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The Comics of Charles Schulz - The Good Grief of Modern Life

The Comics of Charles Schulz

The Good Grief of Modern Life

Edited by Jared Gardner & Ian Gordon
Series: Critical Approaches to Comics Artists Series
Tom Inge Series on Comics Artists

Paperback : 9781496818478, 234 pages, 27 b&w illustrations, April 2018
Hardcover : 9781496812896, 234 pages, 27 b&w illustrations, July 2017

An unparalleled gathering of research devoted to one of the world's most influential comic strips


With contributions by Leonie Brialey, MJ Clarke, Roy T. Cook, Joseph J. Darowski, Ian Gordon, Gene Kannenberg Jr. , Christopher P. Lehman, Anne C. McCarthy, Ben Owen, Lara Saguisag, Ben Saunders, Jeffrey O. Segrave, and Michael Tisserand

The Comics of Charles Schulz collects new essays on the work of the creator of the immensely popular Peanuts comic strip. Despite Schulz's celebrity, few scholarly books on his work and career have been published. This collection serves as a foundation for future study not only of Charles Schulz (1922-2000) but, more broadly, of the understudied medium of newspaper comics.

Schulz's Peanuts ran for a half century, during which time he drew the strip and its characters to express keen observations on postwar American life and culture. As Peanuts' popularity grew, Schulz had opportunities to shape the iconography, style, and philosophy of modern life in ways he never could have imagined when he began the strip in 1950. Edited by leading scholars Jared Gardner and Ian Gordon, this volume ranges over a spectrum of Schulz's accomplishments and influence, touching on everything from cartoon aesthetics to the marketing of global fast food. Philosophy, ethics, and cultural history all come into play. Indeed, the book even highlights Snoopy's global reach as American soft power.

As the broad interdisciplinary range of this volume makes clear, Peanuts offers countless possibilities for study and analysis. From many perspectives--including childhood studies, ethnic studies, health and exercise studies, as well as sociology--The Comics of Charles Schulz offers the most comprehensive and diverse study of the most influential cartoonist during the second half of the twentieth century.


"This valuable volume of essays on Schulz’s work reminds us of the importance of going back repeatedly to those deceptively simple strokes of the pencil in search of the new insights they can still hold for us. "

- Nikola Novaković, Libri & Liberi: Journal of Research on Children’s Literature and Culture

"Over half a century after its debut, Charles Schulz's deceptively sophisticated Peanuts art continues to impact readers and cultures worldwide. Gardner and Gordon's The Comics of Charles Schulz treats Schulz's iconic property with the sophistication and care it deserves. At once insightful and enjoyable, the volume is a valuable addition not just to an understanding of Peanuts but also to comics studies, literary analysis, and beyond. "

- Stephen J. Lind, author of A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz

"Charles M. Schulz, many of us believe, was the greatest cartoonist of the twentieth century, but it is inarguable that the characters in his comic strip, Peanuts, have become icons of American culture. Just how powerful and influential they were can be partially measured by the lucid and thoughtful essays in this intelligently edited volume in the Critical Approaches to Comics Artists Series. They set a high standard for the critical analyses and scholarly appreciations sure to follow. "

- M. Thomas Inge, author or editor of many volumes, including My Life with Charlie Brown and Charles M. Schulz: Conversations