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‘Snoopy: A Peanuts Collection’ (review)

Written by Charles M. Schulz, Jason Cooper,
Vicki Scott, Alexis E. Fajardo,
Shane Houghton, Art Roche
Illustrated by Donna Almendrala, Vicki Scott,
Paige Braddock, Mona Koth, Justin Thompson,
Bob Scott, Matt Whitlock, Vicki Scott
Published by KaBOOM!
ISBN-13: 978-1684151615
Released 11/28/17 / $14.99

 

When KaBOOM! debuted all-new Peanuts stories a few years back, I was impressed by the fact that the various writers and artists involved—it obviously takes an entire group to replace Charles Schulz, who did it solo for nearly five decades—managed to recapture much of the unique whimsy of the mega-successful, now-iconic newspaper strip.

I was, however, less impressed with the modern computer coloring.

Not only does it take the reader right out of the familiar, flatter world of good ol’ Charlie Brown and friends, but with its oddly heavy shadowing everywhere, it gives the look of the color simply being printed off-register. Several colorists are credited for the different stories in the new just-out Snoopy collection so apparently it was an editorial choice. Only the Schulz originals that are interspersed throughout the book are spared the heavy-handed hues.

One story is credited to Sparky himself, which I assume means it’s an adaptation of one of his strip story arcs. The rest are all originals but with lots of familiar Snoopy themes—the Masked Marvel, the World War One Flying Ace, Joe Cool, the unpublished author, all done lovingly and in a meticulous but fluid imitation of Schulz’s style. All of those eBay con artists with their lousy fake Peanuts art have nothing on artists Donna Almendrala, Vicki Scott, Mona Koth, Justin Thompson (no relation), Bob Scott, Paige Braddock, and Matt Whitlock. Oh, a sharp eye can still detect the truth here but more than capturing the exact look of the originals, they succeed admirably in capturing the spirit!

The longer form stories themselves are more reminiscent of the classic Peanuts TV specials than of the daily continuities. Obviously, the original comic books featured all the regulars but this collection pulls out the ones with Snoopy, who has long since become top dog on the public’s long list of favorite comic strip canines. The doghouse, sidekick and secretary Woodstock, the cat next door, the supper dish, the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm—all the familiar tropes make an appearance.

That’s not to say the ever-young human kids aren’t around. From Charlie Brown and Lucy to Peppermint Patty and Marcie, they’re all present and accounted for. Even Frieda—she of the naturally curly hair—makes an appearance.

A quick read, a fun read, a nostalgic read, but most importantly, an accessible read that can be enjoyed easily by anyone whether or not they’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Peanuts gang before. After this, they’ll want more.

Coloring caveat aside, Booksteve Recommends!

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