Saturday, November 19, 2011

Comics Review: PEANUTS #0 (November 2011, kaboom!)

My reaction to kaboom!'s PEANUTS graphic novel HAPPINESS IS A WARM BLANKET could charitably be described as lukewarm, and I was hoping for better when I decided to sample this $1 preview issue of the line's new PEANUTS title. No such luck. "Carnival of the Animals" and "Woodstock's Nest," the ish's two original stories, pale in comparison to the vintage Charles Schulz Sunday strips that accompany them. What I was hoping for here was a melding of the admirably faithful artwork of WARM BLANKET with the more adventurous story sensibility of the old Dell/Gold Key PEANUTS title, in which the characters frequently got put into situations that would never have occurred in the newspaper strip. The only glimmer of Dell/GK-style daringness comes in "Carnival of the Animals," when Charlie Brown, offended at Violet's cutting comment that he doesn't possess Snoopy's sense of imagination, imagines himself doing "lots of things... great things... important things," including conquering a mountain and flying a jet. The problem is that this is used as a throwaway moment; during the Dell/GK era, Charlie might actually have gotten to fly (or at least sit in) a real jet. We don't even get residual fancifulness in "Woodstock's Nest," which could just as easily have been lifted from several weeks' worth of connected Sunday strips. Irritatingly, four precious pages at the end of the book are wasted on a "preview" for the long-since-released WARM BLANKET. Much as I hate to say it, I think that I'm going to stick strictly with Fantagraphics' COMPLETE PEANUTS series.

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