The Complete Peanuts: 1967 to 1968

By 1967, Charles Schulz's Peanuts was grossing over $20 million per year. The comic strip's ancillary products extended from animated specials to pillows to the bestseller Happiness Is a Warm Puppy. Some of this outsized success shaped the strip in these years -- the super-marketable Snoopy took over, and its seasonal rythyms became predictable: in fall, Lucy and the football inexorably yielded to the Great Pumpkin and Beethoven's birthday. But Schulz was nevertheless still a comic genius in his prime, exploring the topography of his melancholy humor and finding new ways to humiliate Charlie Brown on the baseball mound. (The best: Snoopy takes over as a manager, and proves to have a short fuse, delivering violent kicks to his underperforming players.) This ninth impeccable volume in the Peanuts collection from Fantagraphics also marks the introduction of Franklin, the strip's first African-American character, whose dad, we soon discover, is in Vietnam. Encumbered with all this baggage, Franklin never really became funny, but he nevertheless lingered in the strip's ensemble for decades. Franklin did get one great straight line early on, when he encountered Lucy's psychiatric booth for the first time, initially mistaking it for a lemonade stand. "Are you a real doctor?" he asked her. Lucy's response: "Was the lemonade ever any good?"

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.