I just received Adventures with Linus and Friends!, the second of the three announced books in Simon Spotlight’s Peanuts Graphic Novels line. About half of the book is a reprint of the graphic novel adaptation of Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, the direct-to-video special released in 2011. Most of the rest is reprint of stories from the Boom! comic books mixed in with a handful of strip reprints, but like each of the books in this series, there is one new story.
I’m going to put quotes around “new” in this case, though. The story (the last one in the book) is titled “Beagles and Blazers”, and it’s not so much a new story as an adaptation of a strip sequence (and this is admitted in crediting it as “Story by Charles M. Schulz, adapted by May Nakamura, art by Scott Jeralds, Letters by Bryan Stone.”) This adaptation of the Snoopy-turns-Linus’s-blanket-into-a-sport-coat storyline that ran November 4-18, 1971 doesn’t just copy the plot and much of the dialogue, it even directly copies Schulz’s art into the story. Some strips are slightly expanded, others skipped, and a new final gag is tacked on, but the bulk of it is Schulz.
In the latter part of the Peanuts comic book run, an edict came down that the writers were no longer to be telling new stories, but merely adapting stories from the strip. (That was right after the end of my small tenure writing stories for the series.) On one hand, I can see that the best way to ensure that the comic book was Schulz-y would be to use as much Schulz as possible. On the other hand, if Schulz had already told those stories, it’s not likely the comic book folks would tell them better, so what’s the point? (At which point, a voice shows up to say that the point is that the comic book format would be one way to provide kids with an initial entry into Peanuts, particularly at a time when very few kids are reading newspaper funny pages. The comic book could be viewed as being both for kids and for older collectors, but the material ends up in books like this, clearly for the kids.)
If you’re wondering, no, there are not AAUGH Blogger-written stories in this volume, and I presume there won’t be in the next given its baseball theme. All three of the announced Peanuts Graphic Novel books will be available in a boxed set, for them what likes boxes.