Wednesday, October 15, 2003

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What you see here is the vaguely controversial cover for the first collection of Peanuts. Me, I like it. It's very classy looking, and I like the clean typography (not an admirer of the Raygun school of typesetting here) and understated colors, which (unconsciously, I'm sure) apes the color scheme of Linda Ronstadt's 1976 Greatest Hits Vol. 1 album. And, like someone said in the comments at Pulse, that drawing of Charlie Brown makes him look like he just got out of prison. Cracked me up.

And I do believe, conversely, that it might not catch the eye of the casual browser. It doesn't scream at anyone, nor is it garish and attention-getting. It's a low-key, almost reverent presentation, and while it does evoke a little bit of nostalgia for the time period, I do agree that it might not have been the best approach. But you know what? I don't care. I'm not gonna buy it anyway, mostly because I couldn't afford even when I had a job and sure as hell can't now, and I also ceased to care about the Peanuts daily strip at about, roughly, the year I got out of junior high. I think from the mid-70s on the strip became stale, formulaic, and shakily drawn, especially at the end. Even though I won't be purchasing, I think it will still sell in sufficient numbers to attract attention, thus ensuring shelf space at the Barnes and Nobleses and Borders of the world, and by extension attention for Fantagraphics as well as comics in general, which is what I believe most of us who care about these sorts of things care about in the first place- because, hellfire and damnation- it's still fricking Peanuts! People have heard of Peanuts! They know Peanuts! They love and fondly remember Peanuts, even though I'd bet it's more from the Halloween and Christmas TV specials that any particular set of strips. It's what they call in the biz a "pre-sold audience". Only if the Fantagraphics people are complete marketing incompetents, and I don't think they are, will this not be a success.

Well, that's what I think, anyway. Hey, I'm a graphic designer, or so my diploma says anyway, so I got an opinion too! And if people want something brighter, maybe they can still find some of those old Gospel According To... and Happiness Is... paperbacks somewhere.