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‘Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz’ - Hardcover Review

2015, of course, is the 65th anniversary of the original publication of Charles Schulz’ iconic comic strip, Peanuts. While it’s easy to take the strip for granted given how long it’s been a fixture on the comics page, it’s by any reasonable standard a cultural phenomenon of immense influence on the world of comics, as well as so much else in popular culture. The stunning, multi-artist Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, published by KaBOOM! manages to do it well-deserved justice. It’s an awe-inspiring read, conveying very deftly how such a seemingly simple, but nonetheless deeply insightful, strip about the interactions of a group of small children could not only keep going for decades but inspire creativity in artists even after its author’s death.

With an introduction by Lincoln Peirce, creator of Big Nate, Peanuts brings together a fantastic array of over forty artists, all well-known figures (indeed many titans in their own right) in every field from children’s books to webcomics. It’s not at all usual for the Schulz estate to allow other artists to portray the Peanuts gang, so this was an amazing opportunity for all involved and every part of this meets the challenge. We’re treated to everything from simple homages to radical reimaginings of the Peanuts universe, from personal reminiscences such as Matt Groening’s to Roger Langridge’s tale of the Red Baron seeking psychoanalysis for his persistent visions of a beagle pursuing him on a flying doghouse (possibly my favorite out of the entire collection). The contributors’ own styles and voices are apparent throughout; never is it derivative or imitative but always deeply personal. Art styles are similarly wide-ranging, from a direct, lovingly done reflection of Schulz’ original style to more realistic renditions and even a nod towards chibi manga. The proportions of the original characters make this a fitting adaptation.

This was a true pleasure for me to read, and I’d unhesitatingly recommend this to Peanuts fans, as well as fans of the individual contributors.

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