More on Polish Peanuts

I got good reaction to my post on the traced Peanuts books from Poland, so I’ve done a bit more research. It looks like the three volumes of this set (that’s all there were, three) were the first Peanuts books ever in Poland… and the last for a couple of decades. There was not another Peanuts book there until 2007, well after the end of Communism there. They’ve now got a few books in print, including the start of The Complete Peanuts.

I also want to make it clear that while some of the tracing is awkward, some of it isn’t too bad. It’s clear that there was well-intended effort put into the work, as when handling the opening panel from this 1975 Sunday strip:

It would’ve been easy to simply skip that panel, but instead, the adapters put the time in:

It ain’t Schulz, but it works for what it is. In general, I’m happy with the lettering on this odd item, preferring it to many modern translations which use computer fonts for all the lettering, deadening the liveliness of what was originally achieved. Particularly with the existence of a Schulz handwriting font, it’s very tempting for a publisher to use that for dialogue, but even that font creates a very mechanical feeling, losing much of the subtlety that is possible with hand-lettering. (I’ll admit to using a Schulz handwriting font for the collection Schulz’s Youth, but in that case I wasn’t dealing with material that was originally hand-lettered; the font added a bit of life in contrast to the standard typesetting fonts that the work had originally been laden with, I felt.)

Sadly, computer lettering has taken over the comic book field; there is much to be said for its convenience, but it never achieves the greatness of the best hand lettering.

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