Saturday was my one day at the San Diego Comic-Con for the year. The past two days, I’ve been recovering from it.
The convention was sold out, as it always has been for years now… but the show floor was less crowded than usual. Oh, there were still plenty of people, but there were not traffic jams in the aisles. There was always a line at the Peanuts booth, but it was a line that you could get on; often, the line is almost always so long that they keep new people from joining it. But the vendors I spoke to were doing plenty of business, so there’s that. I guess people were just finding excuses to stay out of the crowds unless they had a purchase in mind. (The Con took COVID seriously — masks required, no one gets in without either proof of vaccination or a very recent negative test.)
I sought out the The Armstrong Project pop-up, which was in a fine location for people to discover it accidentally but horrible for people who were actually seeking it out. The “200 J Street Suite 105” location turned out not to be facing J Street, and not to be in some obscure suite, but on facing Harbor Drive, the drive that runs in front of the convention center.
Inside were displays telling the history of Franklin, as well as talking about the Armstrong Project, the Peanuts folks support for attendees of historically Black colleges and universities.
There were video screens showing this video, which is the same one that was previewed at Harriet Glickman’s memorial.
They had items for sale, as I mentioned previously. I’m really not that big a buyer of Peanuts “stuff”. I buy books – you know, strip reprints, things like that. I don’t need pins, beach towels, and such. And as much as I like Franklin, I didn’t think I needed this pin…
…until I saw how they were selling it.
That’s right, it’s set into a strip reprint. That’s arguably up my alley, so I gave in and bought it!
(It does, I should note, have the same problem that occurs whenever someone colors the scene. In the original black and white, the white portions of the ball are the white portions of a normal beach ball, and the black portions just indicate that there’s color there. But when you color it in, you can’t color the black portions, so you end up coloring the white portions… which means that in color, the black portions represent actual black sections of ball. What kind of beach ball has black strips?!?)
I found the booth for the publisher of the upcoming Charles M. Schulz: the Art and Life of the Peanuts Creator in 100 Objects, looking forward to seeing a mockup preview copy of the book on display. After all, my co-writer on the book, Schulz Museum curator Benjamin L. Clark, had posted this tweet from the con:
Tomorrow @NatGertler and I talk about some Peanuts animation deep cuts and we’ll probably mention the book we co-wrote that will be out soon. Come see us! Saturday 4:30 at 26AB pic.twitter.com/qdIy6bmq1m
— Benjamin L Clark (@BLClark) July 23, 2022
But when I got there, the preview was nowhere to be seen! Turns out Benjamin had swiped the book so that he could show it on our panel.
My presentation, “It’s a Filmstrip, Charlie Brown!” did not go off without a hitch. There was the technical problem that was keeping the audio of the filmstrips from being heard… which was addressed before too long. And then the presentation was interrupted by announcements to keep calm about the alarm that just went off… an alarm that we hadn’t heard, so we had been calm before that. But other than that, the whole thing went off better that I thought it would. About 75 people got to see some Charlie Brown’s Career Education Program filmstrips that probably hadn’t been shown to an audience in decades. We did a live reading of one of the film strips, with me reading Charlie Brown, Benjamin (who was acting as my interviewer for the presentation) as Linus, cartoonist Gladys Ochoa playing Dolores, and people we pulled out of the audience playing Lucy, Peppermint Patty, and Franklin. Some very loud enthusiasm was shown for Dolores, the Latina character, with people suggesting that it would be good if she were integrated into more modern Peanuts projects.
I do hope to find other opportunities to give this presentation again. (For those keeping track, we viewed “You May Live Underwater, Charlie Brown” and “It’s Your Hobby, Charlie Brown”, with “Think of the Future, Charlie Brown” being the one we did a live reading of.)
And what would travel be without getting a new Peanuts book? While I didn’t scour the convention floor the way that I would’ve during non-COVIDy times, I was given a book that I hadn’t already had. Peanuts Gang All Stars! is a hardcover produced by the Snoopy Museum in Japan, with character histories, looks at Peanuts products, Schulz’s other works, and more. It’s a nice book… if I wasn’t having problems with photo uploads at the moment, I’d show you some pictures of it. If all goes well, I’ll be posting more about it soon.
So a big thank you to any of the AAUGH Blog readers who came out to see me, a welcome to any of the panel audience who is now coming to the Blog for the first time, and best wishes to any and all on this silly globe of ours. The world is full of tension at the moment; may you find moments of comfort and grace in yours.