My one day at Comic-Con happened to coincide with the Boom! Peanuts panel, where they had the creative and editorial folks behind the comic books. If you were looking for a lot of new revelations about the future of the Peanuts comic book, there wasn’t much to be had; they showed the four alternative covers for the second miniseries, and mentioned that the storylines include a carnival story and a visit from the cat next door. Other than that, the entertaining talk and Q&A focused on “how did you get involved in the comic” and “how did you first discover Peanuts” and similar questions of interest.
Unsurprisingly, the audience response at some point turned into questions in the “how do you protect the Schulziness of it all”, with a tinge of a “how dare you do original Peanuts work when you’re not Schulz” tone to it. That concern was easily set aside; they had noted that the bulk of the earlier Peanuts comic book original material was not done by Schulz himself. Paige Braddock waved the animated Peanuts as an example, noting something that is not discussed that often – that while Schulz was heavily involved in the earliest specials, for the most part after that he entrusted Bill Melendez to take things and run with them after that. I have to agree – of you look at the various comic books, storybooks, and other products released over the years, it becomes clear that when he wqas alive, schulz was perfectly willing to have other folks do stuff that was outside of the strip. It became clear in conversation that the various folks at the studio and at Boom put a lot of effort into checking each other’s work to make sure it stays within various parameters for the 1960s Schulz they are all aiming for.
There was also discussion of the digital reprint effort which aims to get large quantities of Peanuts strips in various categories available as apps for the iPad and such. This isn’t just seen as a profit source, but also as a way of introducing new generations to Peanuts, since folks aren’t getting the newspaper as much as they used to. They’re even adding a couple of additional free books to their free iPad app – but just through Comic-Con, which ends tomorrow.