I have in my collection various… let us say “ribald”… parodies of Peanuts, including ones that have taken actual Schulz material and, um, enhanced it with sexual, scatalogical, or drug material. Some of them are done with art and craft, some less so. I didn’t think anything in this realm would surprise me, but then I hit the comic shop today and the owner pulled something out, something he had gotten as part of a his recent purchase of someone’s comic book collection. Something I should have heard of before, but hadn’t.
What makes “Hot Nuts” is Not a Disease different from those other books is that it doesn’t use Peanuts, but rather reworks some of Schulz’s Church Of God cartoons, specifically the panels in “Teenager” is Not a Disease. And it gets them all – this stapled digest minicomic from 1994 runs a full 64 pages, so that they can alter every panel, either by altering the art, or reworking the caption, or both. It’s an interesting choice, because if you’re doing something for shock value – and it is clear that’s what the goal is here – you’re on much better ground starting with something iconic like “Peanuts” than this relatively obscure material.
The effort is credited to “Sin Alley”, a gathering of alt cartoonists. I only know for sure the identity of one member, who is someone who isn’t a big name but has at least some commercial track record in the alt/underground comics business. (There’s another such pro whose style I think I recognize in one panel, but am not certain.)
The overall effect is disappointing. I’m not a prude, give me a good sexual humor comic and I can enjoy it, but mere shock value is not going to win me over. Simply being disgusting does not amuse me, and I didn’t get a laugh anywhere in the entire book. About the only thing that I can say that I appreciated was the publishing attribution of “Sin Alley Press – Tijuana”, the location seemingly a nod to the tiny sex-heavy parody comic books known as “Tijuana bibles”. Many a sale of those illicit items was made during the 1930s, and some of them brought something clever to the material. Maybe I’m just missing whatever gene is needed to enjoy this, or perhaps it’s whatever the proper intoxicant is.
And yet I’m very happy to own this thing, very happy to no longer be ignorant of its existence. As both the caretaker of the AAUGH.com Reference Library and the most recent publisher of these cartoons, I kind of feel that if anyone should have their hands on it, it should be me.
(Please forgive the lack of illustration ins this blog entry; frankly, there’s not a page of this that I would consider appropriate for this blog.)