Things That Make You Go AAUGH!

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Reason writers around town: At The American Spectator, Brian Doherty mails a Valentine to Fantagraphics' new Complete Peanuts project.

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  1. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that _Sledge Hammer!_ is getting a DVD release. I had thought that was a hopeless cause.

  2. At $28.95 per volume, and each volume covering about two years of the strip’s 50-year run, the complete set will run $1450.

    While I don’t doubt Fantagraphics is using great paper stock, rich inks and doing a good job on the binding, what is this really but another 50th-birthday gift for the Cigar Aficionado reader? Who’s going to hand these to a six-year-old?

    I grew up on a mix of cheap 1960s Peanuts paperbacks (since turned pretty yellow) and some of the 1970s trade paper collections. Adjusted for inflation, I doubt even those were priced in Fantagraphics collector’s territory. And the Sunday strips are in black and white. Argh.

    I thought the Chip Kidd book was a prefectly fine tribute from one of the many people influenced by Schulz’s clean, modernist lines and clean, modernist sensibility. It seemed genuine enough. It’s no substitute for a good collection of the strips, but it satisfies a different itch among artists and designers; that’s why there’s a diversity of product available. Isn’t the market great?

  3. I glanced at the first volume of the Fantagraphics release in the bookstore, and was amazed. Charles Schultz can actually be funny. I’m shocked.

  4. I once had an old Peanuts reprint book of stuff from the ’50s and it was hilarious, unlike most of the Peanuts strips I ever read from the late 60s on when I was a kid.

    I guess Schultz lost his comic edge over time, but he did end up with a hell of a franchise at the end. Cried all the way to the bank, I suppose.

  5. At $28.95 per volume, and each volume covering about two years of the strip’s 50-year run, the complete set will run $1450.

    Actually, 25 x $30 = $750, and I figure it’s amortized over 12 years, so it’s just a drop in the bucket, relatively speaking. (They’re only releasing two books per year, as I read it.)

    Leaves plenty o’ scratch for the Hammer set. “Now, finish yourself off.”

  6. That assumes the price of the books released in 2009 are the same price as the books released in 2004. Not likely, but still way less than $1450. This first volume may actually be a bit bigger than subsequent ones since it covers slightly more than two years, what that does to the price remains to be seen.

  7. Damn, my math when posting blog comments is prety friggin’ shabby. Yeah, $750 in 2004 dollars.

    Apropos of little, the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, with 22,000 pages and taking up some 8 feet of shelf space, runs $895. Free shipping from Amazon.

  8. This also assumes that the hardcover editions are the only ones that’ll be released. I fully expect to see trade paperbacks of this material, probably following the hardcover releases by three to five years.

  9. Charles Schultz?

    Wouldn’t this set of cartoons by Dr. Suess be much more approriate for this forum?

    http://orpheus.ucsd.edu/speccoll/dspolitic/Frame.htm

  10. People forget what a great artist Schulz was. Try to draw a Peanuts character freehand sometime. Its friggin impossible. Matt Goening says that his characters in Life in Hell began as his mangled attempts to draw Peanuts characters. Schulz could flat out draw.

  11. I’m a little surprised to see such passages as:

    “First, it’s a triumph for art over kitsch — for the integral energies of a work of popular art over the rampant and possibly damaging commodification of it.”

    Such sentiments are usually dismissed in this space as elitist and anti-market.

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