Everyone loves trivia about their favorite animated features and series, but with over 100 years of animation history behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in cartoons in this continuing video series. You think you know cartoons? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week we're taking a look at the beloved series of animated adaptations of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts!
Between the new television cartoon, last year's remarkable CGI movie, the new comics put out by Kaboom and the themed strip collections put out by Fantagraphics to supplement the The Complete Peanuts series, it's been a good time to be a fan of the work of Charles M. Schulz. But in absorbing a lot of this stuff, something leaped out at me that I can't push aside: Peppermint Patty --- formally known as Patricia Reichardt --- should be bisexual.
Last year's Peanuts Movie did the near-impossible and pulled off a successful translation of Charles M. Schulz's iconic style and characters from their native 2-D to CGI. That technical breakthrough was the film's real marquee attraction; the story was just a greatest hits. Structured over an entire year, you got the Red Baron, the Little Red-Haired Girl, the whole deal. Despite the deep melancholy and ennui at the strip's heart, Peanuts is a comic ultimately built on comfort and refuge.
Knowing that, it's easy to see why the new Boomerang/Cartoon Network series, Peanuts, went the route it did. Rather than attempt to modernize or emulate newer shows like Steven Universe or Adventure Time, Peanuts opts for a familiarity that perfectly evokes the feel of the comic strip.
Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite names in comics in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
Charles Schulz's Peanuts is one of the most popular and influential newspaper comics of all time, running from 1950 until Schulz's death in 2000. Even in the years since that time, Peanuts has continued to run in nearly every major American newspaper in reruns, and thanks to animated specials, movies, and merchandising, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Woodstock and the rest are familiar presences all across the world. In this video you can learn about good ol' Charlie Brown and the gang from their earliest days to the end of the strip and beyond.
In May, Fantagraphics is set to publish the twenty-fifth and penultimate collection of Charles Schulz’ masterpiece The Complete Peanuts, which will include Schulz’s final Peanuts strip from February 2000. In order to celebrate this momentous publication, Fantagraphics reached out to the the forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama, about the possibility of writing a foreword, and to their surprise, he said yes.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the 1965 television special that combined Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters, the jazzy music of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, and an honest look at the melancholy of the season, to become one of the most beloved and enduring holiday specials ever. It's a big anniversary, and that makes this year a better time than than most to talk about how it all came together.
The folks at Mashable have done just that with a look behind the scenes of the television special, including animation cels and an original script page that are more than worth your time to check out.
In terms of sheer ubiquity, no comic strip matches Peanuts. I can’t remember Charlie Brown and Snoopy not being around. Neither can my parents or relatives. Peanuts is so omnipresent that it’s easy to forget how revolutionary the original strip actually was/
And the strip is inextricable from its creator, Charles M. Schulz, whose work has never been out of print — be it thanks to the Fantagraphics Complete Peanuts collections or the “Classic Peanuts” strips still running in newspapers. But over the past couple of years, Boom Studios has been releasing Peanuts comic books and original graphic novels that brings Schulz’s work to a format it was never really in before (except once), while adding stories by new creators who hope to honor Schulz’s work while incorporating their own takes on Chuck, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and the rest.
As the Peanuts' 65th Anniversary year winds down, Peanuts-related news seems to be ramping up. The Peanuts Movie hits theaters this weekend, and every preview and trailer manages to look better than the last; Charles Schulz's birthday is coming up on November 26th; the United States Postal Service unveiled a new Forever stamp; there's a new tribute book out on the stands, which we reviewed yesterday; and Charlie Brown and the gang even appeared in the seventh-inning stretch of Game 2 of the World Series.
When it comes to Peanuts news, though, Fantagraphics is taking the crown. The curators of the complete Peanuts library have three new hardcover releases coming up just in time for the holidays: Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, the full-color Peanuts Every Sunday: 1961-1965, and The Complete Peanuts 1997-1998, and all three are worthy of addition to your collections.
From October 1950, when the very first installments of Peanuts was published, every single installment of the strip was drawn by Charles M. Schulz's own hand, and the only variations in the style of the characters' depictions came organically through the evolution of Schulz's own drawing style. Even when the characters have appeared outside their home strip, in various animated specials or in the Dell or Boom comic books, the animators and artists have closely aped Schulz's style.
That's what makes Boom Studios' new Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz so compelling. It's difficult to imagine what any other artist's version of the iconic characters might look like, but this book is full of them, and being faced with these characters divorced from their creator's designs is fascinating and at times even disconcerting. It's hard to look at the realistic image of Charlie Brown by Ryan Sook on the cover of the book, staring into the eyes of the "real" Charlie Brown, and not be a little freaked out, isn't it?
On October 2nd, 1950, Charles Schulz's Peanuts debuted in nine newspapers for United Features Syndicate. Fifty years later, it concluded with just shy of eighteen thousand strips published in thousands of papers, with the final installment appearing one day after Schulz passed away.
Between those two loci, Peanuts begat a billion-dollar media empire, the modern American comic strip, and a legacy of progressiveness, honesty, and inclusion that endures today. If Peanuts isn't definitively the greatest comic strip of all time, it's probably the most influential, and certainly the most successful, forever altering the dominant styles and subject matter of the funny pages.
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