By Hervé St-Louis
December 5, 2011 - 00:16
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts is back as new series for kids and new stories created for the first time by new comic book artists. This is but a preview issue of the book that Boom! Studios’ imprint for kids Kaboom! Will release soon. But is it any good? The stories are fine. Mind you, I’m not a Peanutologist, so maybe I’m missing some subtle point about the philosophy and comment of the characters and some grandiose message that a normal Schulz strip would have. One thing that is odd is the commercialization of this new Peanut series for kids. Although certainly children, Peanuts is not necessarily written for them. More than any other comic strip, Peanut always had strong themes and stories that entertained adult audiences.
This comic book is important to me and a lot of people and I have many issues to address. Let’s start with some house cleaning first. Boom! Studios seem to be changing publicist very often. For some reason, Comic Book Bin is on some press contact list for a while, only to be removed after a few months. Then we ask to be included again, we are and dropped a few months later. Boom! Studios needs to figure out what it does with press contact and correspond with them properly. I need to know what’s happening with this company and no; I don’t have time to read it off some of my competitors’ pages. Dear Boom! Studios, if you are reading this review – I know you will eventually, get your act together and stop pulling The Comic Book Bin off your press list every few months. It’s annoying not knowing about a major project like this happening in comic book and learning from it from the local comic book store. This comic book is too important for that.
Before I can even review this comic book, I need to deal with the issue of authorship legitimacy. Schulz, no matter how much he reused the same stories and concept in his strips, worked alone. It’s a freaking big deal that other creators are allowed to voice his characters. Peanuts is one of the most important comic strip in history and one of the most philosophical. I won’t judge or criticize this creative move as because Boom! Studios does not inform Comic Book Bin of what it does, I have no clue about how Schulz’ estate allowed this project to be.
This preview mixed some of Schulz’ work with new stories. The new stories hold up. They are good enough and have the characters’ voices right. I can’t complain. Granted, there were just three very short original stories by different creative teams. I don’t know how sustainable this will be over the course of a longer project. The only creative teams to have created Peanuts material were the animators that worked with Bill Meléndez and Lee Mendelson at Playhouse Pictures.
One thing that is an innovation in this comic book is the actual comic book format. The material is created not as a comic strip. The looser page composition also means none of the stories in the preview, and one would assume, the actual comic book, would make it into a comic strip format. At best, it could be used in a digital comics format, but certainly nothing like inside of a newspaper, not even for a Sunday edition. What the lack of a comic strip format does it free the cartoonists from creating gag stories that can be told in small spaces and where, even if a strip is continuing over several pages, it is not obligated to make a point every couple of pages. The format adopted here is actually all over the place.
Of the two artists featured in this brief comic book, I preferred the work of Vicki Scott. It was livelier and relied less on stock Peanut characters pantomimes to make its point. Snoopy was the start of that strip and the work relied on no text caption to guide the story. In comparison, Ron Zorman’s pages did not innovate so much with the characters’ pauses, and relied on typical gestures displayed by Peanuts character over the years. I would say he played it safe. The stories by Schulz were of course authentic but did look odd as the comic strip format was adapted to make a comic book page. The characters appeared much smaller than in the original material. As an experiment, this comic book will be interesting to watch.
Rating: 9.5 /10
Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12