July 22, 2014

Peanuts #20 arrives Wednesday, July 23

Issue #20 of Boom Studio's Peanuts comic book comes to stores on Wednesday, July 23.  This month's stories are "Ewe First," "Legal Beagle," and "Poor Chuck," accompanied as always by a selection of classic Peanuts Sunday strips.  You can read a 5-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

Look for it at your local comic book shop, but if they don't have it, you can also buy it from Boom! Studio's website.

June 25, 2014

Interviews with the voice actors from the classic Peanuts TV specials

Marc Nobleman - an author of children's books and a blog interviewing pop culture figures - has contacted and interviewed several of the actors and actresses who performed voices for the three best-known Peanuts television specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

This week he's posting the interviews on his blog, Noblemania - four interviews are up so far and more are coming. 

His interviewees are Tracy Stratford (Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas), Sally Dryer (Lucy in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown), Cathy Steinberg (Sally in Christmas and Great Pumpkin), Todd Barbee (Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving), Stephen Shea (Linus in Thanksgiving), Robin Kohn Glazer (Lucy in Thanksgiving), Hilary Momberger (Sally in Thanksgiving), and Christopher deFaria (Peppermint Patty in Thanksgiving).

You can find links to all the interviews in his “Peanuts” voice actor interviews: introduction post. So be sure to head on over and check out his chats, which are accompanied by some nifty photos and behind-the-scenes details.

Peanuts #19 in stores Wednesday, June 25

The comic book Peanuts #19 arrives Wednesday, June 25, 2014. In this issue are the stories "Finding Belle" and "The Carousel" (both based on previous comic strip continuities, as many comic book stories have been), together with an excerpt from recently released graphic novel "The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown" and a few classic Peanuts Sunday strips. There's a five-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

You can buy Peanuts #19 at your local comic book store, or order it directly from Boom! Studio's website.

June 17, 2014

Reminder: This is America, Charlie Brown DVD re-release on June 17

If you're looking for a copy of This is America, Charlie Brown on DVD, the two-disc Warner Home Video re-release of the eight episode miniseries is out today, June 17, 2014.

Promoted as "the first animated miniseries ever," the specials were broadcast in prime-time on CBS during the 1988-89 television season. Meant as both education and entertainment, the shows find the Peanuts gang witnessing and participating in historic events and discoveries. For more details, visit the Peanuts Animation & Video Page.

The eight episodes are:

  • The Mayflower Voyagers
  • The Birth of the Constitution
  • The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
  • The NASA Space Station
  • The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad
  • The Great Inventors
  • The Smithsonian and the Presidency
  • The Music and Heroes of America

This isn't the first time all the episodes of This is America, Charlie Brown have been released on DVD - Paramount released a DVD set with the exact same contents back in 2006 - but that set has been out of print for many years, so this is a welcome reissue. (But given the previous release, Warner's claim on the cover that the specials are "together for the first time" is bogus.)

The list price for the set is $26.99, and it's available now.

June 6, 2014

Peanuts book highlights for spring/summer 2014

In addition the new Complete Peanuts volumes I posted about a few days ago, there are several other recent and upcoming Peanuts books worth mentioning. All the books can either be ordered from their publishers (see the links below), Amazon, or your local comic book store.

Recently published:

The large and comprehensive Complete Peanuts books aren't the only Peanuts project at Fantagraphics. Batter Up, Charlie Brown is the first in a line of small, themed Peanuts strip collections. Out now, it's a small hardback (about six inches square) containing selected baseball-themed comic strips. The strips are presented one-a-page in a square format, as opposed to the "normal" strip format - recall that the syndicate originally marketed Peanuts as a strip with four equal-sized panels that could be rearranged to run in a line horizontally, or a line vertically, or in a square, and Fantagraphics has taken advantage of that. If you've been buying the Complete Peanuts volumes, you have all the strips in this mini-collection, but you might be just the thing it if you're looking to give someone a little book of Peanuts strips about baseball. Batter Up, Charlie Brown is 64 pages long, lists for $9.99, and you can see a 10-page preview (and place an order) at Fantagraphics' website.

The next two mini-collections from Fantagraphics, titled Waiting for the Great Pumpkin and Snoopy's Thanksgiving, will be out this fall.

Peanuts Volume Three from Boom! Studios collects issues Volume 2 #5 through Volume 2 #8 of the Peanuts comic book into a single trade paperback volume. All the stories and classic Peanuts Sunday strips from those four issues are included, and in addition you get a new cover featuring a gathering of minor Peanuts characters and a gallery of the original covers and "first appearance" variant covers, which is nice, since most readers of the comic book probably never saw them. The compilation is 128 pages long, has a list price of $13.99, and you can buy it now from Boom! Studio's website.


Two new, and very different, books are coming in June:

The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown is Boom! Studio's third Peanuts graphic novel (following It's Tokyo, Charlie Brown and the adaptation of the TV special Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown), and will be on sale Wednesday, June 11. The publisher's blurb for this all new book-length comic says: "While the kids play space, Snoopy has got troubles of his own with The Cat Next Door, who has taken Snoopy’s supper dish! Will our favorite beagle get his dish back in time for dinner or will he have to travel to the moon on an empty stomach?" The Beagle Has Landed, Charlie Brown graphic novel will be a 96 page-long trade paperback with a list price of $9.99. It can be ordered directly from Boom! Studio's website ; you can read a 10-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

(Long-time Peanuts collectors will remember that there was a Peanuts Parade comic strip collection from the 1970's titled The Beagle Has Landed. This graphic novel is not a reprint of that book.)

Charles Schulz's Peanuts: Artist's Edition is a massive hardcover also coming in June from IDW Publishing.

IDW is a newcomer to the world of Peanuts books, but not to comic book and comic strip collections. They've published an impressive line of books collecting strips such as Terry and the Pirates, Bloom County, Dick Tracy, L'il Abner, and many others. They also produce a series they call "Artist's Editions," which reproduce the original artwork of comic books at the art's original size (comic art is typically drawn a good bit larger than the size it's ultimately printed in comic books or newspapers), scanned from the original drawings so that they show all the fine details, as well as the artist's original guidelines, paste-overs, corrections, printed on paper that is selected to appear as close as possible to the original art board.

Now for the first time a comic strip is getting the "Artists's Edition" treatment - and that comic strip is Peanuts. If you've ever been to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, you know it's a joy to see the details and craftsmanship of Schulz's originals drawings. They're over two feet wide - quite a difference from the seven-inch reprints in The Complete Peanuts!

The Peanuts Artist's Edition attempts to replicate that experience. As a result, the book will be quite large - 19.5" by 11" - but even at those dimensions, the strips will be reduced somewhat from their original size (apparently, and likely sensibly, IDW decided a book that was 2 1/2 to 3 feet wide would be too unwieldy). It will have 140 pages, and based on a sample page - which you can see in this Tumblr post from IDW - there will be two daily strips per page (hopefully some Sunday strips will be included as well, but IDW's advance information doesn't specify). Presumably the strips will represent a selection from over the years, but that's another bit of info that IDW has yet to detail. Due to the size and quality of paper used, in addition to its large dimensions, the book will have a large price of $100.

Charles Schulz's Peanuts: Artist Edition can be pre-ordered directly from IDW or from Amazon, and will start shipping in late June.

June 2, 2014

The Complete Peanuts 1991-1992 (new release) & The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (paperback reprint) now available

The 21st volume of Fantagraphics Book's The Complete Peanuts series, reprinting all of Charles Schulz's daily and Sunday comic strips from 1991 and 1992, is on sale now. You can order it directly from Fantagraphics or Amazon, or find it at your local comic book store.

Fantagraphics says:

Peanuts enters its final decade, and The Complete Peanuts enters its homestretch, with material that is perhaps the most overlooked of Schulz’s career and soon to be reconsidered by scholars with this volume. Schulz’s cartooning has never looked more confident, and his sense of humor never more unrestrained.
Love takes many shapes and shades in The Complete Peanuts 1991-1992. Charlie Brown's interest in the Little Red-Haired Girl is rekindled; Linus fails to impress Lydia; Sally hoorays for Hollywood; Marcie pines for the World War I Flying Ace, who becomes lost in his cups (of root beer); Peppermint Patty and Marcie try to make Charlie Brown choose between them; and Snoopy is dangerously obsessed... with cookies.

This volume also includes an introduction by Tom Tomorrow, author of the comic "This Modern World."

Just like previous years, Volume 21 will also be available in a box set with Volume 22 (1993-1994) when that book is released in autumn.

You can read a PDF excerpt of The Compete Peanuts 1991-1992, see a photo slideshow, and order the book from Fantagraphics' website.



Also now available from Fantagraphics is a paperback edition of The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Volume 1). While the softcover mostly includes the same content as the hardback edition first released ten years ago, there are some changes.

What's the same: Of course and most importantly, the paperback edition includes all the daily and Sunday comics from the very first years of Peanuts (although the Sunday strip didn't start until January 1952). It also retains the introduction by Garrison Keillor and a ten-page biographical overview of Charles Schulz's life and work by biographer David Michaelis. The dimensions of the book are essentially the same as the hardcover edition (8.25" x 6.5").

What's different: The softcover has a new cover, and inside it's less ornate - it doesn't feature the nifty interstitial and end pages designed by Seth for the hardcover volumes, and the spot illustrations that accompany Keillor's and Michaelis' pieces are different. An interview with Charles Schulz conducted by Rick Marschall that was in the hardback isn't included in the new softcover (although that interview wasn't actually original to the hardback, it was a reprint from a magazine). A puzzling change is the month and year indicating when the comics were first published are no longer present along the bottom of the book's pages - which is unfortunate, since Fantagraphics has always removed the copyright dates from the strips themselves. Thus one cannot easily tell which year the comics on any given page came from!

Finally, the paperback edition is somewhat cheaper with a list price of $22.99 (the hardback edition's list price is $29.99).

A softcover version of the second Compete Peanuts volume, which collects the years 1953-1954, is due out this fall. Like their hardback counterparts, there will a box set paring both paperback volumes together.

(And in case you're wondering: the hardback versions of the books remain in print, at present they aren't being replaced by the softcover versions.)

Visit Fantagraphics' website to read a PDF excerpt of The Compete Peanuts 1950-1952 paperback edition, see video and photo slideshow, and order the book.

May 28, 2014

Peanuts #18 on sale Wednesday, May 28

The latest issue of Boom! Studio's Peanuts comic book went on sale Wednesday, May 28.  Issue #18 features the new stories "In the Shadows," "Dance Craze," "Steep Grade Ahead," and "Blind As a Bat" together with a "pull-out poster" (a two-page center-spread) featuring some of the original comic strips by Charles Schulz .  You can peruse a 5-page sample at ComicBookResources.

Find Peanuts #18 at your local comic book store, or purchase it directly from Boom! Studio's website.

April 22, 2014

Peanuts #17 out Wednesday, April 23

The Peanuts comic book from Boom! Studios returns this Wednesday, April 23, with issue #17. This month's new stories are "Balloon Bother," "Tasty is a Virtue," and "Dear Pen-Pal." You can see a 5-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

Look for Peanuts #17 at your local comic book store, or you can order it directly from Boom! Studio's website.

April 3, 2014

Limited edition It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown prints for 2014 from Dark Hall Mansion

Spring is here, and so are two new eye-catching limited edition It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown prints from Dark Hall Mansion, going on sale Tuesday, April 8.

Artist Jayson Weidel captures the 1974 television special in two very different styles. The standard edition print sports cheerful colors and an nifty Easter egg motif encircling scenes from the show in great detail, including Woodstock's groovy birdhouse pad (one of my personal favorites). The variant print has a simpler but no less attractive design of the Easter Beagle himself bursting forth from a basket full of eggs, to the delight of two adoring fans.

Standard edition (click to enlarge)
Variant edition (click to enlarge)

The officially licensed, numbered editions measure 18" x 24" and are individually screen printed.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, and the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints. In addition, there will be a special wood edition of 5 each of both the standard and variant artwork.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Wood: $250

The 2014 Easter Beagle prints go on sale Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at at a random time between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM (Pacific time) at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore.

Visit Dark Hall Mansion's blog and their Facebook page for more information, larger pictures of the artwork, and behind-the-scenes photos.

April 1, 2014

It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown & Charlie Brown's All-Stars To Air Sunday, April 20, 2014 on ABC

The Easter Beagle will be making a timely visit to television screens on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014. ABC will be broadcasting the traditional springtime special It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown together with the baseball-themed special Charlie Brown's All-Stars from 7-8 PM (Eastern/Pacific time).

In 1974's It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, Linus tries to convince the gang that there's no need to decorate their own eggs, because the Easter Beagle will bring them - but given Linus' history with the Great Pumpkin, his friends are skeptical. Meanwhile, Peppermint Patty and Marcie (ignoring Linus' advice) go through a series of mishaps preparing eggs for coloring.

Charlie Brown's All-Stars was the second-ever Peanuts television special, airing in 1966, just six months after the successful broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas. In this special, Charlie Brown tries to keep his baseball team together with the lure of getting actual uniforms and playing in a real league, but he faces a tough decision when he learns that the sponsor will only provide them if he takes the girls and Snoopy off the team.

March 25, 2014

50th Anniversary LP & CD release of Vince Guaraldi's A Boy Named Charlie Brown album

Vince Guaraldi's first album of Peanuts music, titled Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, was initially released nearly 50 years ago, in December 1964. (The album's title was later shortened to just A Boy Named Charlie Brown.)

The music on the record was the soundtrack for a documentary by producer Lee Mendelson about Charles Schulz and Peanuts. But Mendelson was unable to sell the documentary, also titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown, to a network and it was never seen on television... although it did lead to Mendelson getting the job to produce the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas and many more Peanuts specials. (The original, unbroadcast documentary can be ordered on DVD from the Charles Schulz Museum's online store.)

Even though the documentary never aired, Fantasy Records and Vince Guaraldi went ahead and released the album, introducing the world to "Linus and Lucy," now instantly recognized as "the Peanuts theme." Several other themes on the LP, such as "Charlie Brown Theme" and "Baseball Theme," also appear regularly in the early Peanuts animated specials.

This May, Concord Music - the modern owners of the Fantasy label - is releasing two different 50th anniversary editions of the A Boy Named Charlie Brown album, one on vinyl and one on CD.  Both feature newly remastered tracks of the original album music.

(Note: the information about the contents of the releases was updated and corrected the day after this entry was original posted, based on new information received.)

The original LP cover
The "limited edition, collectible" vinyl may be of the most interest - it will be a faithful reproduction of the 1964 LP release, featuring the album's original cover (the artwork was completely replaced for later LP and and CD releases), the original liner notes in a gatefold jacket, and reproductions of the dozen 8" x 10" lithographs that came with the album. On top of that, it will be pressed on orange vinyl (which may not be authentic to the original, although Fantasy did have a tradition of releasing albums on colored vinyl in the 1960's).  However, the LP will only feature the nine tracks that were originally released in 1964.

The CD release will sport the modernized cover (same as the current CD) and a less elaborate booklet, but it will include new liner notes by Guaraldi historian (and FiveCentsPlease.org co-author) Derrick Bang, and 11 tracks - the original nine from the LP; "Fly Me to the Moon," a bonus track that has been part of all CD releases of the album; and a new bonus track, an alternate take of "Baseball Theme."  Derrick's new liner notes will only appear with the CD, and the bonus tracks will also only be on the CD.

It sounds like dedicated Vince Guaraldi fans will want (need?) to buy both releases, which are due out on May 13, 2014.  The vinyl edition should be available from Amazon, CDUniverse, or any other music store willing to order and stock it.

For more information, see the Concord press release and Derrick's posts about the release at his Impressions of Vince blog - both his initial announcement and then his detailed description of the LP facsimile edition.

(Note that this is not a release of the soundtrack for the 1969 movie also titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Sadly, that soundtrack remains unreleased.)

March 18, 2014

First details and teaser trailer for the 2015 Peanuts movie revealed

The first promotional push for the new Peanuts theatrical movie, currently scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, arrived this morning from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios.

The studios released the first teaser trailer for the movie, giving a taste of how the new CGI-based animation will look. You can watch it on YouTube.

Next, producers Craig Schulz (son of Charles Schulz) and director Steve Martino talked with USA Today in two articles about the movie, Sneak Peek: 'Peanuts' cracks big screen again and 'Peanuts' true loves: Red-Haired Girl and Fifi step out.

From the articles we learn that "the story will bring together the entire cast from the strips and television specials" and will also feature a large on-screen role for the "little red-haired girl" (who was an off-screen character in the comic strips, but who did appear on-screen in the TV special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown). Also appearing as a love interest for Snoopy will be Fifi, a poodle who appeared in the TV special Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown. Other small reveals are that we'll see the World War I Flying Ace in action and familiar strip locations such as the skating pond and "the wall" where characters often ponder life.  Both Schulz and Martino promise that "the settings will not be updated to the present, continuing with the eternal look of the strip."

Finally, there's now an official website for the movie, http://www.peanutsmovie.com , although at the moment it's pretty much a placeholder with just a very short blurb about the movie and a link to the trailer.

March 6, 2014

Peanuts postage stamps coming in 2015

The United States Postal Service plans to issue Peanuts postage stamps sometime in 2015, according to this article from the Washington Post from a couple weeks ago.

Assuming the Postal Service doesn't change its mind, this will be the second time Peanuts characters have been featured on a United States stamp.  The first was a 2001 stamp (back when postage stamps were only 34 cents) featuring Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace.

While no details have been announced yet - and probably won't be until 2015, since stamps aren't officially revealed until much closer to their release - I'd guess that this time more of the Peanuts gang will get in on the action.  Maybe if we're lucky, it will be a sheet of stamps with several different designs on it… we'll see next year!

February 25, 2014

Peanuts #16 arrives Wednesday, February 26

Issue #16 of Peanuts goes on sale Wednesday, February 26.  New stories in this month's installment of Boom! Studio's comic book include "The Artists," "New Shoe Zoom," "The Doctor is Way In," and "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not."  Comic Book Resources has a five-page preview of the issue.

Look for the mag at your local comic book store, but if you can't find it, you can purchase it from Boom! Studio's website.

As it does after every four issues, the monthly Peanuts comic book will be taking a break in March and return in April.

However, early in March will see the release of Peanuts Volume 3, a trade paperback collecting issues #5-8 of the comic (which were published separately last year).

February 20, 2014

This is America, Charlie Brown returns to DVD on June 17, 2014

On June 17, Warner Home Video will release all eight episodes of This is America, Charlie Brown in a two-disc DVD box set.

Promoted as "the first animated miniseries ever," the specials were broadcast in prime-time on CBS during the 1988-89 television season. Meant as both education and entertainment, the shows find the Peanuts gang witnessing and participating in historic events and discoveries. For more details, visit the Peanuts Animation & Video Page.

The eight episodes are:

  • The Mayflower Voyagers
  • The Birth of the Constitution
  • The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
  • The NASA Space Station
  • The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad
  • The Great Inventors
  • The Smithsonian and the Presidency
  • The Music and Heroes of America

This isn't the first time all the episodes of This is America, Charlie Brown have been released on DVD - Paramount released a DVD set with the exact same contents back in 2006 - but that set has been out of print for many years, so this is a welcome reissue. (Given the previous release, Warner's claim on the cover that the specials are "together for the first time" is hogwash.) The Mayflower Voyagers appears as a bonus feature on the A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD and Blu-ray, but otherwise, there is no duplication with other Warner Peanuts DVDs.

The list price for the set is $26.99, and it can be ordered from online retailers now.