When Fantagraphics asked me to help make a 26th volume for the always-announced-as-25-volumes Complete Peanuts series, they were only looking for half a book of cartoon material, of Schulz Peanuts that hadn’t appeared in the daily strip and thus hadn’t been in the other 25 volumes. So I rounded up some colleagues that I’d been discussing the idea with (Derrick Bang and Timothy Chow) and we went hunting.
We came up with a full book’s worth… and more. And then Fantagraphics had some other stuff that they wanted to throw in. On Thursday, at Beaglefest, I announced the contents… and now I’m going to share them with you, my AAUGH Blog readers.
After a couple of brief text pieces on the making of the book and the series, the cartoons start…. and it starts not with Peanuts, but with Charles Schulz’s cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post. All of them, in one book for the first time.
Then we get into Peanuts, and we launch with stuff that’s never been in a book before – the 7 comic book stories that Schulz’s studiomate Jim Sasseville had identified as being by Sparky himself.
And hey, you want never-in-a-book-before stuff, we follow that up with an ad section featuring dozens of strips that were used to advertise the Ford Falcon in the 1960s, most of which had not been in a book nor seen print of any sort in half a century. Also in this section are some Butternut Bread cartoons, and the strips from The Brownie Book of Picture-Taking, an instructional booklet on making the most of your Brownie camera. That’s a book that’s been long out of print.
And it’s not the only stuff from books long out of print that we’re putting in there. In fact, we’ve got the contents of six complete Peanuts books that have not seen print this century. That’s right, in a row we have four storybooks:
- Snoopy and the Red Baron
- Snoopy and his Sopwith Camel
- Snoopy and “It was a Dark and Stormy Night”
- “I Never Promised You an Apple Orchard”: The Collected Writings of Snoopy
Then we have two pictures-and-platitude books, the 1980s equivalent of the Happiness is a Warm Puppy books
- Things I Learned After It was Too Late
- Things I Had to Learn Over and Over Again
You want Christmas stories? We got Christmas stories! We have the two Christmas tales that were reprinted a few years ago in Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking, specifically the title story and “A Christmas Story”. But then there’s also the two-part story where the first part originally ran in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens and the second part ran as a Sunday newspaper strip… and the two parts have never been run together before! Finally, we get the full story of Linus trying to remember his line “The star that shone on Bethlehem still shines for us today!”
Ya like golf? Snoopy sure does. Schulz sure did too, which is why he did so many cartoons for the programs of Bing Crosby’s annual Pro-Am tournament at Pebble Beach (and some about the tournament for Playboy.) That’s the source of most of the golf section, which includes gags that ran in the books Snoopy’s Grand Slam and An Educated Slice, as well as ones that have never been in a book before. And for the tennis buffs, there’s a tennis section with a couple of sequences that were in Snoopy’s Tennis Book. And then there’s a selection of spot drawings that Schulz did for various purposes.
Jeannie Schulz (Sparky’s widow) rounds out the book with a nice, long essay with tales of the man she loved and the work he did.
And hey, when you reach the end of the book, be sure to close it and look at the back. There you’ll find a longer-than-a-Sunday strip that Schulz drew for a 1958 issue of Look Magazine, where it was printed small and fuzzy.
Yeah, we packed a lot of good stuff into the book. (And as for the stuff there wasn’t room for… I expect we’ll find a place for it eventually. But no, not a Volume 27. Complete Peanuts is ending at number twenty-six, we swear!)