REVIEW: Peanuts #0

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While Boom! may be losing their Disney titles, they’ve still got at least one well-established well they can draw from with Peanuts!

Peanuts #0
Cover and Classic Peanut Strips by: Charles M Schulz
Cover Design by: Iain R Morris
Carnival of the Animals”
Adaptation and Art by: Ron Zorman
Colors: Lisa Moore
Woodstock’s New Nest”
Story and Pencils by: Vicki Scott
Inks by: Paige Braddock
Colors by: Lisa Moore
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Asst. Editor: Adam Staffaroni
Publisher: Boom! Studios (kaboom! Imprint)
Cover Price: $1.00

Previously in Peanuts: If you’re familiar with the basic premise of Peanuts, there’s no background information that you need. If you aren’t, who are you and how have you lived this long on planet Earth without encountering Peanuts? (Unless you’re not American, in which case you may have an excuse), here’s the breakdown: The main character is Charlie Brown, who has a very expressive and creative dog named Snoopy. Charlie is our typical everyman—he goes through life expecting the best out of people and being generally average himself, and the rest of the cast either preys on him or plays off his incredibly generic personality. That cast includes Linus van Pelt, a boy whose relationship with his trusted security blanket is the subject of kaboom!’s Peanuts Graphic Novel, “Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown.” Linus’ sister, Lucy, is oftentimes an antagonist, enjoying tricking Charlie Brown whenever possible. Other minor characters include Charlie’s sister, Sally, and some of Charlie’s classmates, such as Violet, Schroeder and Patty.

Happiness is Nostalgia, Charlie Brown

I’ve long been a fan of Peanuts comics, having read several collections of the old Schulz strips over and over again when I was in elementary school. My grandmother was a big fan of Peanuts, and I read several Peanuts collections at her house as well. All through grade school reading the comics (whether new ones or the later reprints) in the newspaper was an important part of my morning routine, so I have a reasonable familiarity with Mr. Schulz’ work, and was pretty sad when he died in 2000 (I was in 4th grade at the time). I was quite excited when I heard Boom! was getting ahold of the property to do some original Peanuts work, and so far, while I haven’t been disappointed, I also haven’t been as impressed as I wanted to be.

Boom! is relying heavily on the nostalgia of the readers at this point, even going so far as to reprint old Charles Schulz strips in this book. I don’t know if they will be doing that once the regular ongoing starts, but it leads to something interesting in this book. Immediately following the classic strip where Woodstock’s nest is destroyed by a newspaper (after which Snoopy thinks to himself, “Actually, Woodstock probably shouldn’t have a paper delivered to his home…”) Vicki Scott has created a follow-up story entitled “Woodstock’s New Nest.” The story is cleverly done, but poorly paced. It may be the lack of dialogue (which is typical when we have a Woodstock and Snoopy-centric comic), but it seems to me that each page of the comic book Charles Schulz could have done in one or two three-panel strips. There are certainly more than three panels on the page, but much of the time it seems like it has been expanded out unnecessarily. The first story in the comic, “Carnival of the Animals” (which I remember the original strips the story is based on), is very well paced and funny, and has that genuinely Schulzian ending that I always love.

A Dog of Another Color

The pencilwork in this book is all very good, and while there are subtle differences between the modern art and the classic Schulz work, there are also plenty of differences between the really old Schulz stuff and the work from later in his career. The artists do a great job of capturing the iconic aspects of the characters, and the feel of the world Schulz created. My only problem with the art lies in the color palette, and the only reason I have a problem with that is because the classic strips and the modern stories are contained in the same book. The colors used for the modern work doesn’t always match up with the coloring in the classic strips, the most bothersome to me NOT being Charlie Brown’s change of shirt color, but actually the fact that they color Snoopy as being off-white, rather than being the same white as the background of the paper he’s printed on. I most likely wouldn’t have noticed, had I not had the classic strips to compare it to, but I really prefer Snoopy being the same white as the paper (which, ironically, is less work than making him off-white).

THE VERDICT: Definitely Worth Buying This Issue

This issue is only a dollar, and is easily accessible for both new and old Peanuts readers alike. The art is great, the writing is decent, and the bang for your buck is wonderful. There’s also a brief preview of the Peanuts graphic novel, which is also a good read. I recommend picking up a copy of Peanuts #0 at your local comic shop if they still have some in stock, and then if it’s to your liking, buy the ongoing once that starts coming out! Between this book and Snarked, Kaboom! is doing some great work for kids comics, and while the loss of the Disney properties is a bummer, it’s clear that Boom! Studios is looking ever forward. I’ll give Peanuts #0 3.5 out of 5 stars; they’re doing exactly what they should be with this 0 issue.

Rating: ★★★½☆