Friday, January 03, 2014

"Who Messed With Charles Schulz' Drawings?" or "THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PEANUTS … In Cinemascope"

Above: the cover to THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PEANUTS, which has more art and expanded panels than when the strips first appeared. PEANUTS © Peanuts Worldwide LLC.

Here's a 1971 collection of 1950s era PEANUTS comic strips … but they are all wrong. They have been wrong for decades.

All of them have been altered!

These strips are in a completely different aspect ratio than when they first appeared. Everyone knows that PEANUTS is in a square. These panels are rectangular. Word balloons have been changed, backgrounds added, etc.

Here's a picture of the first couple of panels from the July 8, 1952 daily PEANUTS strip. This photo if from the first volume of THE COMPLETE PEANUTS:

I forgot. The entire strip is over at GoComics. Heck, all of the PEANUTS strips can be found there.

Okay, here's the way it originally appeared:

And here's that same strip from THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PEANUTS. You can see that the borders have been scrubbed, and additional background details are now inked in.

So … it's kinda like the strip went from old and boxy, like TV used to be, to a new, widescreen format.

It must have been an experiment. Most of the PEANUTS paperbacks I saw just stagger the panels, one on top of another. Maybe one of the panel borders will be erased. But I've never seen the strips reformatted like in the THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF PEANUTS.

It begs the question: WHO DID THIS?

Who changed these strips? Who added details to the panels?

One guess is that Schulz himself took this on. But maybe one of the guys who ghosted Dell's comic book -- a guy like Jim Sasseville -- put this together (under Mr. Schulz' supervision, of course).

Well, if anyone knows, let me know.

In the meantime, here's some ads and the back cover just for fun:


James Langdell said...

And here's the sheet music to Sinding's Op. 32 No. 3, better known as "Voices Of Spring" (or the "One Grecian Urn" music from "The Music Man"). Yup, that is the last half of the tenth measure.

Anonymous said...

A few quick notes:

1) While your copy of Wonderful World Of Peanuts is from 1971 or later, the book was first published sometime in the 1960s (someday, I'll have to chase down all those dates.) Earlier versions don't have the ads that you have.
2) As noted on the cover, the book is volume 1 of selected strips from More Peanuts. However, in More Peanuts they are presented in more traditional form (two strips to a page, each presented as two rows of two panels).
3) There is a volume 2 of selected strips from More Peanuts, entitled Hey, Peanuts!. The strips are widescreen there as well. (There is also a double-volume book which has Wonderful World on one side then has Hey, Peanuts if you flip it over; this means that this book has all or almost all of the strips from More Peanuts, but in widescreen.)