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.