Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Comic strips | Reflecting on Charles M. Schulz’s long-running Peanuts, Kevin Wong lays much of the blame for the comic strip’s slow decline at the feet of the increasingly popular Snoopy: “[N]ear the end of the 60s and well into the 70s, the cracks started to show. Snoopy began walking on his hind legs and using his hands, and that was the beginning of the end for the strip. Perhaps he was technically still a dog, but in a very substantial way, Snoopy had overcome the principal struggle of his existence. His opposable thumbs and upward positioning meant that for all intents and purposes, he was now a human in a dog costume. One of his new roleplays was to be different Joes — Joe Cool, Joe Skateboard, etc.” [Kotaku]
To celebrate Snoopy’s birthday (and promote the upcoming animated feature), the producers of The Peanuts Movie have released a video in which director Steve Martino shows us out to draw everyone’s favorite beagle.
Why Aug. 10, when the character’s first appearance was on Oct. 4, 1950? It dates back to a 1968 Peanuts storyline by Charles M. Schulz, in which Snoopy is awakened by Linus in the middle of the night for a “secret mission” that turns out to be a surprise party. Peanuts.com re-ran that series just last week.
Peanuts is celebrating the 47th anniversary of the beloved comic strip’s first African-American character by declaring today National Franklin Day.
It’s a bit of promotion tied to the upcoming 3D-animated feature The Peanuts Movie, but it casts a welcome spotlight on Charlie Brown’s longtime friend, who was introduced by Charles M. Schulz on this day in 1968.
With time running out, the campaign to put Snoopy on a California license plate is still about 2,500 orders short.
Begun in 2010 by the California Associations of Museums, the effort is now down to the wire: Saturday is the deadline for the 7,500 preorders required for the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin production on the plate, which features Snoopy as drawn by creator Charles M. Schulz and the slogan “Museums Are For Everyone.” So far, about 5,000 orders have been placed.
Sixty-four years ago today, the beloved and influential Peanuts debuted in nine newspapers with a four-panel strip that set the tone for the future of “good ol’ Charlie Brown,” introduced through the words of Shermy, who admits his hatred for him.
Things didn’t get any better for the round-headed boy in the second installment, in which Patty (no, not Peppermint Patty) punches him in the eye. Snoopy doesn’t arrive until the third, but Schulz ensured the faithful companion wouldn’t make life much cheerier for Charlie Brown over the course of the 17,894 strips that followed.
The late Charles M. Schulz will be the first recipient of the Harvey Kurtzman Hall of Fame Award, presented Sept. 6 at Baltimore Comic-Con as part of 27th annual Harvey Awards ceremony. News of the new award comes in a brief audio interview with convention director Marc Nathan posted on the We Read Comics blog of the Albany, New York, Times Union.
The award will be accepted by Karen Johnson, director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California, who will also present a panel at the convention showcasing unpublished artwork by the beloved Peanuts creator.
Minneapolis attorney Ken Abdo grew up with two wall paintings of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, by Charles M. Schulz, in his bedroom. He and his wife Karen raised their four children in the same house, but now, with the kids grown, they’re looking to sell the home once owned by the Peanuts creator. However, there’s a problem: What to do with those one-of-a-kind murals.
“I was sort of personally the shepherd, or the keeper of the art, since I was 6 years old,” Abo tells Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
The 4,500-square-foot Spanish Mediterranean house, where Schulz from 1955 to 1958, is on the market for the first time in 54 years. The Abos hope to find a way to remove the two wall paintings, perhaps for acquisition by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The house is listed for $850,000, without the art; with it, you’ll pay another $100,000.
“I think it’s amazing that all of those things have become part of our culture. He did not set out to write the great American novel, or to do a comic strip that will last 100 years … I think when people asked him, ‘did you ever think your characters would become part of the culture’ it puzzled him a bit and he didn’t have a very good answer for it … I think his answer was something like, ‘I just tried to put everything I had into the comic strip and do the best I could every day.’”
— Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, on the “classic” status of the comic strips. In an online chat, she also confirmed that her husband could be as “bitter” as you’ve heard. “Yes, he could be cranky particularly if he had person after person after person interrupting him from things … But he was overall a pleasant person.”
Paraphrasing Lucy van Pelt, a California judge on Wednesday sentenced the original voice of Charlie Brown to a year in jail for threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking her plastic surgeon, and then released to a residential drug-treatment facility.
Handing down an additional five-year probation and an order to pay $15,000 in restitution, Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring cautioned former actor Peter Robbins, “If I can borrow a line from Peanuts, sir, I’m going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”
Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, could face up to three years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend as well as the plastic surgeon who gave her the breast enhancement he paid for. (Obligatory “Good grief!” goes here.)
The 56-year-old Robbins was arrested in January on an outstanding warrant while returning to California from Mexico, and arraigned on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking. According to City News Service (via The Associated Press), prosecutors say Robbins called his former girlfriend a dozen times a day and threatened to kill her and her son if she didn’t return his car and dog. He allegedly also threatened her plastic surgeon, demanding a refund for the breast enhancement.
Former actor Peter Robbins, best known as the original voice of Charlie Brown, was set to be arraigned today in San Diego on charges that he threatened a police officer, a doctor and two others with death. “AAUGGGHH!!” indeed.
U-T San Diego reports the 56-year-old Oceanside, California, resident was arrested Sunday night returning from Mexico after border security discovered he had an outstanding warrant in San Diego County. He was booked early Monday and held on $550,000 bail until his arraignment today on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we take a look at the comics, books and other things the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. We kick off the new year with Brian Cronin from Comics Should Be Good! as our special guest. In addition to running our sister blog, Brian is also an author, having written two books on comics trivia. He also runs the blog Urban Legends Revealed, where he talks about sports and entertainment urban legends.
To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Passings | Richard Alf, who as a teenager fronted the money for the first three years of San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con, the annual event that later became Comic-Con International, passed away Wednesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 59. Alf, who co-chaired the first convention in 1970 and became chairman the following year, later opened Comic Kingdom in North Slope, a business he sold by the end of the decade. [U-T San Diego, Mark Evanier]
Conventions | iFanboy, San Francisco’s Isotope Comics and Grant Morrison are teaming up for MorrisonCon, which will feature “A once in a lifetime opportunity to see Grant Morrison and 9 hand picked comic creator superstars, all together for one weekend, one time only.” They’ve released few details so far, but the website says it’ll occur next fall. [MorrisonCon]
Awards | Comic-Con International is now accepting submissions for the 2012 Eisner Awards, which will be presented in San Diego in July. The deadline for submitting materials for consideration is March 6. [CCI]