It’s been a while since I placed a Japanese book order (and I’ve missed a few cool things along the way because of it), but I might not be able to pass this one by. Astronaut Snoopy and the Universe has introductions by Japanese astronauts, and in addition to the expected coverage on the Apollo 11 and the relevant Peanuts strips, it appears to have more general material on space and the things in it, and on the history of space exploration (particularly Japanese efforts). At least, that’s if I’m understanding Google-translated items correctly.
There are two events coming up – one Peanuts event, one non-Peanuts – that have me thinking about some somewhat bigger matters. Forgive me if I get a bit off-topic for this blog.
The events are (in the order they’re taking place):
- 24 Hour Comics Day lands on October 3rd this year. On that day, hundreds (maybe thousands) of people worldwide will gather at comic shops, schools, museums, and other locales to spend 24 hours together, each person trying to create a 24 page comics story in 24 hours. This is the sixth year for this event.
- The new exhibit in the Schulz Museum, Peanuts Cooks, runs October 14th – February 15th. It features the original art to Peanuts strips about food, displays of Peanuts cookbooks, and other Peanuts-and-food-related items.
I’ll probably make it up to the museum at least once during the new show’s run… and it will be a little odd for me. Y’see, a couple things I’ll be looking at there, just some minor ones, will actually be mine — books on loan from the AAUGH.com Reference Library (they’ll say “Courtesy of Nat Gertler” on the little display sign; the paperwork came too close to the event for me to start going “hey, can I get the AAUGH.com name on them?”). One other item, something that they’ve been hyping a bit, is something that the museum knows about because I told them about it, steered them toward it. And to me, realizing that is just one of those moments when I realize that I’ve become That Somebody.
I’m sure you think about That Somebody a lot. You’re looking for some sort of information, and you’re sure That Somebody has made a list. You need to know how to do something, and you assume That Somebody, some sort of expert, has figured it out. There’s something wrong out there, but you’re confident That Somebody will fix it. That was true when I started collecting Peanuts books. After all, this was a major line of books, licensed by a major corporation, and with lots of fan interest – I was certain That Somebody had a full, well-organized list. This was back in the days when the Internet was still young, when “Google” was just Snuffy Smith’s city pal, so we didn’t have the same thought that if there was information out there, one could find it. And so I ended up making the start of what become my list, not because the information wasn’t out there (and as it turned out, there were a couple of other lists out there, although with a different set of strengths and weaknesses than mine), but because I didn’t have access to it. Might as well make it myself. But I still for a long time assumed that there was a master list, that the people more deeply involved in the creation of these books had access.
One day I was talking with a friend of mine, and mentioned a question I had been unable to answer about the publication of the Peanuts books adapting the TV specials… and my friend whipped out his phone and called Lee Mendelson, producer of the specials, who happened to be his pal. And Lee didn’t know the answer, but he heard That Somebody had a list on the Internet… yup, it was my list he was referring to. This is a moment that I realized that for this one minor thing, I had become That Somebody. This situation with the CMS Museum and Research Center – I mean, if you think of anyone being That Somebody who would have all the info, it would be them, and they have a lot of good info and take care of it, but they still have to rely from time to time on the fact That Somebody has the information or the items, and in this particular case, That Somebody was me.
24 Hour Comics Day is another case where I was that somebody. For years, people had been going up to the inventor of the 24 hour comic, Scott McCloud, and saying That Somebody should publish a book collecting 24 hour comics. This had been going on for a decade before I went up to him and said that I wanted to publish it. I got a strong-selling book out of it. To promote it, I put together the first 24 Hour Comics Day, what I thought was going to be a small, one-time deal, and it ended up not only being quite large but with people expecting it as an ongoing event. I certainly believed That Somebody should do that, but also knew that in this case, I’d be taking on the role of That Somebody. I ran the event for a few years before turning it over to some folks who I hoped could grow it further, and in doing so freed myself up to participate in the event. (If anyone’s near Winnetka, California between noon Saturday and noon Sunday, stop by Collector’s Paradise and say hi; I’ll be up all night. Not sure if the doors will be open the whole time.)
Why am I saying this? Because I’m sure there are times in your life where you will realize That Somebody should be doing something. Maybe it’s something small, maybe it’s something important. Just realize that you can be That Somebody. Perhaps you’re not the ideal person to do it – that doesn’t matter, because you cannot assume that the ideal person will surface and actually get it done. The person who recognizes the need and chooses to take on the effort is the person that can make a difference. It would be great if it were something truly important, like bringing food to the foodless or building homes for the homeless, instead of some of the picayune stuff I do, making lists for the listless — but even the small stuff counts. It is a mistake to think that there is some race of great people out there who will do all the things that matter, and that normal people are just there to go along and do the simple, the minimum. If you see a need, fill it. Great things are done by normal people. And there are far too many things out there That Somebody should be doing…
Yes, it is that most special, magical time of year, a time that brings joy to the heart. No, it’s not when a young man’s fancy turns to love. It’s when a middle-aged blogger gets a new book edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas!
It is not, mind you, a new adaptation. The text and pictures are reprined from last year’s new hardcover adaptation. But this 5.5″ square paperback comes bundled with a little tree, about 8 inches high, and an ornament and a blanket so that you can transform this pathetic little tree into… well, the still pathetic little tree. If you want it to be a magical wonderful tree, you have to steal all the prize-winning adornments form someone’s doghouse and then wave your hands around a lot.
This whole set is list priced at just under $15, but if you order it now, you can get it for closer to $11.
For those of you new to The AAUGH Blog, you may not know that we have a complete guide to A Charlie Brown Christmas book adaptations. Now you know. Go. Look.
As long as I’m doing a post I might as well mention the Peanuts character look-a-like contest.
The AAUGH.com Reference Library has now been unpacked after our recent move. Well, mostly. There’s still a box or two that I have to locate – most frustratingly, this includes the box that has all of our various book adaptations of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
But meanwhile, the Library continues to gather more books. I just received a copy of Snoopy’s First Code Book. This is part of an educational set that was published in 1971. I already have the central book, Snoopy’s Secret Code Book, and the teacher’s guidebook for Snoopy’s Yellow Code Book, but I consider this new one a find. It is, after all, a student workbook, but it’s pristine, without any scribbling from a student in it.
Also added in is The Wonderful World of Peanuts Musicals, a collector’s guide/price guide to music boxes and musical display items. It’s full color, heavily illustrated guide. The paper is slick, but it’s not exactly a slick production in terms of layout or, occasionally, proofreading. It’s not a vital book unless the musical items are your thing, but with hundreds of pictures, it’s got some nice stuff to look at. I snagged this one earlier this week when I stopped by Snoopy’s Gallery & Gift Shop in Santa Rosa, where it was marked down to $20 (cover price, $26.95)…. and it looks like the same deal is available from them online, that’d be a good place to get it.
The strangest book added to the library lately is an Italian book, entitled simple Peanuts: Charlie Brown. It’s part of a 1993 set called Stranilibri – literally, strange books. This cardboard book folds open to reveal a booklet on one side that includes a quiz and rules to a game, and the other side folds open to reveal puzzle pieces that you have to detach to play. Since you also have to know Italian to learn the rules, I think I’ll forego destroying the book. This is just one of a series of such books, each with a different character: Lucy, Peppermint Patty, and so on.
But not everything that gets added to the library is a book. I just picked up off of eBay a small set of “It’s Only A Game” cartoons clipped from Sunday papers in 1957 and 1958… but in with it, I got some Peanuts Sundays, mostly clipped from papers in 1953 and 1954. They are gloriously large, looking much bigger and bolder than Sunday strips are run today. Some of them are the two-tier versions, but some are three tiers… and the 1954 ones are the storyline in which Lucy enters a golf tournament, which means, yup, it’s the storyline with lots of visible adults (if mostly visible below the neck.) And as good as it is to have all the reprints, all the Complete Peanuts with complete and utterly readable strips in them, it’s nice to have some strips in the full glory of the way they were meant to be seen.