AAUGH.com newsletter: Peanuts books & videos news

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Things have been relatively quiet this week in terms of Peanuts strip reprints. However, we have added some books about Peanuts that are available again.

The most notable of these is THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PEANUTS, which has sold millions of copies over the past 35 years. This book looks at the moral teachings in Peanuts and sees how they are paralleled in the bible. It was written by a then-young divinity student Robert L. Short, who would follow it up with two other volumes (The Parables Of Peanuts and Short Meditations On The Bible And Peanuts). This first one is the best of the three; the latter two moved more toward talking about the bible and finding echoes in Peanuts. To celibrate the 35th anniversary of The Gospel According To, they’ve released a new edition with a new introduction by Martin E. Marty (who has written a mess of theology books.) This book is available from the front page of http://AAUGH.com
Also available again is a couple of Peanuts collectibles/price guides, so now we have two volumes apiece in the Peanuts Gang Collectibles and Snoopy Collectibles series by Jan Lindenberger and Cher Porges. Because we now have a half dozen different collectibles/price guides, I’ve now devoted an entire page of AAUGH.com to these. (It was the Books About Peanuts page; I’ve moved the other books that were on that page to the Schulz Illustrations page.
A number of the small Fawcett Crest strip collections are now available on a "special order" basis. Now, "special order" sounds nice’n’special, but what it really means is that the book takes longer to get and instead of getting a discount, you have to pay a premium. A book that originally had a $2 cover price will now run you about $5 — which isn’t as bad a deal as it sounds, as that is about what the cover price would be if it were printed today. I’m always a little reluctant to include the Special Order books in the catalog, but there are a lot of people looking for these books. Titles I’ve added include: Here’s to You, Charlie Brown It’s Show Time, Snoopy Sing for Your Supper, Snoopy Strike Three, Charlie Brown Take Charge, Snoopy This Is the Best Time of the Day, Charlie Brown We’re All in This Together What Next, Charlie Brown? You Are Too Much, Charlie Brown You’re a Brave Man Charlie Brown You’re Hopeless, Charlie Brown You’re My Hero, Charlie Brown! You’ve Done It Again, Charlie Brown You’ve Got It Made Snoopy
I’ve also added a few more "Back Ordered" Peanuts Classics books to the list, with the reassurance from the publisher that they have been filling back orders: Thank Goodness for People There’s a Vulture Outside You’re Out of Your Mind, Charlie Brown!
The books can all be found on the Classic Strip Reprints page of http://AAUGH.com — the Fawcett books are toward the bottom.
The 50th Anniversary book PEANUTS: A GOLDEN CELEBRATION is spending another week on the best seller list, which means it’s half-price at least through Thursday.

And the $5-off-any-$25-purchase deal at the ULTRA-discount remaindered bookstore is continuing…
despite being the least-effective promotion in history. In the days since I first posted this offer, sales of remaindered books have plummeted to zero (except for my getting some For Better Or For Worse books for myself.) I don’t know why; these books are a good deal to start with and now the extra discount makes them even cheaper. But I’m reluctant to give up on a bargain, so the deal continues! Click on the Ultra-Discount link on the front page of http://AAUGH.com
When Schulz died, there were some comments on the future of the animated Peanuts material. Some of the comments were dead-on (i.e., that they are working on some scenes for a tribute for the 50th anniversary, and that a direct-to-video release is in the works.) However, some other comments that were circulating — that Schulz wanted the animations to come to an end with him, and that there was only one further plot outline that he had approved — may (or may not) reflect just one person’s view of the situation. To go beyond what I’m saying would get into the realm of trading in rumor, but I just want people not to be surprised if further animated projects are announced, or to assume that any further projects must be against Sparky’s wishes. When I have more news, I’ll let you know.

The direct-to-video piece, IT’S THE PIED PIPER, CHARLIE BROWN, will be released mid-September. I’ll be sure to announce when it’s available for pre-order.
I’ve added a page to the collector’s guide that covers Peanuts sheet-music books. There are dozens of these, including books of Peanuts-related music and books of classics and standard decorated with Peanuts images. I’m sure it’s missing some books, but it should be a good start if you’re interested in these sort of things. (I wasn’t really chasing these books myself, but I’ve gotten more into it of late; I guess being engaged to a musician has rubbed off on me!)
As I said last issue, while the Odd Peanuts Books feature has run its course for now, I am going to keep doing discussions of various Peanuts books for fellow collectors.

I get a fair number of questions about the Peanuts Collector Series, a set of books put out from 1987 through 1991 by Topper Books, a division of Pharos Books. There’s a lot of interest in these largely because the books are not available, and most of the material from the books is not in print in any form (although there are still some of small Fawcett paperbacks that reprint the later material. Topper and Pharos are no longer pubishing, so these books are out of print (and the same goes for other Topper Peanuts books, such as BROTHERS AND SISTERS: IT’S ALL RELATIVE and CHARLES M. SCHULZ: 40 YEARS OF LIFE AND ART. Only GOOD GRIEF: THE STORY OF CHARLES M. SCHULZ is still available, from another publisher.)

One thing that makes the book interesting is its inconsistencies. Volume 1 (DOES DON’T EAT DESSERT) is 8 inches wide and about 5 high, printing two dailies or half a Sunday on each page. The title is on the front cover and spine; "Peanuts Collector Series #1" is on the back.

#2, YOU’RE ON THE WRONG FOOT AGAIN, CHARLIE BROWN, is roughly the same format, only the spine has the "Peanuts Collector Series #2" identifier rather than the title. Volume 3 has the title (BY SUPPER POSSESSED) on the spine again. Volume 4’s spine has both the title (TALK IS CHEEP, CHARLIE BROWN) and the Peanuts Collector Series #4 identifier.

With volume 5, the size changed to 10 inches by 7, with the title (IT DOESN’T TAKE MUCH TO ATTRACT A CROWD) on the spine. The "Peanuts Collector Series" identifier and number started appearing on the front cover as well with this book. Volume 6 had the title (IF BEAGLES COULD FLY) and "#6" on the spine. Volume 7 (DON’T BE SAD, FLYING ACE) was labeled similarly, but in a much larger font.

Volume 8 looks very different. The size has zoomed out to 11 by 8.5 inches (which means that the Sunday pages, still split over two pages, are huge.) The garishly colored design of the early volumes has been dumped in favor of a more sedate design. The fonts for all the cover text have been changed, to something completely un-Peanutsy. The spine has the title and the number 8, but no # sign. If you had the other books in the series and were looking for this one in a used bookstore, you’d probably skip right by it.

Why all the changes? Some of them just seem to be sloppiness, but the changing sizes and the eventual design changes suggest a line of books that wasn’t selling as well as had been hoped….
a suspicion which is reinforced by the relative rarity of these books on the used book market. In my experience, you’re almost as likely to find a British edition (published by Ravette, and with the last page of comics replaced by a page of ads for their other Peanuts books) as you are to find a U.S. version.

Well, that was more than I expected to ramble on about that!

Well, that’s the newsletter for this week…
and for next week, unless something big happens. As promised, I’m easing back from the weekly schedule. (Besides, next weekend I’ll be in Oakland at the Wondercon comic book convention. Time for me to talk to fellow comics pros and fans face to face, rather than just through the Internet.)

Today, we start the second half of the fiftieth year of Peanuts. Pick up your favorite book and read a few strips!
–Nat Gertler proprietor AAUGH.com


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