If you’re anything like me, you probably remember Peanuts a bit more fondly for its television specials, than the comic strip that spawned a nostalgic empire. But it’s the comics that started it, and now, thanks to BOOM!’s kaboom! Imprint for kids, it’s the comics that will continue the legacy of Charles M. Schulz.
Kicking that off? A brand new series of short strips and comic books, as well as a full length graphic novel adaptation of “Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown!” But first, there’s PEANUTS #0, which previews the OGN, as well as providing a look at strips new and old.
It’s a little jarring at first to read new Peanuts comics, particularly as the ones in this cheap, one dollar collection eschew the four panel format, for more modern comic book layouts. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t see Peppermint Patty looking directly at the viewer, or Linus getting into a world-shattering fight with Pigpen (sadly). But seeing a five panel structure on the page is a bit weird at first, and certainly changes the rhythm of even a Sunday strip dramatically.
Thankfully, there’s those classic strips here in the issue to serve as a comparison point… And both in pacing and tone, these new looks at the characters fit right in to Schulz’s sweet, anachronistic look at childhood. I wasn’t totally in love with the first story, which pitted Charlie Brown against his old nemesis Lucy – but when compared to an older strip, the voices – and distinct lack of clear jokes, for better or worse are consistent… And at least there isn’t a weird undertone of misogyny like there is in the follow up. The Snoopy/Woodstock strip is much better, even if it, similarly, ends in a slightly disturbing place.
But then, that’s the genius of Schulz: childhood adventures rarely tie up in a satisfying way. They’re frequently weird, unexplainable, and meandering, and with exceptions, that’s what Peanuts channels. It’s not goofy fun (though it sometimes is), it’s at its best capturing loneliness, and moments of isolation and stillness. For an adult, that’s a weird experience to have in a comic book. For kids? It might feel like somewhere out there understands them.
You can find out for yourself with the Zero issue hits stands on November 2nd, but until then, here’s a preview: