Friday, July 31, 2015
IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL, CHARLIE BROWN! is a collection of “Peanuts” strips that all have to do with school. The collection has strips from the 1950s – 1990s. Other than a few Peppermint Patty classroom rants, there really aren’t any storylines here and some of the strips are taken completely out of context but are included because they take place or have to do with school. Personally, I like the “Peanuts” collections best. However, for someone who isn’t all that familiar with “Peanuts” this is might peak their interest. It also makes a great gift book for a teacher.
BREAKING STEPHAN is a “Pearls Before Swine” collection that features strips that originally ran in newspapers from September 4, 2012 – June 2, 2013. The “Pearls” book covers are usually really entertaining and the cover for BREAKING STEPHAN continues that. It features a parody of the cable tv series, BREAKING BAD. Typical of “Pearls” humor, the book is filled with witty one-liners, bad puns, and extensive verbal gags. There are also several longer storylines. A few of the storylines featured in this collection include Guard Duck working at a radio station, Rat running for public office, and Larry the Croc job hunting. Some of my favorite storylines in this collection are the one where Andy the (Chained-up) Dog, breaks free and rushes to the hospital to see his dying dad, the one where the killer dolphins move into the neighborhood, and the one where Zebra decides to take a tropical vacation and it goes all wrong. There’s also lots of strips feature lemmings (I love those guys), an armadillo, and the return of a character that died years ago. Overall, BREAKING STEPHAN is another fine collection of “Pearls Before Swine” comic strips.
SURVIVAL OF THE FILTHIEST is a collection of “Get Fuzzy” strips that originally ran in newspapers from August 10, 2008-July 5, 2009. I seem to enjoy “Get Fuzzy” best when it’s involved in a long story-arc. The two story arcs in this collection that stick out to me most are when Bucky secedes from the United States and declares his closet to be the state of Buckyvania (that sets into motion an entire series of strips including a planned U.S. government takeover) and when Satchel hires some ghosthunters to bust some ghosts in the apartment. In addition to the usual hijinks, there are several strips dealing with the 2008 U.S. Presidential election and several soccer jokes. Overall, SURVIVAL OF THE FITHIEST is a solid collection of “Get Fuzzy” strips.
Presented in a graphic novel format, ME, THE PROFESSOR, FUZZY, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE is a book that examines in a very logical and straightforward way the case for Christianity. On occasion, the book delves into some rather complex issues (such as the laws of thermodynamics), but presents them in a way that most educated readers should be able to follow. I have heard many of the same arguments presented before, but not in the concise manner as they are represented in this book. I would recommend this for anyone who is searching. It is also a good book for those who already established in their faith. The only drawback I have with the book are that the illustrations are relatively subpar. I tend to read a lot of graphic novels and illustrated books, so I was a little disappointed by many of the illustrations (the book would be even more powerful if the author had a professional illustrator to work with instead of doing it all himself). With that said, ME, THE PROFESSOR, FUZZY, AND THE MEANING OF LIFE still does an excellent job of presenting a very logical and straightforward case for Christianity that is accessible to just about anyone.
First published in 1995, MAKE WAY FOR THE KING OF THE JUNGLE is a collection of “Peanuts” strips that features strips from the last 6-7 years of “Peanuts” original run. Overall, this collection features many of the usual “Peanuts” standbys: Snoopy being the WWI flying ace, the kite-eating tree, Linus & his security blanket, Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, Lucy in the psychiatrist’s booth, Charlie Brown playing baseball, and Snoopy and Woodstock partaking in various adventures. The book covers both Christmas & Valentine’s Day, too. Spike also shows up from time to time. However, personally, what I like best about these collections are the longer storylines and MAKE WAY FOR THE KING OF THE JUNGLE has one really good one that features Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown quits school to devote his life to making Snoopy happy. The story is kind of strange, yet very tenderhearted. Overall, although MAKE WAY FOR THE KING OF THE JUNGLE is a decent collection of “Peanuts” strips.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Charles Schulz incorporated sports into “Peanuts” strips. In SNOOPY’S TENNIS BOOK, Schulz gathers together a various strips featuring Snoopy playing tennis. The book includes an introduction by Billy Jean King. Some of the strips are part of a series (such as Snoopy being paired with Molly Volley in a doubles tournament), but many are just single offerings. About half-way through the book, there is a series of colored sketches that feature “Snoopy at Wimbledon.” The end of the book features “Snoopy’s Tournament Tips” that is a collection of 17 tips from Snoopy about playing in a tennis tournament. SNOOPY’S TENNIS BOOK is now more of a collector’s item, but it’s initial appeal is for fans of Snoopy and anyone who likes tennis.