramp-up," its transition from a comic strip focusing on precocious kids to the philosophical phenomenon of the 1960s. Then, of course, I did a bit of looking and discovered that Charles M. Schulz had won his first Reuben award, given by his fellow artists, in 1955.
'White, gray and black *sigh*' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
It was getting to me as I started into the latest volume of The Complete Peanuts that there wouldn't be many more to go, but this reminded me yet again of the possibility I might read this one and not be able to, or not want to, say anything about it. The introduction seemed positive enough again, however, and I started into things ready to let them accumulate a bit at a time.
'Joe Grunge' )
'Why is Barney purple?' )
'Forrest Blimp!' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I was interested to see The Complete Peanuts enter another decade, with its endpapers and the picture of Charles M. Schulz changing for what I presume will be the last time, and yet there was getting to be an edge of worry to the wondering if this time I wouldn't be able to say anything. The blurb on the back specifically mentioned Snoopy being obsessed with cookies, and I can remember the "cookies" comics being referred to with disdain back when the series was just getting under way. While it couldn't be said Snoopy wasn't a "cookie-hound" going back quite a ways, the certain blandness that he now seemed to treat the subject with might have risked carrying over to everything else. The introduction by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow seemed genuinely respectful, though, and as I read further into the volume other things started to catch my attention.
'Well, remember how you recommended the 'transdermal patch'?' )
'You said it would cure his craving for cookies... It hasn't worked..' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
On getting the first of the new "Peanuts Every Sunday" volumes reprinting the Peanuts Sunday pages in colour, I took my time reading through it. It's a large and handsome book, but not so big as to seem unwieldy. One of the things I was thinking was that in commenting on it, I can also say a few things about the first half-decade of the comic strip, having only started posting to my journal as "The Complete Peanuts" was entering the 1960s.
'Did you ever see three more beautiful shades of green?' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
With The Complete Peanuts rounding out the 1980s and standing on the threshold of the strip's final decade, I was right back to wondering if this would be the point where I would read through two years of comics I must have seen back when they were coming out, maybe taking them that much more for granted, and find that now I couldn't say anything new. By this point too I'm certain I would have become quite interested in Calvin and Hobbes, although I can remember at some point thinking its Sunday pages (my family's newspaper didn't carry the daily strips) were getting awfully sentimental.

The introduction by Lemony Snicket, though, took what I can suppose to be that author's familiar tone and dwelt on various dark interpretations of the strips in the volume. While I may be just a bit leery of attempts to say that Peanuts was exclusively about suffering (much less going on from there to make the whole thing a disguised autobiography of Charles M. Schulz's own suffering, with the possible codicil that any diminution of that suffering equalled a loss of edge), this did at least counter fearful thoughts of accusations about the strip winding up inoffensive filler, something done out of a singular reluctance to stop. As I started reading the comics themselves in the volume, even with a desk calendar of daily strips from 1963 and the 1966 comics being rerun on the official site, I found myself enjoying it.
'It sure is easier writing to you since you got the fax machine.' )
'All right, Lucy... what's your excuse this time?' )
'Just as the ball got to me, Michael Jackson hit a high note!' )

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