Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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.
If you spot the famed World War I Flying Ace soaring over the San Diego Convention Center this week, you probably aren’t imagining things.
Inspired by the trailer for The Peanuts Movie, Otto Dieffenbach of Flyguy Promotions created a custom remote-controlled quadcopter to send Snoopy — atop his doghouse — flying through the air. Dieffenbach said he first flew Snoopy in February, but has kept the drone relatively under wraps for months, in preparation for its big debut at Comic-Con International.
As anyone who’s ever worked at a newspaper can attest, readers don’t react well to changes to the comics section, which is a major reason why so many strips trudge on, zombie-like, long after the spark of life left them. So when financial or space constraints force editors to eliminate some old favorites, they expect complaints — although not necessarily a profanity-laced tirade from an 8-year-old.
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.
Legal | Illustrator Greg Theakston tells The Comics Journal that during his Christmas vacation, he plans to file a police complaint against the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center, alleging it stole about 3,000 photocopies of Kirby’s pencil work. Theakston gave the photocopies to the museum, but he contends it was intended to be a loan, while the museum says it was an outright donation. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Theakston has been threatening legal action since August. [The Comics Journal]
Creators | Paul Tumey posts a charming series of letters from Pogo creator Walt Kelly to a young pen pal (who had a pet alligator named Albert), along with plenty of backstory. [The Comics Journal]
Auctions | An original 1939 drawing of Tintin created by Herge for the cover of the weekly magazine Le Petit Vingtième sold Sunday for $673,468 at an auction of French and Belgian comics art held simultaneously in Paris and Brussels. The auction featured 101 works, of which 86 were purchased for a total of $2.4 million. [Agence France-Presse]
Auctions | A copy of The Hulk #181, featuring the first appearance of Wolverine, fetched $8,000 at an auction held Saturday at Back to the Past comics store in Redford, Michigan. [My Fox Detroit]
Retailing | System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, who shuttered his online store Torpedo Comics in 2010 after about three years in business, is looking to open a brick-and-mortar shop. A brief story notes that while Las Vegas store Comic Oasis, owner Derrick Taylor is partnering with Dolmayan to open Torpedo Comics in January at 8775 Lindell Road, Building H, Suite 150. [Vegas Inc.]
The Weather Channel has been widely mocked since deciding in 2012 to name winter storms much in the way the National Hurricane Center names tropical storms, and this year is little different, with sites like Mashable and Philly.com lining up to take their shots. Whether the 2014-15 names are as terrible as Mashable contends is certainly debatable, we will say this: They may be the nerdiest to date.
While the 2012 list included Gandalf, Rocky, Yogi and Orko (the thunder god of Basque mythology, we’re told, not He-Man’s sidekick), this year’s list offers some pretty stiff competition from the likes of Astro, Linus, Quantum and Thor.
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.
Thursday marks 10 years since the first 24 Hour Comics Day. In recognition of this milestone, Nat Gertler, who organized that first day and orchestrated the event annually through 2007, was more than happy to share his recollections of its formation. One detail that surprised was that the 2005 collection features the first sold story by award-winning artist Fiona Staples.
Graphic novels | An estimated 200 students, faculty and community members gathered Saturday at the College of Charleston in South Carolina to protest proposed budget cuts to that school and the University of South Carolina Upstate in retaliation for selecting gay-themed books — including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home — for their summer reading programs. The South Carolina House of Representatives approved a proposal early this month that would slash $52,000 cut from the College of Charleston and $17,142 for USC Upstate, which represent what each school spent on the programs. The budget is now before the state Senate. [The Post and Courier]