AAUGH.com news: Peanuts Christmas review

* ANOTHER EDITION I CAN’T OFFER YOU

* SCHULZ COLLABORATOR INTERVIEW ONLINE

* REVIEW: A PEANUTS CHRISTMAS

* BEWARE THE CHRISTMAS FLEECE

* IT’S A HARDCOVER, CHARLIE BROWN

ANOTHER EDITION I CAN’T OFFER YOU

Barnes & Noble has published a new paperback edition of
PEANUTS TREASURY, a collection of primo strips that was
first offered in 1968. The book appears to be available
only through Barnes & Noble stores — at this point,
it’s not even on their website. But that doesn’t bother
me much, because the new edition has a cover price of
$9.95, but through AAUGH.com you can still get the
hardcover edition from 2000 for a mere *three cents*
more. The reproduction (in all editions, even the original)
is a bit weak, but the quality and quantity of strips
makes it the best bargain in the store. To check it out, go
to:

http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?1586630687

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SCHULZ COLLABORATOR INTERVIEW ONLINE

Derrick Bang has taken the interview he did with former
Schulz assistant Jim Sasseville for CBG, expanded it some, and
put it on the web. Sasseville worked on the Peanuts comic
books and on Schulz’s little-known strip It’s Only A Game.
Check it out at:

http://www.peanutscollectorclub.com/sassevil.html

And while you’re at it, you may want to look at my interview
with Sasseville’s fellow assistant Dale Hale, at:

http://AAUGH.com/guide/ldale.htm

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REVIEW: A PEANUTS CHRISTMAS

There are two ways to look at the new strip collection A
PEANUTS CHRISTMAS: as the book it is, and as the book it
claims to be. Let me tackle that second way first.

As I announced months ago, the book jacket of A Peanuts
Christmas describes it as being “the complete collection
of Christmas strips from 1950 to 1999”. This fails in a
couple ways. The first is more of a quibble: the book
contains no strips from 1950.

The second concern is meatier: the book is not complete.
Yes, it has hundreds of Christmas-themed strips. However,
there are also Christmas-themed strips that it doesn’t
have. In fact, grabbing the sweet little book A Joy Of A
Peanuts Christmas that Hallmark put out in 2000, I find
18 legitimately Christmas-themed strips there that aren’t
in A Peanuts Christmas, and I have to believe there are
a fair number of Christmas strips that didn’t make it
into either book (and, in fact, other fans are already
pointing out missing Christmas storylines.)

And yet, if one looks at the book as what it is, a
collection of Christmas strips, it’s good but not
exceptional. In their drive to collect strips about
Christmas, the editors include some strips that are
only vaguely related to Christmas (such as strips about
writing book reports over Christmas vacation), often
running the one Christmas-mentioning strip from a
longer storyline.

Any book that prints hundreds of Peanuts strips
clearly is a good thing, and there is a lot of fine
material in this. The entire book is printed in
color, but in almost all cases the color is on
the page background or on decorative design elements,
not on the strips themselves. The only strips that
are reprinted in color are Sunday strips from 1996
onward — in other words, strips that the same
publisher (Ballantine Books) has already reprinted
in color in their primary strip reprint series.
(And no, they didn’t include the color versions of
the dailies that they had run in some of those books.)

A couple of repeated strips also reflect some
editorial sloppiness. The Christmas Day, 1990 strip
on page 74 is repeated on page 77, where the
Christmas Day 1991 strip should likely have been.
More understandable is the December 20th, 1987
Sunday strip which appears in black and white on
page 101, then appears in color on page 148. This
was a strip that was rerun during Schulz’s 1997
vacation

On the up side, the strips are in order by date, with
the copyright and date markings left intact, which
is handy for those of us who study Peanuts history.
The book does include strips that I don’t think I’ve
ever seen before, ones that are likely in no other
book.

I wouldn’t recommend this book as a Christmas present,
simply because people’s enthusiasm for Christmas things
seems to end with Christmas Day itself; they may not
want to be reading Christmas-themed strips in the days
following. However, it should make a nice book to leave
on your coffee table during the Christmas season. Its
cover is attractive (even if surprisingly similar to the
A Joy Of A Peanuts Christmas book) and the strips are
good to flip through and read a bit at a time. (The
constant Christmas theme does make some of them feel
redundant if the book is read all at once.)

A PEANUTS CHRISTMAS is a 156-page full color dust jacketed
hardcover book, 9″x11.5″. It has a cover price of $25.95,
but you can slash more than seven bucks off of that price
by ordering it through:

http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?0345453514

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BEWARE THE CHRISTMAS FLEECE

I know I’ve said this before, but with the holidays
coming and people eager to find that special gift,
I need to say it again: *Don’t* buy Schulz-autographed
goods on online auctions. The commercial autograph
is rife with fraud; some studies have shown that *most*
of the major sports star autographs sold are fraudulent,
and there’s little reason to believe that other categories
of valuable autographs are any different. (I’ve also
seen a fair number of dubious “Schulz” sketches lately.)

At this moment, I am monitoring an online auction of a
Schulz-signed copy of the 2000 edition of Peanuts
Treasury (with Certificate Of Authenticity!), a book
that was not issued until after Schulz had died. Even if
copies had been printed before Schulz passed, a man
suffering from the multiple ailments that Schulz faced
was not likely to have had either the ability or the
desire to scrawl recognizable generic signatures for
adoring auctioneers.

Does that mean that all Schulz signatures are fraudulent?
Of course not. But don’t expect all frauds to be as
blatant as this. And if you want to get your loved ones
something that only looks like it was signed by Schulz,
you might as well save money and forge it yourself!

An autograph can be a cool momento of your having met
someone interesting, or it can be a way to make a
book that you buy as a gift something special, showing
that you were willing to go to a little extra effort
for the recipient. But when you start stepping away from
such sentimental value and get involved in supposed
financial value of a signature, you’re dealing in a
realm fueled by illusion. If you want a valuable
signature, get it on the bottom of a check.

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IT’S A HARDCOVER, CHARLIE BROWN

The special gift edition of the kids book adaptation of
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is now shipping. I announced
this as a hardcover edition with a CD of music from
the special. However, if you saw the listing for the book
that Amazon put up, you’d learn that it was a paperback.

Amazon is wrong. The book is a hardcover. Order lots.

http://AAUGH.com/go.htm?0689853572

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Well, that’s all the rants and raves for now. As ever,
there will be a new newsletter when there’s enough new
news for a new newsletter.

Have a happy Halloween, and keep sending me your notes,
quotes, jokes, pokes, and new email addresses!

–Nat, nat@AAUGH.com

Proprietor

http://AAUGH.com

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