Pick of the Week
What did the
- Pick of the Week - 05.22.2013 - Daredevil #26
- Pick of the Week - 05.15.2013 - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #1
- Pick of the Week - 05.08.2013 - Thor: God of Thunder #8
- Pick of the Week - 05.01.2013 - Animal Man #20
- Pick of the Week - 04.24.2013 - Uncanny Avengers #7
Artist: Vicki Scott
Size: 32 pages
Some days you want what you want. Today, I can safely say that I was bored to tears by most of the comics I read. I don’t know if they were just bad, or I wasn’t in the mood, or what, but even the stuff that was pretty good just wasn’t doing it for me. There was nothing crackling that said I needed to write about it. When you don’t have that, you have nothing to write, and this space becomes a big waste of all of our time. That being said, I landed on Peanuts #1 as my Pick of the Week, which surprised me as much as it likely did you. But some days, that’s what you want.
I want you to picture a York Peppermint Pattie. Ironically, this analogy is unrelated to the character, Peppermint Patty, whose Wikipedia entry does not contain the word lesbian no matter what you might think. Back to the candy. I have rarely, if ever, sought out a York Peppermint Pattie. And yet, I am familiar with them. Around the holidays, you might find yourself in the company of a pile of candy, in slightly modified wrapping. You’re looking through the pile, and there are all the regulars there, like Hershey’s Kisses, and candy canes, and Mr. Goodbars, and maybe even a Reese’s Peanut Butter Tree. But you’ve had all of them plenty of times, and even though they’re objectively delicious, on this day, you just aren’t feeling like it. But then you spot that York Peppermint Pattie. That’s something I could get into. It brings me back to my childhood. It makes me think of that ski jump commercial. It’s more refreshing than any of these other candies. Yes. York Peppermint Pattie is exactly what I feel like today. It might be only today, but that’s just the thing for these cold weather doldrums, and candy ennui.
That was the story with Peanuts #1 from BOOM! Studios today. I’d read a bunch of the same old gang, and then I saw the cover to this all ages offering from the Kaboom division of the publisher. I was a fan of Peanuts. Sort of. I didn’t love it. I didn’t seek it out, but I have warm feelings, and if this book pulled it off, we might have something. Pulling it off isn’t a small thing though. The Peanuts are a recognizable quantity. If they’re not drawn quite right, or the voices or tone isn’t there, it would instantly fail. But it didn’t fail. Peanuts #1 nailed it, and a good time was had by all, which in this case means just me.
The book is made up of 3 original comic segments, with one page strips in between by Charles Schultz himself. The first story is by Vicki Scott, with inks by Paige Braddock, and it concerns an angry Lucy Van Pelt, and a song she can’t get out of her head. The song gets passed along like a singular albatross, but not everyone has the same reaction as Lucy, because Lucy is a jerk. It’s a fun away of making an earworm into a cartoon, and it lives timelessly, as do all great Peanuts strips. The characters look spot on, and there’s not a weird line to be found, other than those intentionally drawn. The characterization and voices are exactly what you expect and nothing more. Scott does another segment to close the book, where Lucy (the author appears to have a knack for Lucy) teaches the reader how to draw Charlie Brown, and it’s both instructive and entertaining. I feel like I’m going to try my hand at this when I can get some paper and pencil in hand. The other original story is written by Reed Gunther‘s Shane Houghton, and drawn by Matt Whitlock. This contained a segment that actually made me laugh out loud when a character is trying to discern just how much bloodhound is present in Snoopy. It was a wonderful bit of comedic, expressive cartooning, and like the first story, it just had the right feel. Of course, the Charles Schultz reprint strips are all tiny wonders to behold for their expressive simplicities and ageless wonder, and they frame the book perfectly.
What is that right feel? The Peanuts formula is odd. It’s simplistic, but had very slight, almost hidden edge, and world weariness to it. Underlying that is a universal joy and charm that kids relate to instantly, and adults can’t help but notice. It’s truly all ages, in a way that is so effortless, it’s almost magic. There’s a reason these characters have been around for so many decades, and never got relegated to the punchline status of Garfield. There’s something wonderful about Peanuts that they completely captured in this issue, and hopefully for the next three issues of the mini-series.
It’s not something new. It’s not Schultz obviously, but it’s exactly right. Maybe next week, I don’t want this, but this week, I needed it, and it delivered. Maybe it’s not for you at all, but you can’t deny that a comic like this is for someone. Give it to a kid or a grandparent, or just be happy that it exists. There should have been a Peanuts comic book all along, quite honestly. Like that York Peppermint Pattie, you’re not going to go reach for it any day of the week, but when the timing is just right, it’s exactly the right choice.
This one’s for you, Paul.