Coming in October is issue 22 of the Kaboom! Peanuts comic book, which the publisher describes thusly: When stars fill the skies, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus must seek out the one star that can be called Charlie Brown’s own. “Charlie Brown’s Star” and many more brand-new adventures like “Dogstoyefsky” and “Sally’s Great Pumpkin” can be found in this exciting issue of Peanuts.
Last week, I got a copy of a Peanuts book I’d not heard of before, called A Friend Is…. Yesterday, I got a copy of a Peanuts book I’d not heard of before, called A Friend Is…., and no, I did not buy the same book twice.
In the 1970s, Hallmark put out a mess of little hardcovers meant to be mailed as high-end greeting cards. I’m still trying to work out all of what volumes exist. This one, A Friend Is…, was part of Hallmark’s “Thoughtfulness Library” line, which included many non-Peanuts books as well.
This is an “adages” book, not unlike Happiness is a Warm Puppy and such things. Each spread has text on the left, talking about friendship, and a full color, relevant illustration of Snoopy and Woodstock on the right. It’s a cute but minor little item. It cost a buck, back in the day. Now, it’s on the shelf next to a bunch of other examples of this line, in the AAUGH.com Reference Library.
And a few days after receiving that, from an eBay auction, I’m out shopping at the local Dollar Tree, when I find a stash of Peanuts coloring books. They’re the same line that I discussed in 2011, only with some new titles added with 2014 copyright dates, and the publishing imprint having been changed from Dalmation Press to Bendon. In among them is A Friend Is…, which gives images and descriptions of what a friend is not on facing pages (because who wants a coloring book where half the pages are just text), but with that descriptor under the images. (It, too, cost a buck, but a 2014 buck instead of a 1972 buck.)
Now, should you think it odd that you live in a world where there are two seemingly unrelated Peanuts books that nonetheless have the same title and basically same concept with being an apparent intentional copying of the content, well, then all I can do to assuage your concern is to show you this 2005 British book, published by Ravette:
There are many things that I do wrong in this world. One of the things that I do right is to give out comics at Halloween; they are popular, they don’t cause cavities, they encourage reading. And this year, I get to give out some Peanuts comics in the mix. In recent years, the comic book industry has been offering special mini-comics for giving to trick-or-treaters, sold in packs of 20 with a list price of $4.99. Most comic shops don’t carry these for sale, you have to preorder… right about now. And one of the books this year is put out by Boom!, and includes short stories from Peanuts, Adventure Time, and Fraggle Rock. Other ones available include Betty&Veronica, Angry Birds, and Plants Vs. Zombies. Some publishers do well by it, others have sometimes just run the first 16 pages of an issue, cutting off mid-story… but certainly with Peanuts, they have short stories to use, the same with some of the other ones (and the Archie/Betty&Veronica ones are usually new stories done just for these Halloween packs.) Alas, the major superhero publishers just stay out of it altogether, so there are no little Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman or Avengers comic to give out. If you’d like to be slipping kids comics this year, you can stop by your local comic shop and ask them to order some for you, but do it soon, as they’re about to finalize their monthly orders.. Or you can do what I’m about to do, order them from an online shop. This link should take you to a listing of all seven available titles for this year. (Note, that is not a sponsored link in any way.)
Added later: BEFORE YOU CLICK THROUGH on that link, you might want to click through here; Westfield seems to be running a half-off-list-price-for-your-first-order promotion. They limit it in various ways, so I don’t know if it applies to the minicomics packs, and they limit it to one per item… but it’s worth trying!