October 29, 2012 by shepla
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.
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.