IN THIS ISSUE:
* A DOG’S LIFE REVIEW
*THE CATALOGUE GETS FANCY
*A NEW CROSSWORD
*ANOTHER GUARALDI DISK
Yeah, I know, it’s only been about a week since the last newsletter. But I had a couple of things to talk about, so here we are again!
A DOG’S LIFE REVIEW.
The next Peanuts book IT’S A DOG’S LIFE, SNOOPY isn’t due out for about four more weeks…
but highly-placed AAUGH.com elves have managed to get me a copy already.
This is another good one, folks (of course it’s good; It’s a book full of Peanuts strips!) This has every strip from 1998, in order, and with the date information intact. In fact, it’s just as a serious Peanuts snob would want them, except that the dailies (as well as the Sundays) are in color. As with the book PEANUTS 2000, the color is good; the only times that the color bothered me was when Peppermint Patty’s hair was supposed to be out of control (coloring it all in just made it look like she had a large, odd object stuck to her head) and on the strip the Schulz and Bill Mauldin drew together, where the dark colors hide Mauldin’s details.
The kids playing baseball, Linus going door-to-door hyping the Great Pumpkin, Snoopy’s stupid novels, Lucy talking with Schroeder about marriage plans…
if you’re into the traditional Peanuts elements, they’re in here. But the really stand-out stuff is the material with Rerun; I know I said this when reviewing Peanuts 2000, but it’s true here as well. Schulz was doing some amazing stuff with Rerun, who was the realest kid ever in the run of Peanuts. While the Peanuts kids always seemed a little lost in the grown-up world that surrounds them, Rerun is an outcast even among the kids. Unappreciated and desperate for the basic elements of childhood (a dog and a bicycle), and willing to ignore anyone who tries to tread on his hopes, Rerun is far beyond the kid-strapped-to-the-back-of-Mom’s-bike which was his sole role for so long.
The drawing is lovely (the line is jittery, of course, but never out of control), and the dialog is sharp. I kept interrupting The Lovely Lara’s work so that I could read her such lines as "Hey Ma, there’s a false prophet at the door..what should I tell him?", "This is my report on the football career of Moses", "I think you have a faulty dog", "You can’t play Brahms on a canoe paddle, sir," and what may be the single longest word balloon in the history of Peanuts:
"Someone at school today asked me if I had an older brother who dragged a blanket around..’No,’ I repled, ‘I’m an only child!’ Then someone said, ‘but don’t you have a weird older sister?’ ‘No,’ I insisted, ‘I’m an only child!’ And so I go, day after day, dodging questions from curious outsiders.."
This isn’t to say that every single strip is a gem. There are a lot of hits, and a few misses; some rely on specific reactions to the outside world which I do not share. But then, some of the ones that other people would find to be non-sequitors, I find brilliant, because I can see what’s going on in the character’s head. Similarly, I expect that some of the ones that go by me will be hilarious to others.
I think the work actually stands up better in book form than it did reading the strips one per day in the newspaper. Reading the book lets you accumulate a larger picture of the inner lives of the characters, and all the character humor works better because of it.
The longer storylines in this one include: Peppermint Patty and Marcie both wanting to take Chuck to the same dance; Spike going into the hospital; Linus offering subscriptions to a Great Pumpkin newsletter while Rerun awaits getting a bicycle as part of trick-or-treats.
This is, of course, available for preorder; just head over to http://aaugh.com/go/go.pl?s=I0345442695
THE CATALOGUE GETS FANCY
Hot on the heels of having spiffied up the collecting guide, I turned my sights on the shopping catalogue. As I did with the guide, I improved the look of the pages. I also reduced the use of frames; now, the only time you’ll see a frame on the page is when you click through on an item. The top of your screen will show an index to AAUGH.com, making it easy for you to click back and continue looking through the catalog. I’ve also designed it so that I can send you a link directly to an individual item (like the link at the end of the above article) while still giving you the AAUGH.com index at the top.
PLEASE let me know what you think of the upgraded site. When you run a real store, you can see the customers when they come in, see what they react to, and adjust your store accordingly. When you run a web site, you never get to see the people you’re designing the shop for. It’s tough. http://AAUGH.com
Another product due out in April is Snoopy Tennis, a game for Game Boy Color systems. This is a fun-looking little cartoon tennis game. You can play using any one of 8 Peanuts characters (and if you play long enough, you unlock access to 4 more characters), either playing against the computer or against another player (they’ll need their own GameBoy, a cartridge, and a link cable.) There are different game variations to keep you interested. I’ve seen some footage of the game being played, and the images look pretty good, particularly considering the low resolution of the Game Boy screen.
You can preorder the game now: http://aaugh.com/go/go.pl?s=AB000059Z7J
Please note: This game is designed solely for the Color version of the Game Boy. It will not work properly on the old black-and-white ones! (It will, however, work on the upcoming Game Boy Advance, which is scheduled to come out later this year.) If you don’t have a Game Boy Color, you can order one from: http://aaugh.com/go/go.pl?s=AB0000296ZK
The makers of Snoopy Tennis have signed a 5 year license for Peanuts Game Boy games, so expect to see more to come.
A NEW CROSSWORD
I just got some new crossword puzzle design software that lets me make interactive puzzles you can solve right in your web browser! I was so happy that not only did I make the puzzle that was already on the site interactive, I made a second Peanuts-themed puzzle as well! http://aaugh.com/guide/cross2.htm
(The interactive part only works if your web browser has Java enabled. If you don’t have Java, you will be shown a version of the puzzle that you can print out and solve with a pencil.)
ANOTHER GUARALDI DISK
The Music page of AAUGH.com has long carried not only all the available Peanuts music, but also all the available music by Vince Guaraldi, the man who gave the animated Peanuts its jazzy sound. Well, at least we *tried* to offer all the available Guaraldi, but somehow, we missed a CD that was released last year. VINCE & BOLA combines a 1963 album that Guaraldi did with Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete with another album they did in 1966, shoving 73 minutes of music onto this tightly-packed disk. Interested? Listen to samples of their collaboration at: http://aaugh.com/go/go.pl?s=AB00004SUFP
Well, that’s it for today. Another newsletter when there’s more news! As always, send your comments, condemnations, contemplations, and confrontations to firstname.lastname@example.org
–Nat Gertler proprietor http://AAUGH.com "And so I go, day after day, dodging questions from curious outsiders.."