Books: Suffer the Little Children

How did a comic strip about a depressed kid become a cultural icon? Find out in The Complete Peanuts

Charlie Brown tried to kick a football for the first time in November 1951. He ran, his tongue out to show his determination, and then ... disaster. In the final frame, his tormentor stands over his supine form. But it's not Lucy; it's Violet. Where's Lucy? And who, for that matter, is Violet?

Little anomalies like that are among the many pleasures of The Complete Peanuts (Fantagraphics; 343 pages), the initial volume of an extraordinary publishing project that over the next 12 years will reprint the entire run--50 years and 18,170 strips--of Charles Schulz's towering comic-strip masterpiece. The Complete Peanuts will...

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