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Peanuts 1955-1956 (Vol.3) (The Complete Peanuts)
ISBN 1560976470 / 9781560976479 / 1-56097-647-0
Publisher Fantagraphics Books
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In 1955-56, the Peanuts gang may have still been in first grade (or lower), but the characters continue to grow into their distinctive and unmistakable personalities. Snoopy overcomes some embarrassment to reveal his talent for impressions (wolf, rhino, alligator, kangaroo, Violet, etc.) and his joyous dance-the-day-away attitude. Linus adopts the same attitude ("Five hundred years from now, who'll know the difference?") and continues to show his genius in such diverse activities as square balloons, snow sculptures, and air sketches, even though he has to resort to wishful violence against his bullying sister. Lucy, now a ripe old 4, has to face such concerns as the Earth being worn down by people's feet and whether Santa exists. And already concerned about getting married, she tries to divert Schroeder's attention from Beethoven either by logic (what's the sense in learning Beethoven sonatas if you don't win a prize?), by sympathy ("My favorite piece is Bach's Toccata and Fugue in Asia Minor"), or by violence, and pulls away the football from Charlie Brown for the first time (December 1956). She also teaches her brother "little-known facts" about the world (palm trees were so named because people can fit their hand around them), which gives Charlie Brown stomach aches and formed part of the stage musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. But she'll never lose an argument as long as she can end it with a well-placed insult. Such is the misery of Charlie Brown, who also has to endure his failure to fly a kite, his complete failure on the baseball diamond, and misery during any holiday. That he does endure, however, makes him one of the heroes of our time. The third volume of Fantagraphics Books' handsome Complete Peanuts series includes a foreword by Matt Groening and a Charles M. Schulz retrospective by Gary Groth. --David Horiuchi [via]