Unseen Peanuts

Fantagraphics has released more information on their Free Comic Book Day offering, promoting their Complete Peanuts line of books. This is an interesting historical event, it turns out, and it’s always neat to hear more about the history behind the previously unreprinted strips. Press release follows.

Unseen Peanuts

For the first time in more than 40 years, good ol’ Charlie Brown and the entire PEANUTS gang will be featured in the traditional American comic book format, when Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books publishes THE UNSEEN PEANUTS. The last issue of Gold Key Publishing’s PEANUTS series, published in 1964, sold for 12 cents. On May 5, 2007, when THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is released, the price will be… FREE!

THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is one of the most exciting offerings in this year’s sixth annual Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). As the name implies, FCBD is a single day when participating independent comic book shops in the United States and some 25 other countries around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. This year Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 5th.

Several years after the passing of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, PEANUTS continues to be the world’s most popular comic strip, appearing in more than 1500 newspapers worldwide, with literally hundreds of collections having been published in the last 50 years.

Despite its seemingly ubiquitous status, hundreds and hundreds of PEANUTS strips, after their initial appearance in the daily or Sunday papers, have never been reprinted. Fantagraphics Books THE COMPLETE PEANUTS has been rectifying this, and THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is a special collection of over 100 of these rare strips. Fantagraphics will be presenting some of the most amusing and interesting “lost” strips that were “saved” by the first seven volumes of the COMPLETE PEANUTS (Vol. 7, although not released, will be out by the time THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is distributed), and in addition will also be previewing “lost” strips from the upcoming eighth book — strips that have NEVER appeared anywhere else since being originally published in daily newspapers four decades ago!

THE UNSEEN PEANUTS works as both a great introduction of the strip to new readers and as a fascinating trove of rarities to surprise and delight even the most diligent PEANUTS fan. It’s a perfect PEANUTS sampler for both neophyte and old hand, and an eye-opening “gateway” into the delights of the best-selling COMPLETE PEANUTS series.

2007 also marks the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of original PEANUTS material in comic books (in Dell’s Nancy issue 146), and the 55th anniversary of the first appearance of PEANUTS in comic books at all (strip reprints in an issue of Tip-Top). THE UNSEEN PEANUTS is a wonderful and surprising addition to Charles M. Schulz’s brilliant legacy in the comics.


15 Responses to “Unseen Peanuts”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I’m enjoying the Complete Peanuts books. I think this is an excellent way to advertise the books and show people what they’re missing. I wish there was commentary explaining or spectulating on why Schultz left some strips unprinted. I know a few are jokes that just didn’t work, but what about the rest? They is also a great way to see sample how the strip and characters evolved over time.

  2. Barry Says:

    One of my problems about Free Comic Book Day is that I don’t live within close driving distance to a comic store and it’s usually on a Saturday (my store is near my office). So I always miss it and then miss the books, which are always gone by Monday with no restocks available. Understanding that these books are supposed to lure in new readers, I would be more than happy to pay full price for a book like The Unseen Peanuts and would hope that Publishers would recognize that there might be others who would do the same. But that would require them to get past their usual short-sightedness and that never seems to be the case.

  3. David Oakes Says:

    If you can’t get a copy of a FCBD book, it’s not the Publisher’s fault, it’s your comic shop’s. The shops pay for the quote-unquote “FREE” books, and place orders for them just like any other. Tell them you want a book, and that you are willing to pay for it, and they should be more than happy to order an extra one and hold it for you.

    Either that, or they really shouldn’t be in business. Much less one as dependant on constant customer good will as weekly comics.

  4. Barry Says:

    I’ll ask the comic shop to save me a copy, but I do think it behooves the publishers to make their FCBD-content exclusive books available beyond just that day, in some form or another, such as when Oni Press and Bryan Lee O’Malley posted their Scott Pilgrim FCBD story online. While it’s important for retailers to maintain customer goodwill, I don’t think that stops at the publisher’s door either.

  5. Johanna Says:

    You hit on an interesting problem, Barry — ideally, FCBD books would be of interest ONLY to new readers, but many of them are clearly aimed at existing readers. Or are just very neat for any audience.You don’t want to chase new readers at the expense of annoying current customers, so it can be tough to juggle.

  6. Sebastian Says:

    I’ll add this from a non-US customer’s viewpoint:

    Over here (in Germany) most import shops won’t take part in FCBD because it would only lose them money (cost for the books, extra cost for shipping, orders only in large increments, next to no promotional effect). Every year I have trouble finding a shop that will a) get the FCBD books I’m interested in (mostly silver and bronze, not gold sponsor titles) and b) be willing to mail them to me (book cost, shipping and handling paid by me).

    It would be great if any store would be allowed to order single copies of the FCBD books (as far as I know that isn’t possible at the moment… each participating retailer has to take a certain minimum number of FCBD books). Then I could just order the ones I want at my LCS and buy them there.

  7. David Oakes Says:

    Um, Fantagraphics *is* making ther material in “Unseen Peanuts” available: it’s a sampler of material gleaned from their “Complete Peanuts” volumes.

    And yes, in a perfect world, the material would be made instantly available to anyone who wants it, in any form. For free, even. But in the end, it’s an ad: “If you like these, try the rest!” Just like all the other FCBD offerings. If you want the material, buy the book. But don’t act like the Publisher is sticking it to you by not providing even more free samples.

    I would like to see the Spider-Man reprints that Marvel is giving away. But I am too cheap to buy a paper, so I can’t. ANd I don;t have the right to demand they make them available some other way, because part of the promotion is to get me to try the paper. Just like part of FCBD is to get people to try their local comic book shop. You already have a shop, and again, they should be able to provide you with a copy if you ask, or you should get a new shop. (If you don’t have a shop, and you can’t get to one on FCBD, OK, that’s a problem. But the solution isn’t giving away comics any day you ask for them, either. Comic shops can’t afford that much good will.)

  8. Barry Says:

    Sebastian’s post reminded me that a few years ago I e-mailed AdHouse’s Chris Pitzer to find out if I could purchase any FCBD books from him and he not only sent me his own book free of charge, he also sent along a few others. Now I realize that most publishers, especially the larger ones, would never do that, but it endeared me forever to Chris and AdHouse.

  9. Barry Says:

    Okaaayyy – you’ve been nothing but dismissive, condescending and argumentative about any of the points I’m trying to make, so I’ll drop it right here. Thanks for listening. Or not. And reminding me of why I hate posting on message board/comments threads.

  10. Johanna Says:

    David, you’re scaring the nice people. Stop it. I appreciate your point, but I do think you expressed it somewhat too harshly.

    Barry, please don’t let David get to you. He means well, usually.

  11. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    The whole reason behind Free Comic Book Day is to bring new people into brick and mortar comic book stores. That is why the comics aren’t available to individuals for purchase (although there are on-line sellers that do offer them, despite Diamond’s claims that they try to prevent this). When Joe Field came up with the idea and approached Diamond, it was purely to be a brick and mortar event, something that stores could really rally around and market and use to bring new readers into their stores. As a store owner, it is not only that, but also a nice way to get existing customers to expand their horizons and try some stuff for free that they will hopefully like enough to spend money on in the future. The publishers are not supposed to make these available outside of the event because doing so undermines what Diamond intended when the event was created and would, I have no doubt, make retailers who invest their time and money into the event, rather angry. It is not really supposed to be about giving books away as much as it is about getting people to buy comics.

    Yes, it would be nice to have some of those Peanuts strips in a more affordable format, but Fantagraphics has chosen to publish them in hard cover formats. While they are more expensive than a comic book would be, I think they are great, and even won an Eisner. David is right, the books are available and the FCBD one is only something to use to make new and old comics buyers aware of the books and interested in buying the books. It is not intended to give people something free or inexpensive that they can substitute for the purchase of the larger work.

  12. STWALLSKULL » Interesting Links: March 21, 2007 Says:

    […] Unseen Peanuts […]

  13. Alan Coil Says:

    Barry—

    If you are still reading this thread, don’t take it personally that you didn’t get much of a response. Many of my posts here and elsewhere get no response either. It’s a function of who knows you, what you say, and if anybody remembered to check back in after they posted.
    ——–
    I think the online sellers should also be able to get the FCBD comics, as the purpose seems to be to increase readership.

  14. Johanna Says:

    Alan, it could also be that a great point, well expressed, doesn’t leave much to say in response… take it as a compliment. :)

  15. Miles Says:

    Hats off to Fantagraphics for their amazing work on the Peanuts series!
    But, I must say that several of the strips designated as “never before collected”- were. Maybe they didn’t show up in Peanuts Parade books, but I have stacks of odd volumes with titles like Peanuts Revisited, Ha Ha Herman Charlie Brown, The Unsinkable Charlie Brown, etc., etc, and they often threw in odd strips that hadn’t been published the first time around. For instance, the full “Linus runs for school president” series certainly has been collected before, because I own it:-) But it really doesn’t matter, ultimately- and I await POGO with bated breath!




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