“Peanuts” #1 isn’t a bad comic; it just isn’t exactly a good comic. It’s certainly not a great comic. Bashing a kids comic feels like a cheap shot. It isn’t.
Decades ago, Charles M. Schulz was the overlord and driving force behind “Peanuts.” Now, to come back with new creators, something feels off. It’s almost blasphemous. I’m happy to report this book doesn’t feel like some sort of cold shill to raise money. The creative teams just want to make “Peanuts” tales and they generally succeed. The problem is, we’ve seen it all before. And we’ve seen it just that bit better.
It should not be forgotten that nearly all thoughts of “Peanuts,” especially by those who love it, are viewed through the rose tinted bifocals of nostalgia. This was a good comic strip and it certainly had a following, but it wasn’t “Watchmen.” Hell, it wasn’t “Calvin & Hobbes.” “Peanuts” is bland fun and so is this issue. I don’t think the creators on this book, who all try, had any other form of option available to them. It would be fun to see “Peanuts” reimagined as an independent comic of looser style, but the purists would come a-lynching. You could update the time period, or age the kids, but what would be the point? The only way to do this comic was the exact way it was always done – and that process comes through the wayback machine from half a century ago. There wasn’t a massive opportunity for this to succeed today.
In saying all that, there is charm in these tales where Lucy shines through as the annoying little princess she immortally has been, and Snoopy gets some slapstick action. The “How To Draw Charlie Brown” segment hosted by Lucy was a fun departure from the predictable tone of the rest of the issue because the form was opened up and we saw the “Peanuts” schtick through a new setting. There should be more like this and less tales that try to emulate the sounds of the past and thus don’t resonate loud enough in the present.
You could buy “Peanuts” for a little kid you know and they might enjoy it. Maybe you could buy it for a “Peanuts” completist; they might ignore its complacent faults. The effort of putting this comic together would have been much better spent creating a new all ages comic, something aimed for the here and now, and shoving that into kids’ hands. Instead we get something that will live, and die, in the purgatory between kids who don’t care and adults who might want to but truthfully won’t.