My latest find, courtesy of a remaindered book store, is Peanuts Classic Library, a boxed set of four hardcover strip reprint volumes, each focused on a different section of the early years – volums for 1950-1954, 1955-58, 1959-1963, and 1964-1967. If you’re surprised that you haven’t heard of this, don’t be – it’s an Australian set.
The books are printed in full color… but the strips themselves (either two dailies or five Sundays to a page) are in black and white. Now, the remaindered book shop sells all books for half of their original cover price, which proved a bit of a problem in this case, as it didn’t have a cover price (and even if it did, it would be in Australian dollars. So they looked it up, and charged me $15 for the whole set. Sounds like a great deal, right? Until you open up one of the books and discover they are each a mere 24 pages, only 23 of them with strips. There’s not 100 pages of strips across the whole set.
And who could this set really be for? With books that short, you assume they are aimed at kids… but would kids really want books structured by the “classic era” of the strip, rather than, say, a book of Snoopy strips and one of Lucy strips? And even if they were wanting such classic selections, why would you choose, say, the strip where Linus is shocked by the maturation of Annette Funicello, Did the Australian youth of 2015 (when this set was published) have a particular knowledge of this star of the late-1950s Mickey Mouse Club television show?
This is Peanuts. This is good Peanuts (because, after all, it’s Peanuts)…. but presented in a curious and suboptimal format.