There are many, many fans that believe that “Peanuts” should have remained untouched following the passing of Charles M. Schulz in 2000. Schulz made “Peanuts” his life’s work and the characters for many of us are Schulz, forever inseparable. As the story goes, Schulz asked that no new strips of his characters be drawn. This comic brings new stories featuring those characters to readers, but in delivering it as a comic book skirts around the concept of new comic “strips.”
With that philosophical divider out of the way, I’m pleased to report that this comic is a healthy mix of old and new, but the new adheres to the spirit of Schulz’s work, even if it’s not Schulz’s art on the page. Charlie Brown isn’t outfitted with a cell phone, Snoopy hasn’t become a purse dog, and Linus still has a blanket. The characters hold up nicely under the new creative team in this issue, just as the stories featuring Charlie Brown and his pals hold up and continue to draw new audiences each and every time they find a new medium. (“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and “ A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” still seep into the public consciousness (and onto the television sets the world over) this time of year. . .)
This issue has a pair of new stories -- well one “new” story and one “adaptation” -- that are nicely complimented by a handful of strips from Schulz’s masterful catalog. This isn’t a solid issue done-in-one story; it’s more like a quick-hit anthology. It’s a refreshing reminder of how fun the Peanuts characters are and how wildly magnificent childlike innocence can and should be. Sure, you could get the same vibe from any number of collections of “Peanuts” strips from your local library, but your local comic shop can now serve as one-stop shopping.
The new story is a Woodstock and Snoopy tale that puts Snoopy on the task of trying to find a new home for Woodstock. It’s charming and fun, and does a nice job of spotlighting the two characters’ relationship. Speaking of relationships, yes, this issue does have a Lucy and Charlie Brown football moment. It comes in the form of a reprint of one of Schulz’s Sunday strips, but it is a welcome addition to this issue.
For the value -- four quarters, ten dimes, or a single dollar bill -- this book can’t be beat. Kaboom! has done a good job of adding titles to its stable, and this one will certainly come in handy for those parents who go into the shop to get their own stack and “need” to buy something for the younger readers in their lives.