I’ve added three more items to the AAUGH.com reference library recently.
My copy of the catalog of the Schulz Museum’s Peanuts: Found in Translation book arrived, and it is indeed a lovely collection of Yoshi’s interesting artistic interprations, mixing Peanuts characters and Japanese writing in creative way. Each plate is accompanied by an explanation of what the Japanese characters mean, but the illustrations were gracefully fascinating without them. The presentation in the book is quite nice, well designed on sleek paper. The text in the book (including intros by Jeannie Schulz, museum director Ruth Gardner Begell, art historian Michael Schwager, and Yoshi himself) is offered in both English and Japanese, which would fit in interestingly thematically with the art even if it weren’t simply a method of increasing the potential audience.
If you’ve been to the Museum, you’ve seen some of Yoshi’s work, even if you weren’t there during the exhibition. He did the woodcut of the evolution of Snoopy and the giant mosaic made up Peanuts strips. The exhibit runs through April 11th, which is good news for me, because I’m going to get to visit the museum before it’s gone.
The next recent addition is a book I already have, but in an edition I only recently learned of. The adaptation of the animated special A Charlie Brown Valentine is commonly available as a paperback, but I had never run into a hardcover edition. That there is such a thing results from a confluence of two forces: Weekly Reader and QVC. Peanuts book collectors may recognize Weekly Reader as the order-at-school book club which offered hardcovers (often abridged) of Peanuts strips collections over the years. QVC is the big order-stuff-from-cable channel. Once a year, QVC and Weekly Reader get together for a fund-raising project, offering up a set of 15 or so harcover kids books at an affordable price. In the fall of 203, the set included a hardcover of A Charlie Brown Valentine. As best as I can tell, this book was not offered through the standard Weekly Reader service, but only as part of this bundled set. It’s got a glossy slick cover, no dustjacket.
Peanuts books addicts will note one slight oddness. While Weekly Reader put out a lot of Peanuts books, the animated adaptations were the province of their competition, the Scholastic Book Club. But that was all many years ago.
The back cover lists a “Suggested Publisher’s Price” of $11.95. Now, leaving aside the question of just what a “suggested publisher” is, this price is meaningless. The book was never sold by itself. But knowing QVC, they requested such pricing as an excuse to say “look — you’re getting $175 worth of books for a mere $30!”
Unfortunately, I can’t give you a way to find this book. www.QVC.com still offers the 15 book sets from 2002 and this year, but the 2003 set appears to be sold out. (I scored mine on eBay.)
The final addition (for now, there are always more to come) is a comic book magazine: Nancy and Sluggo issue 181, from 1961. It has a four page original Peanuts story, not by Schulz, about an attempt to get a missing Snoopy to find his way home. There’s nothing particularly special about this one, unless you’re a comics circulation nerd. This issue has the annual Statement Of Circulation in it, letting folks know that the average sales per issue for the previous year was 320,371. Back then, this would have been a minor comic book series. Today, sales like that would make you the best-selling standard-format comic in the market by a good margin.
Well, that’s the news for now. Remember, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales aire Thursday on ABC in the US. And it’s just two more days ’til Beethoven’s birthday, so get your shopping done now!