Peanuts enters its final decade, and The Complete Peanuts enters its homestretch, with material that is perhaps the most overlooked of Schulz’s career and soon to be reconsidered by scholars with this volume. Schulz’s cartooning has never looked more confident, and his sense of humor never more unrestrained.
Love takes many shapes and shades in The Complete Peanuts 1991-1992. Charlie Brown's interest in the Little Red-Haired Girl is rekindled; Linus fails to impress Lydia; Sally hoorays for Hollywood; Marcie pines for the World War I Flying Ace, who becomes lost in his cups (of root beer); Peppermint Patty and Marcie try to make Charlie Brown choose between them; and Snoopy is dangerously obsessed... with cookies.
This volume also includes an introduction by Tom Tomorrow, author of the comic "This Modern World."
Just like previous years, Volume 21 will also be available in a box set with Volume 22 (1993-1994) when that book is released in autumn.
You can read a PDF excerpt of The Compete Peanuts 1991-1992, see a photo slideshow, and order the book from Fantagraphics' website.
What's the same: Of course and most importantly, the paperback edition includes all the daily and Sunday comics from the very first years of Peanuts (although the Sunday strip didn't start until January 1952). It also retains the introduction by Garrison Keillor and a ten-page biographical overview of Charles Schulz's life and work by biographer David Michaelis. The dimensions of the book are essentially the same as the hardcover edition (8.25" x 6.5").
What's different: The softcover has a new cover, and inside it's less ornate - it doesn't feature the nifty interstitial and end pages designed by Seth for the hardcover volumes, and the spot illustrations that accompany Keillor's and Michaelis' pieces are different. An interview with Charles Schulz conducted by Rick Marschall that was in the hardback isn't included in the new softcover (although that interview wasn't actually original to the hardback, it was a reprint from a magazine). A puzzling change is the month and year indicating when the comics were first published are no longer present along the bottom of the book's pages - which is unfortunate, since Fantagraphics has always removed the copyright dates from the strips themselves. Thus one cannot easily tell which year the comics on any given page came from!
Finally, the paperback edition is somewhat cheaper with a list price of $22.99 (the hardback edition's list price is $29.99).
A softcover version of the second Compete Peanuts volume, which collects the years 1953-1954, is due out this fall. Like their hardback counterparts, there will a box set paring both paperback volumes together.
(And in case you're wondering: the hardback versions of the books remain in print, at present they aren't being replaced by the softcover versions.)
Visit Fantagraphics' website to read a PDF excerpt of The Compete Peanuts 1950-1952 paperback edition, see video and photo slideshow, and order the book.