Images © United Features Syndicate, Inc.
We’re up to the 14th volume of this classy Peanuts reprint series from Fantagraphics. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned in a while how much I like the book design by Seth. His color choices are particularly good this time. The cover has two spot colors, a rich green and metallic copper. And look at how he’s colored Peppermint Patty, in shades of gray that Charles Schulz would probably never have used, but somehow it makes me look at the drawing more. I also love Seth’s font choices for the titles and text, which appears to be hand-lettered. The design pages inside are equally well done, using muted earth tones throughout that once again make me look at the art more than I might have otherwise.
In these years the Peanuts strip had been running for an amazing 27 and 28 years, and as we know, it was far from over. There’s still a lot here that made me laugh, though some of the running gags seem to repeat too often. Or maybe I just think that when I don’t like them, like the “Snoopy insults the Cat Next Door” ones, which always end with the cat carving an elaborate shape out of his doghouse. Such visual tricks don’t always work for me, I think the strip is at its best when the humor revolves around the personalities of the characters, as in the one above.
Some technical notes; the Sunday and Daily strips do not interact at all in these years, not sure when that started, but perhaps a few collections ago. When there’s a continuing storyline, it pauses for the Sunday, then resumes. The lettering size on the Dailies is getting larger; probably because newspapers were printing them smaller, and the contrast in lettering size between the Sundays and Dailies is now pronounced. Topics that get a lot of use are Snoopy as a helicopter, a jogger, a scout leader and a tennis player. Peppermint Patty continues as the poster child for Attention Deficit Disorder, though I doubt it was called that then. Sally remains a funny student, and Lucy never gives up on Schroeder. Charlie Brown and baseball continue their love/hate relationship. In all, great fun and good reading.