Wednesday, August 31, 2016


When I was a young and comics-saturated fanabla (talking age 9-10) I thought it was rather peculiar that there wasn't a PEANUTS comic book onna racks like there were of many a comic strip able to make the transition to the periodical world. When I eventually discovered that there were PEANUTS comics readily available (via Dell, a company that had pretty much been usurped by Gold Key in the kiddie-oriented market as the sixties stumbled on) but not since 1964 I was pretty much flabbergasted because hey, wasn't that strip like thee most popular of the day, even more so than BLONDIE or even BEETLE BAILEY which were both represented by a number of comic book titles? I mean, throughout the late-sixties the entire PEANUIS gang's images were being plastered on everything from posters and badges to book collections galore, but at the peak of their fame they most certainly weren't being seen cuddled up against the latest FANTASTIC FOURs or ARCHIEs, that's for sure!

When I fully flung myself into comic book grab-dom some time later I eventually came across some of those Dell titles, and frankly I didn't think they were bad at all. Charles Schulz's assistant Jim Sasseville's art might not have been as close to the original as some would have hoped but I thought it was a better mimicry than say, Paul Fung Jr.'s various BLONDIE and DAGWOOD offerings. And sure the stories to be found therein were more or less re-creations of various strip fare extrapolated on, but they used to do that in ARCHIE and really, it ain't like ya can come up with something hot and original every day of the week now, can ya? And the way I see it, if those John Stanley NANCY comic book stories from the late-fifties on can be reprinted in classy hardcover book form then why can't these Sasseville knockoffs which I gotta say are sure due their posthumous praise even if I'm sure that a few of the comic book snobs out there would heartily disagree!

Very recently I discovered that there was a new PEANUTS comic being put out by the definitely non-major Kaboom line and naturally I decided to give a few of 'em the ol' college try. 'n hey, even with the added fortysome years of definitely post-non suburban slob comfort levels I gotta say that I like 'em! Not a whole heaping hunkerin' lot mind ya, but maybe just enough to wanna thumb through my various copies during those slow times when I'm wanting to do something in between din-din and sleepytime and I still can't get outta my mind the fact that THE MUNSTERS haven't been on prime time network tee-vee for over fifty years!

Artwork's good enough, lacking the Schulz touch that Sasseville definitely had but still compatible enough for at least my senses. Stories are fine too even if they are just as dependent on the original sagas as the Dell-era title was. And perhaps not-so-strangely enough you once again get to see long-gone characters that haven't appeared in the strip for years so if you had a thing for Violet, the original Patty or even Faron the cat they pop up, as does Shermy who was always such a bland guy that when he eventually got phased out in the late-fifties nobody seemed to notice, or care for that matter.

Wouldn't mind seeing the grand return of the irritating Charlotte Braun, but she doesn't seem to appear at least in any of the comics I have let alone the cover reprinted above which I would have assumed featured every PEANUTS character major or minor throughout the years (two Frieda's are pictured for some reason, or is one of them Tapioca Pudding?).

I'm not as big a PEANUTS fan as I am of the original Bob Montana ARCHIE or DICK TRACY or NANCY for that matter, but these particular stories actually survived their humble kid strip beginnings and are amazingly continuing into an era when frankly, there aren't any kids anymore but young adults just waiting to be older ones. It's sure heartening to know that there still is a flickering of that good ol' ranch house suburban slob ideal alive somewhere, and frankly these books just might be the next best thing to the revamped Fiat 500 as far as sixty-plus-year-old ideals reshaped and revamped for the post-post-DECADENCE era. And although these magazines can be pricey, they sure go good with root beer and potato chips while the 1972 Top 40 plays away on some tinny transistor radio.
While we're on the subject I thought I'm also bring up the recent PEANUTS tee-vee series which can now be seen on one of those cartoon nets available via cable or satellite or even Youtube for that matter. Gotta say that even though they don't have that old-time animation look probably due to that relatively new computer animation style these (again) adaptations of sagas from the actual strip do capture some of the old ranch house feelings that I like. Nothing that is shall I say "must-see" but considering the competition I find these new adaptations enjoyable to the point where I'm hoping that some of my favorite PEANUTS storylines get animated which only goes to show you...I don't get out as often as I should.

Interestingly enough, this new series was created in France and the same folk have also adapted the should-be infamous GASTON LAGAFFE in pretty much the same fashion, and with some rather good results coming remarkably close to the actual Franquin style I might add. Don't think any of those will be making their way to Amerigan tee-vee soon, but I can always pick up a few on the computer and just let the French dialogue wooooosh right by me. And if you're a fan of the euro comics scene maybe you should too.

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