Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 01.04.2012 – Peanuts #1

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

Writer: Charles Schulz
Artist: Vicki Scott


Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

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.

Josh Flanagan
This one’s for you, Paul.
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. Interesting pick. Was Fatale one of the books that bored you?

  2. Peculiar review.

  3. Good grief!

  4. someone’s coming off a holiday sugar high…

    lol I love Peanuts, though

  5. Of all the Josh Flanagans in the world, you’re the Josh Flanaganiest.

    Interesting pick for sure! I’ll have to check out the trade when it’s released.

  6. The pages may be yellowed and incredibly dog eared, but I always have my old Peanuts books lying around for whenever I get in the mood for them. Just the way Charlie Brown needs the occasional 5 cent psychiatric help, I need a little Peanuts in my life.

  7. I am going to buy this book on your rec. It better deliver 🙂

    Dr. J. Maggio

  8. Wow, wasn’t expecting this to be the pick. Might have to go pick this up!

  9. Man! I know comics can be considered a little childish but doesn’t it have some limit? My god, I haven’t read anything this week yet but this CAN’T be the best thing;

  10. Snack reviews?!? I think I am at the wrong site.

  11. Makes me wish they had a monthly Calvin and Hobbes

  12. Interesting choice and read, Josh. Can’t say I saw this one coming.

    After listening to you guys profess your love of MATES on the year end show, I’m guessing that’s where the candy breakdown is coming from?

    We’ve always debated just how much sway the official POW has over the community %’s. I think it’s safe to say that this week is going to be an interesting case study in that regard. 😉

  13. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Much love.

  14. I don’t know if it’s particular to me or an australian thing but I never really read any peanuts as a child.

    Now, Footrot Flats, there’s an instant happy feeling.

    Batman may be able to beat almost any comic character in any universe and by any publisher but I’m pretty sure Horse from Footrot Flats beats Batman hands down

    • Probably totally an American thing, Peanuts. I’ll give you that.

    • Have you heard of Footrot Flats though?

    • @edward – Was not familiar with Footrot Flats, but doing a quick wiki, it sounds like it would be worth a peak.

      Also, Peanuts Is much beloved in America ( at least for me growing – similar to The Muppets) To me, it’s not Christmas until I hear the Charlie Brown Christmas Album (Vince Guaraldi Trio).

    • Footrot Flats is from New Zealand like Russel Crowe and Crowded House, so, neither?

    • Never heard of it.

    • @Josh: It’s a newspaper strip about a Sheep dog that works on a farm in New Zealand, the dog (named Dog) is a very neurotic figure. He is always wondering if he is masculine enough and stuff like that. It has an extended cast of characters, human or animal, who are exaggerated but turn to life. The strips also had a strange continuity with stories that played out over many months.

      Ultimately, it was just a really endearing look in life on a farm and New Zealand culture.

      There was even a movie made in the 80s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0VrfKSpl-w

  15. I haven’t read any of my comics yet and Josh’s third sentence perfectly captures my my attitude regarding my comics today, which probably means his second sentence will later reflect my attitude tomorrow.

    Too bad I didn’t buy Peanuts.

    Hopefully Scalped or Ultimate Spider-Man will come out next week and revive my excitement.

  16. I’m really surprised with this choice. Not on the basis that it doesn’t deserve to be, because it is your choice. But this is the first overwhelming praise I’ve seen for the book so far. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be POTW and it was a great review josh.

    My POTW was OMAC #5 though…..but it is fucking awesome.

  17. This feels like a review from a maturing-since-fatherhood comic book fan who is gaining life perspective on comics and perhaps realizing that they no longer provide the hit of escapism they once did. We’re losing young Josh!

    • Funny, that’s the impression I came away with after reading the review.

    • I was never really much of an escapism guy to begin with, hence the inexhaustible “Josh hates fun” movement. No, it’s more about appreciating the craft more, and getting sick of seeing slight reinterpretations of the same things over and over and over. Sometimes that’s fine. Moreover, I appreciate the work of making comics more than ever, and the different ways it can be successful.

      So, while my tastes adapt and change, as anyone’s should, it ain’t got squat to do with the squirt.

  18. Umm wow ok so im not gonna pick this book up and I would never question your pick so ill just say I realy enjoyed defenders issue two I love dodsons on art and apart from fear itself I realy like fraction as a writer plus I enjoy this cast of characters so thats my pick. A very well written review though josh.

  19. Did not see this picking coming at all, but hey the POTW is the book you liked the most.

  20. It would be alot of fun if you guys did a show on Charles Schulz. I would love to hear what you guys think of him and his comic work.

    • That would be really cool

    • That would be great. I also think the idea could be expanded to include what other comic book strips the ifanboy trifecta are fans of. While they are rarely covered in “comic book news” sites, strips of Peanuts, Dilbert, Garfield, Pearls before Swine, etc. have millions of people look at them everyday.

      I cancelled my newspaper subscription when they stopped running one of my favorite strips, Fox Trot.

  21. A surprising pick for sure. I bought #0 issue and did not like the new stuff in it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it though. I only read 2 of my 12 comics, which means that I should have my pick of the week by next Wednesday.

  22. I have never been a Peanuts guy (and I hate York Peppermint Patties), but I always appreciate immensely when you guys pick something that seems to be so out of left field like this, because it shouldn’t seem like it’s out of left field. My personal tastes leaned toward Irredeemable or Animal Man for POTW. Still can’t decide. Overall, though, I totally see where most of the comics I read are basically the same thing.

  23. So 2012 begins with some surprises. This’ll be an interesting year.

  24. Wow!!!! Thank you for picking this book
    I didn’t even know it was out there so now I am going to go buy it right now.
    Looks like a fun read

  25. Pretty excited about this book. I no some considered it sacrilegious but I am eager to have some fresh Peanuts in my life. Especially since newspapers seem to only rerun the strips from Schultz’s later years which weren’t that strong.

    Glad to see this book getting love.

  26. My wife loves Peanuts and the whole gang. I picked this up for her while I was in the shop and I think I ended up enjoying it more than her. She liked it, but being such a massive fan of the original work she could tell that the spark of Shultz pen just wasn’t quite there.

    We need more fun (and funny) comics in our lives. I grew in Europe reading Asterisx and Obelix and am still holding out hope we see some new work on that title sometime soon.

  27. I read the 0 issue.

    If they have this in the shop, I’m going to grab it.

  28. Your first paragraph summed up my past few weeks of comics…i enjoy them enough but not leaping off the page. Perhaps i’m just reading more of the same.

    Your review inspired me to try this issue out….and i also picked up a York Peppermint Patty on the way to work. Those are crazy delicious.

  29. Sometimes, Snoopy is my life coach.

  30. nice

  31. Well, I wasn’t expecting this choice! lol. I’m going to have to pick it up now and see what the fuss is about 🙂

  32. POTW for me was Animal Man. That issue had me saying out loud on several occasions “oh shit” if a book can do that it certainly has my vote for POTW.

  33. Really liked when Lucy lost her coin and it fell outside the panels and dropped down the page.

  34. Peanuts #1 was spectacular. Best surprise of the week.

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