CHARLES SCHULZ'S SCARCE EARLY PEANUTS COMICS: FIRST EDITIONS OF TIP TOP COMICS NOS. 173, 184, 185, 190
(SCHULZ, Charles M.). Tip Top Comics Nos. 173, 184, 185, and 190. [Peanuts]. (New York): United and St. John, (1954-55). Four issues. Octavo, staple-bound as issued, original pictorial paper wrappers, housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition of these four early comic book appearances of the Peanuts Gang—including their first appearance in Tip Top Comics (No. 173) and their first Tip Top cover (No. 185). Rare.
Begun in the late 1940s in Shulz's hometown newspaper, "Peanuts' characters quietly made their comic book debut simultaneously in the Mar/Apr, 1952 issues of TIP TOP COMICS #173 and UNITED COMICS #21… TIP TOP COMICS was a long running title stretching back to 1936 and lasting 225 issues to 1961. United Feature Syndicate published #1-188, St John published #189-210, and the last 15 issues #211-225, (1958-61) were published by Dell, featuring new story art 'not' by Charles Schulz… This title over its history featured Hal Foster's 'Tarzan,' 'Li'l Abner,' 'Fritzi Ritz,' 'Nancy,' 'The Captain and the Kids,' 'Peanuts'… We can state that the total TIP TOP COMICS appearances are: #173, #184-225… by #185 "Peanuts" was occasionally featured on the entire cover and inside received four full pages of daily and/or Sunday strip reprints" (Michael J. Vassallo). The Peanuts characters of this era are identifiable through their more toddler-like appearances and the simplicity of Schulz's art. Early Snoopy—first introduced in 1950—is particularly desirable. By the middle of the 1950s, Schulz had begun to perfect today's more familiar renditions of the Gang. Early price and "Not Returnable" stamp on cover of No. 173. Initials on covers of Nos. 184 and 190. Small date stamp on cover of No. 185.
No. 173 with a few tiny tears to interior, light wear and soiling to extremities, and single tape repair to front wrapper verso; No. 184 with only faint shallow dampstain to edge; No. 185 with light wear to extremities not affecting Peanuts cover illustration; No. 190 with only slightest rubbing to wrappers. A beautiful and scarce set in near-fine to about-fine condition overall.