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‘Peanuts Dell Archive HC’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by
Charles M. Schulz

Published by KaBOOM!


Back in the ‘80s when I had more money and old comic books were more affordable, I began collecting any of the Golden Age comic strip reprint comics that I could find—Tip-Top, Sparkler, Ace, Nancy. One pleasant discovery to me was that there were what appeared to be all-new Peanuts stories buried in some of these comic books.

Were they by Schulz? Sure looked like it. but I wondered when in the world Sparky would have found the time!

Peanuts was omnipresent when I was growing up. It was in the newspapers, on television, in ads and commercials, at the movies, on the hardback bestseller lists and the paperback racks, on snack wrappers and bread packages, on stage, on best-selling LPs, and even in outer space!

“Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy” were the names of the 1969 Apollo 10 modules that safely orbited the moon in a trial run for the moon landing later that year.

But comic books?

No. There were no Peanuts stories in comic books. Thus it was that learning of their earlier existence became a major revelation to me.

Over time, I picked up three or four of the Dell titles with Peanuts stories and enjoyed them very much. That was three decades ago now. I’ve found a few more online and even posted a couple on one of my blogs. I had NO idea how many there had been, though! Not until this week, anyway.

Kaboom! has a new full-color collection that runs to about 350 pages of Peanuts comic book stories and covers! It turns out, in fact, that some of them early on really WERE by Charles Schulz.

The informative Introduction explains that the only time Schulz ever used assistants or ghosts was for the comic book stories. I knew about Dale Hale but I had never heard the name Jim Sasseville. Both of these men managed to capture Schulz’s iconic art style quite well but also his style of humor. Their storytelling is often nearly indistinguishable from the originals. If you’ve ever attempted to draw the deceptively simple Peanuts characters, you know it’s much harder than it looks. These two guys nail it nearly every time, though.

Not so for some of the later stories by other, mostly unknown, hands but even they provide a fun look at a seemingly alternate universe Peanuts.

In the end, it’s mostly NOT the Schulz we all had ingrained in us for decades but for the most part, it most definitely does come across as the real Charlie Brown, the real Lucy, the real Linus, the real Snoopy. These aren’t Mad parodies, they’re real Peanuts stories, with everything that entails. It’s just that they had been forgotten for decades. Man, it’s good to see them all in one place and finally get to read and enjoy them all. Every single one.

Booksteve recommends!


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