It’s weird when you realize that in its 60 years of publication, having graced newspapers worldwide, having made the leap to both the small and big screen, that Charles Schulz’s beloved strip Peanuts is only now getting the graphic novel treatment thanks to BOOM!’s new all-ages imprint, Kaboom and the recent release of Happiness Is A Warm Blanker, Charlie Brown!. Adapted by Schulz’s son Craig, and Stephan Pastis, the book features art direction by Paige Braddock and Andy Beall, with art by Bob and Vicki Scott. Beall and Braddock were on hand at WonderCon to talk about Happiness and the enduring strength of Peanuts.
Typical of the great Peanuts strips, Happiness is about the anxieties of one of its ageless grade school characters, in this case Linus, whose grandmother is visiting and apparently hates his beloved blue blanket. “But really, it’s about the insecurities that we all have and what it takes to get us through the day,” says Beall. At the same time, Beall thinks the 96-page book is about the things that we love and how they prop us up in their unique ways.
For Paige Braddock, creator of the Jane’s World comic strip, founder of Girl Twirl Comics, and an avowed lifelong Peanuts fan, Happiness represented an opportunity to expose Schulz’s creations to an all-new audience that might not otherwise encounter Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, or Charlie Brown through the ever-dwindling newspaper circulation.
Still, Braddock feels the strip (and the new graphic novel) remain resonant with adults. She notes participating in a panel with Schulz’s widow, Genie, and his son, Craig, where the Mrs. Schulz explained the origins of the original comic strip as a series about children where the children’s conversations and the themes of the individual strips were about adult existential crises. For Braddock, this is the source of the longevity and appeal of Peanuts allowing it to translate across language given its universal (and ageless) appeal.
Personally, I’m bummed that I missed the WonderCon exclusive HC of Happiness, but that’s how it goes.
The regular edition of Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown is on shelves now.
For extended footage with the new Peanuts creative team, be sure to check out MTV Geek’s video page.