Snoopy vs. the Red Baron

Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron
Fantagraphics Books
Written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz

Coinciding with the release this week of The Peanuts Movie (not seen yet, though my ruminations on the kids novelization are here), Fantagraphics Books, the publishers of the Complete Peanuts, has published a collection of all of the Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace comic strips.

Rather the publish the strips chronologically, the strips are grouped into three broad themes — daily storylines, random daily appearances, and Sunday strips.

The presentation is nice. It’s similar to the format of Complete Peanuts with three strips to a page with Sundays taking a full page. It’s shorter than I thought it would have been, just 200 pages. I assumed there were more Snoopy vs. the Red Baron strips than that.

If I have one objection, the strips are undated. Though I can roughly tell (to within five years) when various strips were published (thanks to things like Schulz’s art style and the panel size and layout), it would have been nice if each strip (or storyline) had dates provided.

Now that I think about it, an introduction or essay on the popularity of the World War I Flying Ace and related merchandise wouldn’t have been at all inappropriate. The World War I is the most famous and most significant of Snoopy’s many personas, so a discussion of why Schulz created the persona and kept returning to it would have been a wonderful addition to this book.

Those objections aside, it’s nice to have all of the World War I Flying Ace strips in a single place. Perhaps Fantagraphics could follow this with other themed collections, like Snoopy as the Great American Writer.