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At long last the threshold has been met for California to produce official Snoopy license plates, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the state’s museums and zoos.
Begun in 2010 by the California Association of Museums, the effort required California residents to preorder 7,500 plates before the Department of Motor Vehicles would go into production. With that goal achieved, any drivers interested in purchasing the plates have only until Friday to complete their orders orders. That’s when the information is handed to the DMV.
The iTunes’ Terms and Conditions agreement has got to be the least-read-yet-most-signed contract in human history. For pages and pages (and a nearly limitless downward digital scroll), it enumerates Apple’s latest subtle shifts in policy regarding the ways we purchase, license and “own” music and media acquired through the most influential online marketplace to date. Who reads those things? Who could even pretend to? Can one even imagine a more arduous task than going through that document, line by line, and trying to parse what exactly it is we are all signing on for?
But ah, the magic of comics. Cartoonist R. Sikoryak, whose work has appeared in Drawn and Quarterly and The New Yorker, is publishing his painstakingly thorough, unabridged graphic adaptation of the iTunes Terms and Conditions agreement on Tumblr. This version of the contract is no mere dry rendering of legalese — instead, Sikoryak has transformed the document into a showcase of styles from talent all across the history of comics, making each page an experiment in the diverse visual language of the medium’s most beloved luminaries.
Retailing | Online retail giant Amazon will open its first brick-and-mortar store this morning in Seattle’s upscale shopping center University Village. Called simply Amazon Books, the store features between 5,000 and 6,000 books, from bestsellers to Amazon.com customer favorites. “Amazon Books is a physical extension of Amazon.com,” Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books, said in a statement. “We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.” As The Seattle Times notes, the opening arrives with a dose of irony: For years Amazon has been able to undercut most other retailers largely because it didn’t have any physical locations. [The Seattle Times]
Sixty-five years ago today, good ol’ Charlie Brown strolled across the comics page, blissfully unaware that he was the subject of Shermy’s admiration and scorn. “Oh, how I hate him!” exclaimed the little boy, who would be all but forgotten in later years.
However, readers didn’t hate Charlie Brown, and eventually Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts grew from just nine newspapers to, at its peak, more than 2,600. Just two days after the strip’s debut, Schulz added Snoopy, followed over the next few years by Violet, Schroeder, Lucy, Linus and Pig-Pen, characters that, unlike Shermy and the original Patty, that have stood the test of time.
The legacy of legendary cartoonist Charles M. Schulz is brought into focus in a new featurette for The Peanuts Movie called “The Art of Dreaming Big.”
“My dad always said, ‘If you read the comic strip you know who I am,” recalls son Craig Schulz, “and you can see that all the characters in the comic strip are really elements of him.”
Move over, DC Comics Super Hero Cafe, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang are opening their own restaurant in Tokyo, just in time for the 65th anniversary of Peanuts.
According to Rocket News24, the simply named Peanuts Cafe — “It’s not eating, it’s dining” — will feature an “American West Coast” theme, with a rustic, relaxing atmosphere. Judging by images of some of the dishes, “rustic” is the perfect description, with Beagle Scout S’Mores served in a little cast-iron skillet, and Goose Egg Sliders (a reference to Charlie Brown’s baseball team) presented with a basket of fries.
The United States Postal Service gets into the holiday spirit with the Oct. 1 release of A Charlie Brown Christmas-themed Forever stamps. Though it may seem like they’re arriving a bit early, especially given the anti-commercialism themes of Charles Schulz’s animated special, the timing is a deliberate celebration of the strip’s Oct. 2 1950 newspaper debut.
Featuring ten images taken directly from the special, the limited edition release will be available as 20-stamp booklets.
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.”