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#5: The Complete Peanuts

The Complete Peanuts
Fantagraphics(Charles Schulz) 2004-ongoing
Wikipedia Article

I can think of at least four reasons why Fantagraphics' ongoing and thorough collection of Charles Schulz' Peanuts strip is important: First off, Peanuts is the seminal American comic strip, an endless casting about of the soul among profound and profane neurotics in an eternal state of enlightened childhood. Seriously, look it up, I ain't typing all that again.

Secondly, it's opened the doors for an entire market of high quality, thorough, archival reproductions of classic American comic strips, most of which had never seen anything approaching a comprehensive reprint volume in eighty years. We have this slick, attractive project to thank the current slate of reprints for Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Wash Tubbs, The Phantom, Buck Rogers, Popeye, the much-delayed Pogo and more.

Thirdly, as many as 2000 of these strips - almost 10% of the Peanuts catalogue - had never been reprinted before, and certainly not chronologically, but lastly - and mostly - because this 21st century collection finally puts the 20th century's most pervasively influential popular comic in context. Seeing the progression of the strips is vital to understanding why so many aficionados of the artform consider Schulz - despite an overabundance of marketing and media tie-ins, an almost wholly undeserved reputation for mawkishness and waning skills in the latter half of his life - the premier comic strip creator of the last century.

Fantagraphics also gets points for getting Seth to design such attractive packaging, and for getting the host of luminaries to write the forewords, further putting into perspective the due celebration of this classic icon of the form.

The Complete Peanuts Box 1959-1962
The Complete Peanuts Box 1963-1966
The Complete Peanuts Box 1967-1970
The Complete Peanuts Box 1971-1974