Fantagraphics Books, with the full cooperation of United Media and Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, will reprint, for the first time, the complete Peanuts. Charles M. Schulz’s beloved comic was voted one of the greatest comic strips of the 20th century, second only to George Herriman’s Krazy Kat, a verdict Schulz himself cheerfully endorsed.
The first volume will be released on April 1, 2004. It chronologically covers the strip from its beginning in late 1950 through the end of 1952, showing the young cartoonist’s evolution beginning with early experiments, many of which have never been collected before. Fans will be interested to see Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus initially as infants and Snoopy as a puppy!
The deluxe editions will be designed by noted cartoonist Seth, who states, "I want to emphasize the sophistication of Schulz’s work by creating a package that is both austere and direct. I would like to try to reflect the quiet and melancholy of the strip in a package that, hopefully, shows the proper amount of respect for Mr. Schulz." Born Gregory Gallant in 1962 in Clinton, Ontario, Seth, creator of Palookaville, has been a fan of Peanuts from childhood. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Details, The National Post, Spin, The New York Times, Saturday Night and the New Yorker. His books, including It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken, have been published in numerous languages.
The project got its start in 1997 when Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth approached Schulz about publishing his collected works. When Schulz died in January 2000, he continued his negotiations with Schulz’s widow Jean, who remains enthusiastic about the project, stating, "This seemed like an impossible project, considering all the ‘lost’ strips, but Gary’s determination never flagged, and we are so happy with the aesthetic sensibility of the Fantagraphics team."
Fantagraphics Books has been at the forefront of the movement to establish comics as a medium as eloquent and expressive as the more-established popular arts of film, literature and poetry. Publisher of such artists as Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, R. Crumb, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Jim Woodring and Jules Feiffer, Fantagraphics was named one of the five most-influential publishers in the history of comics in a recent poll by an industry trade newspaper.
The Complete Peanuts will be supported with an ambitious advertising and promotional campaign, including public appearances by Jean Schulz to support the series. Each volume will run approximately 320 pages in an 8 1/2″ x 7″ hardcover format, presenting two years of strips along with supplementary material. The series will present dailies and Sunday strips (albeit in black and white) in chronological order.