Review by Woodrow Phoenix
Peanuts Every Sunday: 1956-1960 is the second in a series of ten big hardcover volumes, each containing a half-decade’s worth of Peanuts Sunday strips by Charles M Schulz. While the Sunday strips are available in black and white in the Complete Peanuts volumes, this is the first time they have been reprinted in full colour since their initial publication in Sunday newspapers fifty years ago. The line art has been carefully restored, and then “re-mastered” to match the original published versions. The new colouring by Joanne Bagge is based on original Sunday paper tear sheets. The slightly muted tones are supposed to duplicate the feel of the strips as originally printed on newsprint – no bright whites, but everything subtly greyer and yellower for a mellow, golden appearance.
This second volume is fifty pages longer than the first, and features a lot of beautifully drawn, very funny strips that show Charlie Brown completing his transition to the neurotic loser. In the page of Sunday February 23, 1958 he is cruelly mocked and taunted by one person after another, and on arriving home he turns on the radio to hear it say “…and what, in all this world is more delightful than the gay wonderful laughter of little children?” He kicks the radio as hard as he can. Meanwhile, Snoopy completes his transition to sleeping on top of his doghouse and expresses his outsize personality in any number of ways, from becoming boxing champion with a glove on his nose, to battling Linus for his blanket and excelling at playing second base on the baseball team. The large size of these books, over twice as large as the Complete Peanuts collections, really showcases the art beautifully, and fans of Peanuts will find these completely delightful to spend hours poring over. This volume is introduced by author and journalist Chuck Klosterman, and there is a short biography of Schulz by Gary Groth.
This volume is also available bundled with the first Peanuts Every Sunday:1952–1955 in a big slipcased edition as the Peanuts Every Sunday: The 1950s Gift Box Set. There is no additional material, purely a packaging of two books into one box – but it’s a great way to get both books if you don’t have them, in one very nicely designed, very sturdy box.