Sunday, May 27, 2007

Good Grief! Fantagraphics Strikes Again!!

One of the most ambitious projects in modern publishing has been undertaken by Fantagraphics: The Complete Peanuts, by Charles Schultz.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketEvery six months for twelve-and-a-half years a new volume, containing two years' worth of the 50 written and drawn entirely by Charles Schultz, is being released. The current volume (shown) is number 7, which I have been savouring all weekend. Then, when I'm done, I'll go back and reread them all. That's so much Peanuts I'll be lucky if I don't have diverticulitis by the time I'm done. ; )

I'll be the first to admit that Charlie Brown and his gang are not for everyone. The humour is subtle, and not every strip is funny, at least not in the laugh-inducing way. I will say, though, that reading them in this form allows their impact to build, an impact which is absent reading one strip a day in the newspaper.

"What a brilliant, truly modern, totally weird idea it was to create a comic strip about a chronically depressed child," said Time magazine, and I could scarcely have said it better myself. I have already made plain my assertion that I am Charlie Brown all grown up, from my enormous, bald pumpkin head to the casual abuse I suffer even at the hands of people who are nominally my friends.

Of course, not all of Charlie's friends are cruel to him; I've been lucky to have met my Schroeder, my Linus, even a Peppermint Patty or two (hey Seumas!). Really, it's only Lucy and Violet who are bitches to him, but when they are it is extreme. They are the kind of bullies who make it difficult for anyone else to be nice to him, and I am certainly familiar with their ilk.

Having the chance to revisit the Peanuts gang in their entirety has given me the opportunity to shed some light on the dynamics of the life I've been living, and once again (as I'm sure I will every six months for the next nine years) I offer my thanks and gratitude to Fantagraphics for making such a voyage of discovery possible.
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