Kaboom!’s Peanuts: Would Sparky approve?

5

October 29, 2012 by shepla

Copyright 2012 Peanuts Worldwide, LLC

My all-time favorite childhood comic was Peanuts. I had Peanuts sheets, Peanuts coloring books, a Snoopy toothbrush, Snoopy alarm clock, Snoopy watch, and many, many Peanuts books, which I read over and over again.

As an adult, I have mixed feelings about the Schulz family’s decision to allow new Peanuts stories, because I believe that Charles M. Schulz was very much against the idea of anyone besides himself working on them. According to his February 14, 2000 obituary published in The New York Times:

He swore that no one else would ever draw the comic strip and he kept his word….As Mr. Schulz got older he began to think about the end of his strip. His hand quavered, but he knew that he did not want anyone else to draw the cartoon. ”Everything has to end,” he once said. ”This is my excuse for existence. No one else will touch it.”

I attended a Peanuts panel at Comic-Con a few years back and heard Schultz’s widow Jeannie talk about the importance of keeping the Peanuts characters alive and relevant to today’s kids–and so we now have new Peanuts stories written and illustrated by people other than Schulz.

I’d absolutely be the first person to rip these new creations to shreds, but I have to admit that some of them are very good. In Peanuts #3: The Election Issue, my favorite is “Accidental Candidate” by Vicki Scott.

Frieda’s campaign hinges on having naturally curly hair and liking cats. Copyright 2012 Peanuts Worldwide, LLC

Charlie Brown accidentally volunteers to run for class president, and when Linus suggests an elected official can change things for the better and make a true difference in the world, Charlie Brown decides he can change how dogs are treated, and wants them to be able to stay on the playground during recess. However, Frieda is running against him and representing the “cat ticket.” The election ends up being boys (and dogs) against girls (and cats) in a story that’s cute, funny, and totally in keeping with Schulz’s classic pre-80s body of work.

Unfortunately, the rest of the issue–other than a two one-page original Schulz strips and another page of Schulz drawings and quotes–isn’t as strong. And the whole thing is just 22 pages, which for $3.99 plus tax is pretty pricey. But since it’s not as pricey as getting the awesome collector’s volumes from Fantagraphics, maybe this is the best way to reach a new generation of fans after all.

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5 thoughts on “Kaboom!’s Peanuts: Would Sparky approve?

  1. Priscilla says:

    No, but it may reassure young gays that they are not a misfit.

  2. Is there any chance that “Accidental Candidate” is based on “You’re Not Elected Charlie Brown”?

    • shepla says:

      Nope, the story and pencils are attributed to Vicki Scott. “You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown” actually had Linus running for student body president, and he loses when he mentions the Great Pumpkin in his speech. That reminds me–I better get out to the pumpkin patch to wait for his arrival! ;-p Happy Halloween!

  3. Stephen C. says:

    I’ve no doubt that Schulz would NOT approve, but that doesn’t mean I don’t. He was very protective of the strip and I believe even images on Peanuts merchandise were either drawn by him or taken from the strip. There are a few rare instances where other cartoonists drew Peanuts characters. I think there were a few early comic books illustrated by other people, and Al Plastino was asked to produce a handful of Peanuts strips unbeknownst to Schulz when the syndicate was considering having Plastino ghost the strip in the early ’80s. Those strips were never published. I really don’t see the harm in letting other cartoonists produce new Peanuts comics if people want to read them. I definitely prefer that to what Kaboom did with that Linus graphic novel they published last year, which was to repurpose a bunch of Schulz’s old strips to fit the comic book format. I’m surprised that the Schulz family is allowing this, though. After he died they were the ones most vocally against someone else continuing the strip.

  4. dan says:

    Shepla,

    This is a nice article but unfortunately you’ve gotten your facts wrong. While it’s true that Schulz didn’t want others to draw his comic STRIP he never had any problem with others writing and drawing new stories for comic BOOKS. In fact, he allowed many artists to write and draw hundreds of comic books throughout the 1950s and 60s. He also had a fulltime artist by the name of Nick Lobianco draw most if not all of the Peanuts licensing art from the 70s on.

    http://www.comicartville.com/peanutscomics.htm

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