ODD PEANUTS BOOKS

In this issue:

* REVIEW: A TRIBUTE TO SPARKY

* PEANUTS AT THE BOOK EXPO

* MUSEUM OF ODD PEANUTS BOOKS

* LINUS ON THE LOOSE!

REVIEW: A TRIBUTE TO SPARKY

The Schulz Museum’s book A TRIBUTE TO SPARKY is an
interesting collection of cartoons drawn for or about
Charles Schulz reflecting on his illness, subsequent
retirement, and passing. It’s not an attempt to
present every tribute piece, but merely the ones in
the museum collection that were displayed in a series
of exhibitions. Even within that limitation it
represents the work of over a hundred cartoonists,
somewith multiple pieces.

The cartoons are a mix of personal “get well” drawings
sent to Sparky, strips done for the “let’s surprise
Sparky with Peanuts references in every strip” day that
Sparky never lived to see, and various editorial, daily,
and speciality strips done during that period. The works
are a mix of quality, and even some that would have
seemed touching on their own merely seem redundant in a
sea of similar strips. Some of the pieces are exceptional.

The reproduction is high-quality shots of the original
art, and for anyone who has not seen much original comics
art it could actually be quite educational. You’re able
to see the paste ups, erasures, white-outs, blue lines,
and other signs of the physical creation of comics.

The book puts one strip on each 11″x8″ page. It would
have been nice had they rotated the vertically-oriented
strips to give them more room; the lovely work on
Non-Sequitir and especially Art Spiegelman’s two-page
story from The New Yorker would have been clearer with
more space. (The Spiegelman item is a particular treat;
not only is it a fine, insightful, and personal piece
of work, but what’s reproduced here is not the final
piece but a preliminary version, loose and sketchy,
letting you see some of Spiegelman’s process.)

A few minor errors have cropped up in the book; a small
typo here, an incorrect strip date there. But the errors
that really frustrate me are the ones in the drawings
themselves, with Schulz’s name being misspelled or with
Snoopy being identified as “The Red Baron”. Gah! You’re
paying tribute to the man, know what it is you’re
paying tribute to! (But as someone who has spent a fair
amount of time with cartoonists, let me note that the
overall tone of admiration is indeed sincere. There is
a very strong affection for both Sparky and his work in
the cartooning fields.)

The book is printed on heavy paper with thick covers.
It’s wire bound, an interesting choice but not one
that I’m happy with. Yes, it lets the book lie open
flat, useful if you’re displaying the contents or using
it as a reference work. However, wire bindings are easily
bent, and the lack of a proper spine makes the book
anonymous on the bookshelf.

All in all, an interesting volume, a special one, and
one that a serious Peanuts book collector should own.
This is only available through the Schulz Museum store,
but as noted earlier they are accepting phone orders.
Call (707) 579-4452 during museum hours (remember,
they’re west coast and closed Tuesdays) and ask for
the museum store. Price is $30 plus shippping.

==============================================================

PEANUTS AT THE BOOK EXPO

This past weekend I was at Book Expo America, the country’s
biggest bookseller convention. Publishers were there in
force, showing off what they have coming up. Alas, there
wasn’t much visible for the Peanuts book fan; Paradise
Press had a variety of Peanuts coloring and activity
books on display, and the folks at Andrews McMeel had
a picture of the 2004 Peanuts wall calendar on display
(and shots of a couple other Peanuts calendars in their
catalog).

The Andrews McMeel booth did have something that should
make the Peanuts fans envious: a preview of a Complete
Far Side collection. A two volume slip-cased set has
every one of the 4000+ syndicated Far Sides (over 1000
of which aren’t in any previous Far Side book), including
color reproduction, plus various other pieces, a forward
by Steve Martin, and more. This is coming out in October,
priced at $135… but you can chop $40 off of that by
preordering it now at http://AAUGH.com/to.htm?0740721135

I hope that when the eventual Complete Peanuts is done,
it is done in as classy a manner.

Without my Peanuts fan hat on, the show was a lot of
fun. There was always something to see, whether it was
a group of Buddhist monks pushing their publications
a few aisles away from hardcore adult material, booksellers
zooming around trying to get all the free autographed books
they can, or handicapped folks zooming around on Segways.

==============================================================

MUSEUM OF ODD PEANUTS BOOKS

I’ve now added a new article on the website, a piece
about various strange and weird Peanuts books that
have been produced over the years. Those of you who
have been reading this newsletter for a while (or have
read the archives) have seen most of these books described,
although now you’ll get to see full color photos of them!
This piece started out as an article in the most recent
Hogan’s Alley magazine, but I’ve already expanded it and
will likely continue to expand it as I find more weird
items. Check it out at:

http://AAUGH.com/guide/oddbooks.htm

==============================================================

LINUS ON THE LOOSE!

Once again, the city of St. Paul will be home to a surfeit
of superior statues, in this case status of Linus Van Pelt.
Dozens of statues are now being placed throughout the city,
there for the tourists to admire. There are some keen
photos of the statues in progress at:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/3896334.html

I expect that there will once again be a booklet of photos
of the statues available through Camp Snoopy in the Mall
Of America. (And speaking of Camp Snoopy, did you realize
that the U.S. military actually has a “Camp Snoopy”? It’s
at the Qatar International Airport, and acts primarily
as a forwarding point for supplies sent to the Middle
East.)

==============================================================

Well, that’s the news for now. No major new book
announcements today, but I’ve got my ear to the
ground.

As always, let me know if there are any questions, confusions,
suggestions, suspicions, derisions, accusations, acclaims,
or new email addresses!

–Nat

nat@AAUGH.com

proprietor, http://AAUGH.com

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