My wife notes that there is a lot of work involved in achieving the second most sincere pumpkin patch, but a sad lack of reward for doing so.
Those of you who don’t think you can make it to the comic shop every month to get the new issue of the new Peanuts comic book do have another option – the publisher will be collecting the stories into paperbacks. The first one is slated to come out next August, and it is now available for preorder.
Peanuts is almost certainly the most influential humor strip in the history of the medium, but from time to time it has been more than an artistic influence on a creative mind; there have been strips that have pretty clearly tried to be The Next Peanuts, although they’ve had different interpretations of just what Peanuts is.
A few years back, I made some mention of “Small World” as possibly the first attempt to Xerox that Peanuts magic. Crafted by the relatively obscure Sam Brier, this is a strip that echoes the “kids showing adult-style concerns.
But how it achieves this alignment is quite different. “Small World” is a strip about a boy and a girl playing house, with a kid brother as their baby… or it’s a strip about a family that’s drawn as if the adults are kids. The strip carefully avoids offering a correct interpretation. One could, I suppose, simply see the leads as a family of midgets, but, well no. Is this adults expressing their inner child, or children expressing their inner adult? Hard to tell, and ultimately, hard to really care. This is an interesting curiosity, but not an outstanding strip. From time to time I think about reprinting the one collection that was published, but on reviewing it, I decide… nah.
But looking at it again recently, I started to wonder: was this really inspired by Peanuts, or was it simply coincidental? It’s easy to look at it now, and see Peanuts in it in not just the kid material, but some of the flat layout sensibility as well. However, this strip launched in October 1952, just a few days before Peanuts second birthday… and that makes it seem less likely. First off, Peanuts wasn’t instantly the hugely popular strip it grew to be. Sure, it grew in popularity, but with all the various lag times involved in developing a strip (whether this was Brier’s idea or the New York Herald Tribune’s idea) and getting it into distribution, that means that in a year and a half, it had to inspire a copycat even before it got popular. And the elements that we see in “Small World” were not as pronounced in Peanuts at the beginning, either. Had this come out in ’54, I would’ve said “yes, this has to be Peanuts-influenced.” But considering the date, it’s just not as likely as I thought.
Just noticed in an ad for next week’s new film Tower Heist, and noticed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Snoopy balloon popping into one scene; I wonder if they do anything good with him, or whether it’s just one of a number of balloons that pass. (The film has a cast I like, a director I don’t, and the ads thus far have not been promising.)
And this ran on Jimmy Kimmel’s show last week:
I just got a review PDF of the new Peanuts issue 0, which should hit better comic shops on Wednesday.
Is it absolutely everything I could have wanted in a Peanuts comic book, feeling some great treasure-trove of lost Schulz? Of course not. Is it worth the buck? Sure! Buy one yourself, and see if it’s something you want to keep buying issues of. It’s a perfectly fine thing to have to a child, at the very least. So head down to your comic shop on Wednesday, and ask for your copy. I know I will. (And if you’re in a shop of particular taste, they may have The Misadventures of Prince Ivan by Diane Duane as well… a graphic novel I’ve just published, featuring a funny, pre-Shrek fairy tale/folk tale parody by the best-selling author of the “Young Wizards” series.)