Review | Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist’s Edition

Last updated on February 9th, 2017 at 08:37 am

Charles Schulz's Peanuts Artist's Edition coverCharles Schulz’s Peanuts debuted as what is arguably the most important comic strip of all time in 1950. Peanuts transcended the medium, presenting complex issues and moral dilemmas in the space of four panels, while maintaining a bitingly funny sense of humor. Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, Linus, Schroeder, kite eating tree, the Great Pumpkin, and, of course, Snoopy… all are embedded in our psyches. Now, for the first time, Schulz’s classic creation will be seen in a way as close as possible to the original art created by the artist himself-in IDW’s multi-award-winning Artist’s Edition format, with each strip being carefully scanned and reproduced. Note: Because of the enormous size Charles Schulz worked, these originals will be reduced in size from the original art.

As with all original artist’s gallery editions this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index.

Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 1

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Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 5 Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 6

A lot of unique features in this Artist’s Edition. The only horizontal edition, measuring 20″ x 13″. The only complete newspaper strip edition; Tor contains some strips but you have to turn the book sideways to read them. The only non-sequential original art edition to be called an Artist’s Edition and not an Artifact Edition. And the only Artist’s Edition to reduce the original art.

For this period of 1950-1960 original art was 26.5-27.25″ x 5-5.5″, based on information available from past auctions of material from this selected decade. The strips in the book are 18.5-19″ x 3.8-4.4″, so it’s a significant size reduction. I was surprised to see no mention of this reduction in the book’s introductory pages; it only appeared in the initial solicitation and isn’t on the IDW site.

Scans are clear and crisp throughout. From the notes in the indices “All of the original art came from the collection of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California“. Most likely that involved only one person scanning everything collected here. No art corrections here; Schulz must have cleaned things up in pencil and then inked cleanly. There are the occasional dialogue paste ins. Every strip was folded in the middle, possibly for mailing or storage. A few strips have handwritten notes to people Schulz must have gifted strips to. The pages have aged well, ranging from mostly off-white to the odd brown.

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Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 8

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No extras or gallery is included: the book moves through the strips by date and ends with a one page biography. Each strip has it’s date printed either above or below, depending on placement.

Randall Dahlk’s design is clever and appealing. With no extras or chapter dividers the only colour we have are the opening and closing, and Dahlk uses the four colours from the cover for each page spread. The characters are white cut outs, moving from the cover on through to each page. Schulz’s comic rack is easy to miss in the strip but the titles on it and his take on what mainstream comic books offered is clear, and Dahlk features it front and center.

Production is good and sturdy, with sewn binding holding thick and heavy paper stock. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a black and white sticker showing art and UPC code. This may be the only instance the book’s cover wasn’t on the case sticker. As well the spine and indices give the title as Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist’s Edition but the cover and case sticker use only the last name.

Charles M. Schulz Artist's Edition Dahlk about page

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Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 14

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Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Artist's Edition interior 18

Charles Schulz Peanuts Artist Ed HC – $120.00

Retail Price: $150.00
You Save: $30.00

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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  1. mel taylor
    August 8, 2016

    Frankly, I have never understood the appeal of Peanuts. I would take an artist’s edition of Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County or Mutts any day over Peanuts. There’s something incredibly repetitious about a strip that touches the same bases (the kite-eating tree, Lucy pulling away the football at the last moment. The Great Pumpkin and on and on) every year. I think, for all his talent, Old Sparky had a very limited palette in his imagination.

  2. August 8, 2016

    None of that appears in the first decade except for The Great Pumpkin which popped up in 1960.

  3. mel taylor
    August 8, 2016

    So, he had an inspired first decade maybe. The overall impact, in my opinion, has been overrated.

  4. August 9, 2016

    One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Yes, Shultz returned to the same themes over the decades, but he found endless variations on them and the baseball strip from January 2, 2000 is absolutely heartbreaking coming at the end of a fifty year career. Shultz was a very keen observer of human frailty and cruelty. That too was a constant refrain and a well of endless inspiration and humor. Just because everybody doesn’t recognize it, doesn’t mean the brilliance isn’t there. And that’s okay. It’s called personal taste. I have my own. I loved Peanuts as a kid in the 60s and wrote essays about it in the 80s, but the commercialization of Peanuts in the 1970s and the character of Woodstock soured me on the strip in later decades. Reading the collected volumes proved my error of judgment, even though I still don’t care for certain characters, but I have to acknowledge Shultz knew more than me about his own creation. Then again, did Charlie Brown suffer any better or worse from longevity than, say, Spider-man or Batman? By the same argument you can say Marvel as a company had one good decade, and not even that (1961-1968). Witness the endless cycle of reboots driving comics today. I’d put Shultz up against any of them, and he’d probably come out on top. That’s my personal taste. I also wouldn’t say no to a Calvin and Hobbes AE… but Mutts?

  5. August 9, 2016

    Scott: Great selection of strips above! Many are fridge-worthy (where people would cut and paste strips from the newspaper back in the day). Charlie brown trying to hitch a ride under an umbrella in the rain. Lucy endlessly beating CB in checkers. Snoopy’s “too much of a good thing” rain shower. Forgetting to feed the dog. LOL, as the kids who don’t actually laugh for themselves anymore, would text.

  6. mel taylor
    August 9, 2016

    Thank Gawd!
    I finally got some discussion on one of Scott’s posts! I was afraid he might be getting lonely with all those zero-comment posts. I like to get the discussion going personally.
    I agree 100% with the “personal taste” thing. Every body has a favourite and everybody has their own personal turkey as well. I guess, much to many people’s chagrin, my turkey happens to be Peanuts. I also neglected to mention a few other strips that I would put head and shoulders above Peanuts, including Little Nemo, Gasoline Alley and Krazy Kat, among others. Great discussion guys. Let’s keep Scott company more often.

    cheers, mel

  7. August 9, 2016

    Mel, yours is a gentlemanly reply. I have no problem with different tastes. I’m just happy when people are reading and enjoying comics. My own personal lists of comic pros that do nothing for me reads like an Eisner-nominee list of A-liners. I realize I’m in the wilderness with that, but I would never dissuade others from reading comics I avoid. I’m all for people making up their own minds. I also love talking comics and hearing why people like or don’t like certain books, writers, artists etc. Your short list above gets no argument. I found Popeye to be surprisingly entertaining, and Pogo, of course, never seems to date for me. Since I’ve been around a while now, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that the comics I like to read have all been published. Happily, there are exceptions, and although reading comics now is a completely different experience to what it was for me in the late 60s and into the 70s, there’s still an air of excitement around every New Comics day.

  8. mel taylor
    August 10, 2016

    Hey Rob
    I can’t believe I forgot to put Pogo on my A-list. Kelly was truly one of the all-time masters of the medium, right up there with McCay and Herriman.
    You will be glad to know that the conversation continues here in Harry Kremer country. The community he encouraged with his long-standing store, Now and Then, remains a strong one.

  9. August 10, 2016

    Hey, Mel! you’re Rick Taylor’s kin! Thought I recognized your irascible voice! We’re both in Growing Up With Comics along with Mark Askwith’s mini-masterpiece of nostalgia “New Comic Book Day”! I discovered Herriman’s Krazy Kat as a teenager and remain a life-long fan. Probably my favorite strip. You don’t even have to read it to enjoy it. Just sit and stare… I don’t doubt it was a big influence on Bob Clampett and cartoons like Porky in Wacky land.

  10. mel taylor
    August 10, 2016

    Yeah, I’m that Mel Taylor. Ricky and I used to work a lot together in the good old days, before he dedicated himself to “fine” art. How are your comic pursuits going?

  11. August 10, 2016

    As it happens, I have a conference call tomorrow with a publisher about relaunching Ragmop. I’ve been craving laughter, and the only way to get it is to do it myself. We’ll see how it all goes. I’ll be drawing a new Ragmop graphic novel regardless if, for nothing else, my own amusement. Where it ends up nobody knows.

  12. Dave Mackay
    August 10, 2016

    Put me down as loving the fifties and sixties Peanuts and less crazy about Charles Schulz’s later work.
    If I could communicate as He did in his prime, I too would be a rich and admired man !!
    Its strange how your average Bugs Bunny comic of the Nineteen fifties has twenty times the verbiage of today’s average comic….
    there are lessons to be learned…or forever lost, from the old masters
    Thanks Scott

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