USA Today published a sneak peek into "The Peanuts Movie," arriving in theatres next year, and we can’t wait!
Moviegoers can expect to see 3-D computer-animated characters including Snoopy, Woodstock, Linus and Peppermint Patty. However, even with modern technology and animation coming into play, director Steve Martino has made it a priority to stay “true to the look and feel of the comic strips.”
With Peanuts celebrating its 65th anniversary next year, we are excited to see the gang come to life on the big screen!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST names. This contest will end on Tues., Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide.
The countdown to the holidays is on! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for family and friends, be sure to check out our gift suggestions!
P.S. Did you know Peanuts is celebrating its 65th anniversary next year? Browse the archives here.
Over the last few years, there's been a marked uptick in alternate posters for beloved films created by all sorts of artists, often in collaboration with the films' directors. Mondo regularly puts out limited-edition versions of these things, rotating through every conceivable genre, era and taste on a regular basis. I'm sure there's some sort of schedule for their release, but I don't make enough money to even consider buying one, so I mainly just check in every month or so, think, "Gee, I wish I made a living wage," and then save the highest-resolution version I can to a special folder for later envy, before going back to my dinner of fish bones and boiled shoelace spaghetti on a trashcan lid.
I just stumbled across this new poster for "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" by super-awesome artist Nicolas Delort. It's not for sale just yet-- you'll have to wait until October 2nd-- but you can feast your eyes on 'em here, then go read a really awesome post on their creation on Blurrpy. Dude is spookily talented.
The GoComics team had a blast assembling a larger-than-life, 8-bit Snoopy in our front windows last week!
As our Kansas City friends and Royals fans will notice, Snoopy is proudly rooting for our hometown’s baseball team! If you happen to be in the area, stop by the GoComics headquarters (1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106) and snap a photo with Snoopy! Don’t forget to share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Charlie Brown's father is a barber. Possibly an invisible barber. I realized after typing "invisible barber" that such a thing is a concept I apparently find really unsettling. I'll revisit this newfound fear on my own time, and instead speculate that, judging by how infrequently the elder Mr. Brown seems to be home, he is instead a very, very busy barber. Other than his father's profession and his implied corporeal legitimacy, no further details about Charlie Brown's parents are ever stated. The following strip is the only instance in which his mother ever directly appears. She might be a Ghost Mom, it's impossible to say.
Aside from ghosts being very scary, it's never of much actual concern that adults are nowhere to be found in Peanuts. The strip is constructed in such a way that they aren't necessary. The scope of the world is kid-sized and free of any real threats, if you set aside the entire world's constant, subtle nudging of Charlie Brown towards suicide.
Like everyone else, I started reading Peanuts pretty deeply into its run. After having the basics explained and figuring out the rest through context and by not being really stupid, I followed it for a few decades until it concluded. It's a really good strip to hand to a kid-- the lines are soft and sparse, the threats are all existential and open-ended, so there's always hope for a happy outcome, and no one's sarcastic. It's incredibly, miraculously thoughtful, which is a pretty great example to provide your average grubby, pre-moral kid. I don't have the data handy at the moment, but there's a disturbing correlation between juvenile diabetes and kids whose first comic was Family Circus.
Still, one thing always nagged at me, due largely to the expectation of safety that comes from being fortunate enough to grow up in a stable, loving household: where are all the adults?
Not that I thought adults needed to be regular fixtures-- I still can't really imagine how an adult's face would look in the Peanuts universe. But everyone's always so mean to poor Chuck, and it'd be nice to see that he had a reliably safe place to go where someone loved him. Snoopy's love seems conditional, at best, and sure, that beanbag chair is probably warm, but it's no substitute for a hug.
The strips shown here are literally the only ones in the entire run of Peanuts where adults show up. I'm glad to see that the kids do indeed have actual, tangible elders to whom they could turn instead of just spooky, translucent ghost-parents. I guess the adults in these strips could all actually have monster faces, but that seems like a pessimistic assumption to make, so I'll assume they don't.
Even though Charles Schulz was talented enough to keep the cast from ever acting like child-shaped adults, they really acted like genuine little kids for the first few years. It's for the best he edged them forward a bit, developmentally, to not only give them more to do, say and think, but also to allow for enough autonomy that they could inhabit a world custom-built for them, instead of peeking around the corners of a world where they were new arrivals.
It's fun to muck around in the early years of the strip to see Schulz build out his characters and watch his illustration style loosen up. The lines he draws gradually go from uniformly even and neat to nervous and loose within the first decade as he gets to know the cast. His backgrounds start off as expertly detailed and subtly imposing, staged with just the right things that someone three feet high would find noteworthy. Within the first ten years, things recede into arid landscapes that serve to best frame the day's activity: here's where we are, here are the props we'll be using. He starts off as an amazing illustrator, and almost immediately grows into a masterful storyteller. While I would've really liked to see more of the early years' tight, precise linework, the strip grows into the quiet, mannered masterpiece for which it's remembered once Schulz softens the edges on his panels.
What I'm saying here is: Peanuts is pretty good. I guess he knew what he was doing.
It's only after sitting here for a long time, trying to type something worthwhile about adults' cameos in this strip that I think I've figured out how Peanuts could possibly work so well when its ridiculously sympathetic protagonist seems so utterly alone and unloved. Peanuts is so adored and admired because it pulled off something almost no other cartoon ever could, bringing the reader in to fill a role so notably absent in the strip.
Turns out, Charlie Brown has plenty of adults around who love him: us.
It's no April Fool's Day joke: we have a giveaway that could be considered legendary (RIP Barney Stinson, HIMYM).
Today, a new comic strip documentary was released on iTunes - Stripped. The film focuses on the history and future of the comics industry and talks with many of the top cartoonists in the world. From the GoComics family, the credits reads like a "who's who" of comics. This includes:
Take a look at the trailer:
The film was so highly regarded that the notoriously private Bill Watterson came out of retirement to draw the movie poster - his first public cartoon since retiring from Calvin and Hobbes.
To celebrate this day with you and our cartoonists, we've partnered with the film's directors on a giveaway. You will have a chance to win our grand prize (the Stripped movie poster with artwork drawn by Watterson) or one of three second-place prizes (a DVD copy of the film).
Enter the contest by commenting below and answering the following two-part question: What is your favorite newspaper comic strip AND what is your favorite webcomic?
The contest will end at noon CT on Wednesday, April 9. This contest is open worldwide to all comics fans. If you have won a GoComics prize in the past week, you are not eligible. By entering, you are open to your entry being used by Universal Uclick/GoComics and the Stripped filmmakers in promoting the film and its outreach.
Visit the Stripped website, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook. Also, support their efforts by buying a digital copy of the film here. Also, co-director Dave Kellett will be on a live tweet session with @gocomics on Friday at 1:30PM CT! Write in to ask him about the film, working with Bill Watterson and other great cartoonists and more, by tweeting to us using the hashtag #strippedfilm.
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Thank you to all who entered to win an archive-quality print of the first Peanuts strip!
We have randomly selected TWO winners!
Congratulations to Dorcas Birthistle and William Taylor! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by 4/7/14 or your prize will be forfeited.
**Update: We’ve extended this giveaway until Mon., March 31 at 10 a.m. CT and will select TWO winners!
We often hear from our GoComics readers that Peanuts holds a special place in their hearts. After all, who doesn’t love Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang?
Did you know that we offer archive-quality framed or unframed prints of hundreds of GoComics features, including Peanuts? Perfect for a birthday present, graduation gift or a special treat to yourself, you can find all of the details here.
We’re giving one lucky fan TWO LUCKY FANS the opportunity to win an archive-quality print of the first Peanuts comic strip!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and include your FIRST and LAST name. Limit one entry per person. This contest will end on Wed., March 26 at 8 a.m. CT Mon., March 31 at 10 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide.
Humor is rooted in truth, and truth, as I understand it, is rooted in fact. So when I tell you, "Hey, look at this video full of amazing facts about comic strips," I hope you don't knock a bunch of pictures off the wall behind your chair as you're blown backwards by the sheer force of hilarity.
It's a spiffy li'l rundown of all sorts of miscellany, though we've covered some of it before. The internet's not so bad, after all.
Hold onto your butts:
My job is tricky to explain in casual conversation. When asked, I usually say something along the lines of, "I work with comics," before muttering something witty about Marmaduke. There's more to my job, of course, but I've learned that illuminating my role in bringing a puzzle-hungry nation their daily Sudoku infusion is a conversational dead-end with anyone whom I'd like to continue speaking.
My hilarious quips about Marmaduke do double duty to disarm the listener with my insight and to vaguely establish that I don't mean comic books, I mean syndicated strips. I take a silly amount of pride in my association with them. More often than not, this is met with, "Comics? Cool, I love ______!!" (fill in Calvin and Hobbes, Pooch Cafe, The Far Side, Dilbert, Frazz, etc), which is always nice to hear, though the only credit I can take for a given strip's success is not betraying the trust instilled in me by adding mustaches to all the characters as a funny prank. But peoples' word choice is always the same: "love" instead of "like," even if they're not still active readers. The effort that goes into getting a strip in front of an audience is an exercise in passion, which is a gritty sort of love-- for the fun of drawing, the precision of language, the grind of working out all the myriad details along the way so that someone in a kitchen somewhere can chuckle softly to himself before moving on with his day. Obviously, silly characters doing funny things is going to be inherently appealing, but there's more to them that makes them stick firmly and fondly in the mind of readers.
Ponderously articulated or not, something about the medium connects with lots of people on a really deep level, and the feeling stays put, resistant to eroding over the years into one of those youthful pastimes that, in hindsight, goes from character-defining to a deeply regrettable stage in learning how to have good taste. Maybe it's because there's no risk in enjoying a given comic, no cultural cache to be gained by affiliating oneself with, say, F Minus instead of Betty. They're all great if you're a fan. Comics are around for you to enjoy, and require as much or as little attention as you care to give them. Take a break for as long as you want-- they'll still be there for you whenever you return, and they'll still be great.
Seeing as it's Valentine's Day, and I clearly spend a lot of much time thinking about how people relate to comics, I thought it might be worth exploring the way the comics relate to each other. Sound like a stretch? Wait until you see the nonsense I have planned for St. Patrick's Day.
Manifestation: The most conventional type of relationship on our spectrum, but only because most people didn't realize how broad the boundaries of love could be until the advent of the Color Internet opened our eyes to the elasticity of amour. Deep into their marriage, with no kids in the house to distract them, Jimmy Johnson's Arlo & Janis have built a lasting love on a foundation of attraction, respect, and mutual bemusement with those dang smartphones.
Notable for: The gentle, profound sense of purpose that comes with finding someone with whom to share your life; spooning.
Preferable to: Escaping through the bayou handcuffed to a fellow member of your chain-gang, blood feuds and foreign game shows where you have to sing karaoke while being lowered into a vat of frogs and snakes.
Manifestation: Unshakable, innate and as evolutionarily beneficial to our species' continued propagation as thumbs, tool use and the absence of velociraptors. In Robb Armstrong's Jump Start, that broad, unconditional bond stretches across generations, social strata and the vicissitudes of occasions where use of the word "vicissitudes" is appropriate. Also, one of the grade school-aged kids is a doctor, somehow!
Notable for: A sense of belonging, security and comfort; people who will store all your old action figures when you move into your own place.
Preferable to: Being a wooden boy brought to life by a fairy; Dickensian orphanhood.
Boy & Dog:
Manifestation: In Red & Rover by Brian Basset, Red (boy) and Rover (dog) spend all day playing, cuddling, and nurturing each other through a big, soft world that seems to exist on the dateline between a post-WWII midwestern idyll and our modern world. The simplicity of a place where all the toy shops sell model planes and the televisions are gigantic and sit on the floor allow Red and Rover to constantly share the same purity of excited affection usually only witnessed briefly in your dog's frenzy when you first get home from work.
Notable for: Being so good and cute, oh yes it is, oh yeah, such a good strip, such a good-- you wanna go outside, strip? C'mon, comic strip, let's go to the park! [pat pat pat]
Preferable to: Boy and Cat. There'd be no strip if Rover was a cat, unless every plot revolved around Red walking around the house calling for Rover to come out, while Rover hunched under a bed, listlessly cleaning himself and occasionally yawning.
Boy & Squid:
Manifestation: In Mark Tatulli's Lio --whose tone is sort of like The Wonder Years mixed with the episode of The Twilight Zone where the telekinetic kid keeps sending people to a cornfield with his mind-- there is occasionally a giant squid. I'm not sure if the squid has much of a backstory, but he seems to hold Lio in whatever the squid equivalent of "buddy" is. They have adventures that span a spirited mix of science, spite, shenanigans and sweetness, and the squid is gentle enough with Lio not to squish him when they hug. Yet.
Notable for: The fact that there's a giant squid just hanging around in the yard, and no one raises a stink. We've come a long way, America.
Preferable to: Squid and Boy. In most instances, a squid would find it pretty tricky to even get a kid's attention, since it would have to swim dangerously close to shore to be visible from land. Even then, it would have to gauge its timing perfectly to ensure that anyone was present when it appeared, that the shore-based prospective friend wasn't a predator, would be intuitive enough to understand the squid's appeals for companionship, and had an apparatus on hand to keep the squid's skin supple in the open air. Assuming the squid could find friendship before the seagulls spotted him, he would have to be emotionally prepared to never again return to the ocean, since there's a lot more potential for excitement in the variety of environments offered on land. Expecting the human to prefer seeking adventure while the two of them paddled around on the ocean's surface would put a lot of strain on the relationship, and the only excitement they'd be likely to find would be sunburns and jellyfish. Plus, the mindset of ocean life is a lot more old-fashioned than we forward-thinking mammals, and they would likely shun the both of them by retreating scornfully into coral. So sad.
Boy & Stuffed Tiger:
Manifestation: There is no artistic medium more suited to depicting the daily exploits of a child's imagination than comics, and no example of comics as an art form than Calvin and Hobbes-- but you know that already. Calvin's a kid, Hobbes is his stuffed buddy, and you should probably stop reading this right now and go read today's strip, instead. Hobbes is a great listener, coconspirator and foil, but he's also a crucial voice of reason to rein in Calvin's rampaging id. It's a bit like Fight Club, except, it's about a kid and a stuffed tiger being wonderful, instead of grown men hitting each other and crying about Ikea. Other than that, it's exactly like Fight Club.
Notable for: Being a perfect object that will stand the test of time, as well as any and all hyperbole I keep shoveling onto it.
Preferable to: I dunno, Life of Pi?
Cat & Lasagna:
Manifestation: Garfield's enlarged heart is limited to tough love for nearly all the players in his life, as exemplified by how often he breaks into his customary half-lidded smirk, which is a pretty efficient way to synthesize the inscrutable smugness through which most real cats relate to the world. Garfield's broad, guileless grins are reserved for those specific things which benefit him directly: Jon or Odie being injured due as a result of his actions or due to his conscious inaction at a crucial moment, napping-related miscellany and food either intended for him or unguarded enough for him to steal. Lasagna's rich, textured layers are the ideal indulgence for his appetites, and as he's pondered whilst gazing longingly into his own reflection 'pon many an emptied plate over the years, a delight with more secrets than he has lives. Which is to say, at least ten, but probably more. Maybe twelve!
Notable for: Personally, I've always derived a great deal of enjoyment imagining the sound of a kitty furtively snacking on a dish of lasagna in an otherwise quiet room. They have such teensy mouths!
Preferable to: Mondays. AM I RIGHT?!
Dog & Bone:
Manifestation: Pretty much any cartoon that has ever featured a dog as a cameo or reoccurring character. Chiefly, Marmaduke, who is never specific about his intent after finding a bone, be it gifted to him or pilfered from a plate, but is very, very serious about obtaining as many bones as he can, as frequently as possible, even if he has to chew through some healthy flesh to get to them.
Notable for: The observation that dogs liking bones is a relatable occurrence from many peoples' experience with real dogs.
Preferable to: Dogs eating steaks all the time. Besides it being unhealthy for the dog in the long-term, they'd probably start acting like they thought they were better than us because of their high-class diet. If we are to retain any semblance of social order in these troubled times, we must restrict dog-steaks to "treat" status. The last group to permit their canines to dictate their own diets were the Romans, and one of the only things that remains of their legacy are totems of Romulus and Remus, which stand as a chilling portrait of beastly subversion of Man's supremacy. If we are to remain on the right side of the leash, we must not waver.
Boy & No One:
Manifestation: The brutal, crushing saga of Charlie Brown's annual Valentine's Day heartbreak at the hollow, laughing mouth of his mailbox. Spending time alone when you're a kid isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it provides a space for introspection and nurturing personal interests, but the isolation forced upon ol' Chuck thanks to the world's utter derision for him can't be healthy. It's a credit to the mastery of the medium exhibited by Charles Schulz that we think of Peanuts as warm and largely innocent-- it certainly can be, but reading year after year of Valentine's Day strips in a single sitting makes it clear that a huge portion of the run was devoted to different ways to humiliate, belittle and reject Charlie Brown. It's stated repeatedly that the reason he never gets Valentines isn't because he forgot to file proper change-of-address forms or Woodstock used them for nesting material, it's because literally no one likes him. To his credit, he takes this in stride and remains steadfast in his hope, but his posture slumps a little more every year when propped up against the mailbox's post. Poor kid. Why won't his parents put down their trumpets and hug him?
Notable for: The fact that this emotional hellscape never, ever relents, except for a few weeks in the 70s where Charlie developed a rash, had to wear a bag over his head, and was mistakenly popular at camp because no one could see his face.
Preferable to: Uh, I guess being uniformly and cruelly ignored is slightly better than the opposite, where you're a household name for starting a plague. It's also better than being chased into a cave by a mob of villagers. At least the neglect is largely benign and consistently frosty enough that it stops being much of a surprise after a few years. If I may say so, I think you're a good man, Charlie Brown.
After a sobering look at my word count, I think we can probably conclude our survey for this year. If anyone needs me, I'll be at my desk, putting makeup on my stuffed Garfield doll so we don't look out of place when we go out for our Valentine's dinner this evening. Please don't judge me.
When you're a kid, snow is a rare, precious resource-- a chance to reshape the world to your will, if only for an afternoon. The scope of potential projects is perfectly kid-sized: limited to basic geometric shapes and defensive functions, you're going to end up with either a ball or a wall, regardless of the outsized ambitions you had while your folks did a spot-check on your winter clothes before turning you loose.
(Clicking on these strips will make them appear larger in a new tab, as if by magic!)
Snow-wise, the smartest kid in the world's efforts are going to look mighty similar to those of the dumbest one's, assuming that the smart kid isn't too stuffy to go outside and do kid things, and the dumb kid isn't so monstrously thick that he just sits there in his own frozen filth, eyes lolling as he brays wordlessly at an unfeeling sky. Y'know what? Rather than distract from my point with further extremes, let me revise my previous statement: smart or dumb, you're going to end up with a fort. Maybe it'll have a ceiling, but that's more a question of the density of the snow than the child.
Snow means a chance to take a scoop of the ground in your hands and make something real enough to be a separate place, just for you and your invited guests. You can make something big and heavy and lasting, relatively. It's hard to remember, especially as adult-sized instances mount, but failure is a pretty regular outcome of most kid-plans. I can remember grand schemes to make all sorts of things, from burglar traps to comic books to movies, and finding as soon as I moved beyond the scribbled imagination phase that, oh, right-- I'm a dumb kid who's so young that I've only recently been allowed to use crayons unsupervised. Not only do I not know how to do most things, I literally can't do them, even with expert instruction. Also, these crayons taste terrible. Maybe the red ones taste better...
But snow? Mastery comes instantly. The only real hurdle, at least for me, was tracking down a full-sized carrot and negotiating a spare scarf and/ or gloves out of the house after explaining that I needed them so I could leave them outside where they'd be ruined forever. For fun!
The popular depiction of snowmen gave me unrealistic body image expectations for my own creations-- suitable branches were both too high up in trees and technically still living; most of the snow I was able to gather ended up full of stray leaves and acorns that muddied its pristine whiteness, and I couldn't begin to guess where one found lumps of coal. To this day, I'm not sure where I could get my hands on coal. Trains? Probably trains.
Of course, the fun was in the doing, not the did. I've never since found a stillness so pure as that which surrounded me while kneeling my slippery snowpants, tickling a tiny snowball along a listing path, nudging it ever larger as I scooted along behind, merging our separate tracks. The normal sounds of our neighborhood flattened out between the low sky and high snow, making the world feel so much closer and scalable; the sunshine muffled and wide behind a slate of clouds that took away all the shadows and made the day feel like it would never end.
I don't have much to add to these snowman-centric strips from our pals Bill Watterson and Charles Schulz, but after reading the comments to last week's post, I thought it was worth highlighting the acknowledged influence Peanuts had on Calvin & Hobbes' wintry exploits. There are loads more points of inspiration throughout the rest of the strip's run, but if I shared them all right now, it'd be springtime by the time I finished typing. Enjoy.
We’re excited to announce that we have randomly selected a winner!
Congratulations to Jo Hindley-Richardson! Please email us at email@example.com with your shipping information and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by Tues., Jan. 14 or your prize will be forfeited.
Did you know that on Jan. 3, 2000, the very last original Peanuts daily strip was published in newspapers worldwide? Fourteen years later, we still love Charlie Brown and the gang!
To celebrate this timeless comic strip, we’re giving away a Peanuts 2014 mini wall calendar!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post telling us why you love Peanuts and include your FIRST and LAST name. Limit one entry per person. This contest will end on Tues., Jan. 7 at 9 a.m. CT. The winner will be announced that day on this blog. This contest is open to all readers worldwide. Please note: If you have been named the winner of a GoComics giveaway in the past 7 days, you are not eligible to enter this giveaway.
Browse through the entire Peanuts archive here.
If you're looking for an expensive knock-out gift for a cartoonist, I don't see how you could go wrong with the first Fantagraphics volume in its series reprinting all the Peanuts Sundays:
I was struck by how different, and complex, the early Sundays are compared to later work. Lots of detail, and backgrounds, and grownups, and extensive dialogue, and even a two-Sunday series. Check out this 16-panel beaut:
And this action strip:
It's a beautifully made volume. Although I could only find the above two strips in black and white online, everything in the book itself is in rich, vivid color, thus:
I would say that now that Thanksgiving is over, the countdown to Christmas begins, but in reality, I’ve been counting down since Halloween. Judging by the new content popping up on GoComics this month, I know I’m not the only one in the holiday spirit.
The seasonally appropriate Santa vs. Dracula brings in holiday characters such as Mrs. Claus and Jack Frost to the action-packed plotline.
A holiday feature that I’m particularly excited about is our GoComics Holiday eCards. Each eCard illustrates a holiday-themed quote from a GoComics feature, and are perfect for sharing with your friends via social media or email! Whether you identify with Buddy the Elf or Scrooge, these eCards are guaranteed to bring laughs throughout the holiday season.
Add these features to your GoComics homepage to get a daily dose of holiday spirit!
Thank you to all who entered to win a 2014 calendar set! We’ve randomly selected two winners!
Set 1: David Adams
- 2014 “Cartoons from The New Yorker” Weekly Calendar
Set 2: Chi Shannon
- 2014 “Dog Shaming” Wall Calendar
- 2014 Peanuts Weekly Calendar
Congratulations to our winners! If your name is listed above, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address and phone number. Please note: You must contact us by 12/4/13 or your prize will be forfeited.
To browse more 2014 calendars, go here.
There were a lot of write-ups I tried to pair with these, but they all seemed superfluous, as the following strips pretty much tell you everything you need to know. Granted, the only possible reaction anyone could have to these would be a few hard blinks as the word "Why?" struggles free of one's throat, but I have no answers to give you, and Mr. Schulz is unavailable for comment, as his days are now spent "up there," jammin' with Jimi.
(In an impressive display of my coding prowess, clicking on these strips will make them appear larger in a separate window.)
As I'm unencumbered by any insight whatsoever, please enjoy the following Peanuts strips about the time Charlie Brown got a rash on his head that looked like the stitching on a baseball, then hallucinated that the sun was a baseball, then went to camp wearing a bag on his head to hide the rash. It's as weird or weirder than the week Garfield became all about a giant dog for no reason whatsoever. I like to think about a person who hadn't read the funny pages in a few weeks opening the paper to the final strip in the story arc, and how much it would mess up the rest of his day. Even with a little context, the ending to this saga is as inscrutable as hieroglyphics were before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. Godspeed.
Chilling. It brings to mind something novelist and role model F. Scott Fitzgerald said regarding his time in Hollywood, "Wear a mask long enough, it becomes your face." Not that it's a relevant quote beyond it being about a mask, but it's pretty tricky for me to drop references if I have to ensure they're more than tangentially germane.
"Mr. Sack" is a pretty menacing nom de guerre-- if Charlie Brown hadn't so clearly entered a fugue state at the end of these strips and disconnected completely from reality, he could've harnessed his innate leadership ability and charisma to set up a sort of camp-based Keyser Soze persona.
Hey, also, I just realized that Charlie wearing a cruddy bag on his head at summer camp is eerily similar to the idea behind Jason Vorhees, especially in the first "Friday the 13th" sequel. Jason wasn't as helpful, though.
I think we all remember what happened after these strips, when Peanuts became an odd precursor to DePalma's "Dressed to Kill" and all the Sundays were drawn by Peter Max for a few years. Thankfully, not drawing Sundays freed up Schulz's schedule enough that he took up tennis, and used his enthusiasm to get the strip back on track by 1978. Ever seen a bird play mixed doubles with a dog? It's crazy!
©Peanuts Worldwide, LLC
Treats! Treats for the taking! For those bold or cunning enough to pry them loose from the hands of their bearers, the spoils are endless. There is no sound like that made when rummaging through a full bag of pilfered, miscellaneous candy. It sounds like electric rain.
The pillow sheds its skin like a fluffy, soiled snake, and spins off the balcony and into the night, making no sound as it falls to earth in an Arby's parking lot. The pillowcase is no longer a stage on which dreams play, but a bag into which dreams are deposited. There will be no sleeping tonight. The morning light seems impossible from this vantage, as far away as the rumored estate across town where they hand out King-Size Kit-Kats. Inside my mask, my hot, recycled breath gives my lungs a fullness that feels like courage, and the only sound I can hear is that of my own pounding heart, thrumming the words "free treats" over and over, faster and faster.
Halloween is a miracle. A MIRACLE. However, as it was forged by the hand of man rather than that of the divine, it is technically a conditional miracle: you'll need a costume. If you're anything like me, the idea of spending any amount of money or effort acquiring one of these feels foolish and wasteful, as there's very little utility to a "Sexy Frankenstein" costume for the rest of the year, unless you get invited to a lot of baptisms. So you find yourself pressed against your window, watching the rain deflate your pillow in the yellow light of the parking lot, concluding yet again that your enthusiasm for treats has led you to act in haste. As a possum toddles over to your pillow and begins yanking towards the sewer, you know there's no turning back now, and it's time to turn your attention towards this year's options for a Last-Minute Costume.
Initially, the bed seems like the ripest tree: with the pillow now appropriated as a marsupial's birthing chamber, the sheets could be harvested for ghost-skin, the comforter for, uh, maybe some kind of fat ghost costume? No, no. Think harder! The window for free candy is only open for so long, and it's already sliding closed. If you miss it, you'll need those sheets to make a noose for yourself!
I've managed to survive over 30 Halloweens through a mixture of panic and luck. This year, I decided to figure out my costume early, meaning during the mid-morning of October 31st instead of waiting until 7:30 tonight. As I'd already left my bedroom for the day, I had to scan my current surroundings for ideas. Thankfully, in my line of work, ideas are what keep the lights on (our standard contract with creators allows us to use any and all lightbulbs that appear over their heads in moments of inspiration).
And so, dear reader, here are some options for you to explore to make your own comics-themed Last Minute Costume. Just be sure to brand yourself with a copyright symbol on an area of exposed skin to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. I suggest using a heated, bent coat hanger on the top of whichever hand you don't use to write.
© PAWS, Inc.
Concept: Maybe you've heard of him? He's a fat cat with fattitude and cattitude and a rad badness that makes even Heathcliff swoon. His milkshake brings all the boys to the yard!
What You'll Need: Spray-on tanner, black magic marker, coffee mug and a defined ranking order for days of the week.
How to Assemble: Throw on a white undershirt and light-colored boxers, hop in the shower, slather yourself in the cheapest spray-tanner you can find for maximum orangeness, then add Garfield's signature markings with as permanent a black felt-tip marker as you can acquire legally. If you keep your bathroom door closed, the fumes of the tanner and marker might also lead you to believe you are in fact literally a cat. Bring the mug along for verisimilitude.
Concept: The lighter side of the proletariat.
What You'll Need: Day job, glasses, white short-sleeve button-down shirt, red and black striped tie, oversized black sweatpants and black shoes.
How to Assemble: Put on clothes. Go to work. Search workplace for candy dishes on coworkers' desks, empty into oversized pants (cuffed at bottom with elastic to contain the added weight). Remain droll throughout to minimize suspicion.
© Bill Watterson
Concept: Your favorite comic.
What You'll Need: Bleach, hair gel, red and black striped shirt, khaki board shorts, bengal tiger.
How to Assemble: Bleach and style hair in the classic "forward spiked" style, then dress as usual, careful to let hair dry sufficiently before putting on shirt to keep it safe from accidental bleaching. Once in costume, gently coax bengal tiger out of the back of your car, where you've kept it pinned since smashing through the retaining wall of your local zoo's jungle habitat. If you've tranquilized the tiger prior to transport, you may find him sluggish and difficult to move, in which case you should rebrand your costume to accommodate this "real life Hobbes" aspect, when Hobbes appears as a mere stuffed animal. The tiger will likely come around in a few hours, whereupon you can transition into the "Calvin returning home from school" costume, when Hobbes tackles the crap out of him and begins to violently maul his face and neck (see below).
© Bill Watterson
© Ziggy and Friends, Inc.
Concept: A simple, gentle strip about a man without pants.
What You'll Need: Solid-colored T-shirt, jar of bees, disposable razor.
How to Assemble: After slipping into the T-shirt (the color is up to you, but it should be tailored for modesty, as it will be the only article of clothing you'll wear), shave off all body hair with disposable razor, then violently shake jar of bees for one minute. Unscrew the jar's cap, place nose into jar's opening, then think about delicious candy while the bees do their work on your nose. With any luck, you're not deathly allergic to bee stings, but are just allergic enough for hilarious swelling to ensue!
Concept: A big dog who thinks he's people and the people who somehow accept this with affable resignation rather than mounting fury.
What You'll Need: Sugar cubes, goggles, giant femur bone, red nylon leash, brown spraypaint, quarter horse.
How to Assemble: Go to your barn and fetch your horse. If you do not have a barn, simply unhitch your horse from whichever tree to which you've lashed him for overnight grazing. Feed your horse a handful of sugar cubes to distract him, gently place goggles over his eyes (horse goggles can be found at most gas stations), then thoroughly coat him with brown spraypaint (the preferred shade is Krylon's "Big Huge Dog Brown"). Once completed, remove goggles and replace bridle with red nylon leash, then head out for a great night, leading him along. Carry the giant femur bone because Marmaduke loves bones, and your horse might need some correction if he's spooked by the red packaging of a Fun-Sized Skittles bag.
© Darby Conley
Concept: A dog and a cat do some stuff with this guy they know.
What You'll Need: A dog and a cat, this guy you know, a calendar.
How to Assemble: Group the dog, cat and guy into a room, then wait seven weeks. Your friends with candy from 2011 will cover for you. Once you're well past deadline, do a lap around your block, then return home and wait for next year.
© M Fry & T Lewis
Concept: Woodland creatures crack wise and ponder the big questions in the shadow of suburbia.
What You'll Need: A raccoon, a squirrel, a turtle, a burlap sack, bait, rubber gloves.
How to Assemble: Trick raccoon and squirrel into burlap sack (Important: SEPARATELY) with bait. Pick up turtle by side of highway, greeting him with "Hey, little guy!" because turtles don't mean any harm, and you're glad to see him. Gather animals in apartment, placing raccoon in bathtub, squirrel in kitchen cabinet, and the turtle wherever you wish, as he's not going anywhere. Begin negotiations with raccoon in order to establish trust, and see if he'll lend a hand getting the squirrel to agree to your inter-species pact in exchange for some yummy garbage. Once pact is forged, seal the deal with a handshake, after putting rubber gloves on both yourself and the raccoon to protect each party from germs. Let raccoon have some time alone with the squirrel in the cabinet, establishing beforehand that he'll give the cabinet door two quick knocks when they're ready to come out for trick-or-treating. Go find your turtle buddy, fill him in on what he's missed, then sit and enjoy his company. If everything goes well, the animals will gather candy from your neighbors on their own throughtout the year, even if your neighbors aren't home or lock their doors to keep the animals out!
Note: this process may take some time, so try and capture animals in mid-September.
I hope you've found something appealing among these suggestions, or if not, some inspiration. If you've found neither, we've nothing left to say to one another. See you out there, everyone! Boo!