I just got How to Be a Grrrl! which according to its cover is by Lucy Van Pelt herself. This is a collection of strips (and selections from strips) starring Lucy, about feminism and power. They attempt to use a ‘zine-style design asthetic, with the strips put in front of backgrounds that look like degraded photocopies of something, or panels looking like they were taped to the page and photocopied with the tape visible. It’s a fun attempt to add some indie energy to the most mainstream of products (but then, Peanuts has long been embraced across the creative spectrum.) In a way, this book is about its layout, and while it doesn’t always achieve its goal. I like it. This is not a good book to get for getting a lot of strips or getting sharp reproduction, but as an object, it’s kinda keen. The plasticy cover just ads to its offbeat nature. Anyway, this is a UK book (albeit printed in Latvia; I don’t recall ever owning a book printed in Latvia before); you can order it with free shipping to the states from Book Depository, or you can get it from third-party sellers at Amazon US.
AAUGH Blog reader Bobby just dropped me an email to let me know that he’d sighted the 1960s volume of The Big Book of Peanuts, with all the daily strips from that decade, in a big pile at his local Costco in Virginia, along with copies of the 1970s and 1980s volumes! When I checked my local Costco here in California yesterday, they didn’t have copies yet. So I guess a road trip to VA is the only answer!
[sound of wifely muted trumpet noises in the background]
Or, I suppose, I could wait until the book comes to the local store.
The box office numbers game is, well, a game, and lots of folks playing it seem to have little idea what they’re talking about. Whether a film like The Peanuts Movie is a financial success has to do with a lot more than how much it makes in its first weekend, or even in the US box office as a whole… or even in the world. There’s licensing money. There’s post-theatrical business, as the film makes it to home video and other uses. So the question of whether we get to see The Peanuts Movie 2: Just Who Did You Say Has A Thing For Pig-Pen? as well as the question of whether this will increase worldwide interest in Schulz’s work is not something that any number given today will answer.
But still, $12.1 mill on the first day in the US sounds like a nice chunk of money. That’s a whole lot of nickels going clang in the jar.
I’ve been doing the AAUGH Blog (in blog or its original email newsletter form) for almost 16 years now, and my situation has changed in various ways during that time. As it’s a blog with opinion, recommendations, and occasional snark, I find it in my ethical interest to post, from time to time, a message summing up what may be reasonably viewed as conflicting interests in my posting of this blog.
- I make money from people following my links to Amazon (and occasionally other sites) and buying things. This would give me inventive to encourage buying those things I link to.
- I have done freelance work for a number of companies that produce licensed Peanuts goods – I’ve done writing and/or editorial work for Fantagraphics, Boom Studios, and the packager Becker&Mayer on licensed Peanuts products, and had a non-Peanuts-related licensing deal with IDW, who have published one Peanuts book. This may give me incentive to be positive about the products of these companies. In some cases, these relationships continue, in some cases they do not (which, one might argue, gives me incentive to be spiteful about them.)
- While I do not have a direct financial arrangement with the publishers, books I have written for Becker&Mayer have been published by Thunder Bay Press, by Sterling Press, and by Little Brown, so I may have incentive to be positive about books published by them (although off the top of my head, I can only think of one Peanuts related book published by any of these folks that I didn’t write, a crochet book.)
- As a publisher, I have published and continue to publish a number of books of Charles Schulz material and books related to Schulz. Some of the customers for these works include stores with fairly direct linkage to the Peanuts empire (namely, the Schulz Museum store and Snoopy’s Gallery And Gift Shop.) And of course I have incentive to promote my own publications, although I try to be clear that these are my publications when doing so.
- As the Peanuts book space has volumes from a number of authors and publishers which may be viewed as competition with books that I write, edit, or publish, I may be viewed as having incentive to speak negatively about those other works.
- While I have never worked directly for Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, Peanuts Worldwide, the Schulz Museum, or the Schulz family, a significant portion of my income has come from working on licensed Peanuts or Schulz-related projects where I need the approval or cooperation of one or more of these, so I have incentive not to say anything to cause displeasure in those circles. (Not that I’d want to; I like the folks I’ve deal with.)
- While I like revealing information about an upcoming Peanuts book the moment I find out about it, there are times when I know about a project where, due either to my personal involvement or my relationship with the source of the information, I am under practical or legal obligation not to reveal it. Generally speaking, if I’m working for a publisher on a book project, I am not going to be discussing that project publicly until it has been announced by the publisher in some form. (And to be clear, I do have at least one further Peanuts-related book project in the works right now which I am not yet free to announce.)
- Working in the comics and publishing field as I do, I may at times discuss work by someone with whom I have worked or planned to work with. For example, some of the Peanuts story books are drawn by Robert Pope, who drew some of the Peanuts comic book stories I wrote, and who I’ve also hired to do non-Peanuts projects I’ve worked on (such as a recent comic book for a Chinese restaurant.) I tend to mention this when discussing their Peanuts projects, and it should be understood that this gives me an incentive to write positively about their work (of course, if I wasn’t genuinely positive about their work, I wouldn’t want to work with them anyway.)
- While I of course get free (“comp”) copies of Peanuts projects that I have worked on or helped with from their publishers, Fantagraphics has also provided me with free copies of books I’ve not worked on, which I’ve used for review.
TL;DR: while I started this project as an outsider, I am much less so these days, and while most of my income does not relate to Schulz, the portion that does is not trivial. Let that jaundice your view of my commentary however you feel is appropriate.
Timed totally coincidentally to launch on the day of The Peanuts Movie release is the Kindle edition of Bridge Mix: the Bridge Cartoons of Charles M. Schulz, the collection of the bridge-themed cartoons from Schulz’s single-panel newspaper feature, “It’s Only a Game”. The publisher is About Comics, which is… hey, that’s me! This has the same cartoons that are in the print edition of Bridge Mix with one major difference: on the Kindle, they’re in color. (Well, unless you have a black-and-white Kindle; I’m not a magician.) And if you’re involved in one of the services that let’s you “borrow” books from Amazon, such as Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, this book is available for borrowing. (And to answer the next question: yes, I do get paid when you do that.)