Those of you who have never been to the San Diego Comic-Con (or who haven’t been in a the past couple decades) may not realize that the event goes well beyond the convention center. For blocks around, there are pop-up shops in unused storefronts, studios creating fan “experiences” in parking lots, rousing events at the ballpark (and psst, these events, not being run by the convention itself, often don’t require a badge to get in, so locals can dip their toe in this stuff.) The streets are crowded with fans, and with promoters, handing out ad papers for upcoming network TV shows, or free sample energy drink, or coupons at local restaurants. (I got hit upon by a survey taker who wanted input on self-help books, and asked all kinds of questions about not just what kind of self-help books I might buy and what titles I prefer, but also about my demographics and background… and never asked that magic question “do you write self-help books?” Really, as the author of Be More Snoopy and Be More Charlie Brown, I shouldn’t have been taking her survey. But I digress.) There are folks with bible quote signs and bullhorns trying to harass you into loving Jesus (or, more accurately, trying to score holy points with The Big Guy for making the attempt; they are doing it for themselves, not for you.) Many of the promoters are aware of the context and try to seem like a fun part of the scene, wearing costumes and the like.
As I mentioned earlier, there was a Peanuts pop-up there, specifically one celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beagle Scouts and their upcoming TV series. And exploiting that presence was…. Greenpeace, the environmental activist organization. Their volunteers were coming up to those headed to and from the pop-up, telling them how cool it was they were there for the Beagle Scouts 50th anniversary, but you should know that Greenpeace has been “hugging the trees” longer than fifty years — since 1969, in fact.
I don’t know how well this all worked. I certainly didn’t stick around for more, as I’m already aware of Greenpeace and my convention time is limited and valuable. And I assumed he wasn’t really interested in me going on about the history of environmentalism in Peanuts (“Name-checking Rachel Carson since 1962!”) or its complex relationship with trees (“provider of housing support, eater of kites”.)
So the Beagle Scouts stand for good things even in the eyes of Greenpeace. But I have to tell you that there is one thing that’s disappointing me about next year’s Camp Snoopy TV series already, and you can see it in this promo image.
More to the point, you can’t see it in this image, and you would if it was there: a purple bird. I am sure that, despite the fact that he didn’t make a big deal of it, Schulz did not add Raymond to the Scouts casually. He integrated the Scouts first on gender, then later on color. But while recent new material is being aggressive on inclusion on various fronts (Franklin is not only in most things, he actually has the lead in a special coming next year!) (Wait, had a not mentioned that: there’s a Marcie special coming this month, and Franklin in 2024.) there are some places they have slipped., missed simple opportunities… and the all-yellow bird squad we’ve seen in the previous series and are showing up in Camp Snoopy is an obvious case of that.
There is clearly a lot of good effort being put into the Apple TV+ material, and I’m impressed by the commitment to keep this going. It’s a good thing… but it ain’t a perfect thing.