Hitting comic book stores Wednesday is volume 5 of the collected Peanuts comic books, published by Kaboom. This includes the three of my Peanuts stories for them – “Joe Stockcar”, “Press Here”, and “New Shoe Zoom”, with art by Andy Hirsch, Jeff Shultz, and Robert Pope, respectively. It also has a lot of other stories by various fine writers and artists… which brings us to a small ticking point. On solicitations, the publisher doesn’t list writers and artists, but authors and artists. Like most comic book writers I’ve talked to about it, I reject the term “author” for the work. The thing that we create is not a full work and what is added by the artists is not mere illustration to augment that work. As a writer, I will accept the “author” credit for much of my prose work; I have authed often in the past and hope to be authing more in the future. But unless I’m providing a significant portion of the artwork for my comics stories, I’m merely the writer, part of an authorial team. But I digress… here’s a preview of this new Peanuts volume! (Click on each page to enlarge.)
Coming in November is a book that I alluded to a year back: A Charlie Brown Religion: The Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz, by (AAUGH Blog reader!) Stephen J. Lind. I’ve been waiting for someone to do a good book along these lines, and from what I’ve seen of Lind’s writing in the past, he is capable of doing good work. Lind’s an academic; this book is being published by The University Press of Mississippi. I don’t have a preorder link yet, but I’ll let you know when it’s available.
The reason this is such a good topic is that so many people get it wrong. Schulz made a lot of statements over the years in a lot of different ways, and people tend to take the one that’s closest to their own beliefs and say “see, Schulz’s beliefs agree with mine”; I’ve seen everyone from fundamentalists to atheists claim him as their own. But what he believed is actually a moving target. This is a man who over his life changed churches, moved into a largely non-church situation, said some deeply religious things at times and at other times said he would be described as a “secular humanist”. He taught and he learned, he grew and he changed; it’s pointless to ask what he believed without asking when he believed it. This journey is reflected in his work, and one can point to periods of Peanuts that show an interest in portraying some form of religious truth, and others that seem aimed more at casting doubt upon one’s certainty. So I’m really interested in seeing what Lind has found, and how he casts it.
Amazon now has the third cover it’s displayed for my book The Snoopy Treasures, being released in November:
This is the released cover for this fall’s Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts, by the esteemed Chip Kidd. Nice, eh?