On Monday, the fine folk at Peanuts let me grace their campus for a rather incredible visit. Nomi Kane, former Fantagraphics intern, Center for Cartoon Studies' 2011 alum and Donna Almendrala, CCS 2012 alum, were kind enough to show OSU librarian Caitlin McGurk and me around!
The waiting room was chock full of Peanuts paraphenalia including some VERY familiar reprints of Peanuts. One could even call them the COMPLETE PEANUTS.
Vicki works on some of the ad and the pencilling the graphic novel Peanuts produces (Paige Braddock inks). She also could make ANYTHING out of anything — her chair was refurbished with a Japanese Peanuts banner as the cushion fabric — very cool.
Vicki's pencils go off to Paige Braddock (also the cartoonist behind Jane's World) who was busy showing off some of Sparky's old nibs she was using and breaking in a new one. Her office is one of the coolest I've ever seen but you'll just have to visit to see what I mean!
Nomi and Donna both approve merchandise from licensees and of course, kept some cool stuff. Like these motorcycle/scooter helmets. They were so nice you would buy a Vespa to match. (Donna and Caitlin demonstrate the proper way to wear a helmet)
Donna and Nomi at their desks. Donna was adapting a PIZZA and BASEBALL strip (hello, two of my favorite things) that you can read in our upcoming The Complete Peanuts Vol. 21 (1991-1992). There's even MORE baseball in Batter Up, Charlie Brown! the perfect lil' gift for the slugger in your life.
Speaking of baseball! And yes, basically everything was Peanuts-themed SAVE the toilet paper but I have hopes for my next visit:
Some other coworkers worked with specific items like plush dolls and cell phone charms/key fobs:
Apparently, Japanese readers of Peanuts are wild about Olaf, Snoopy's brother 'with more to love.' He was everywhere there, which was pretty cool. (Olaf hangs tough with sister, Belle, and brother, Spike)
We met another working cartoonist at home at Peanuts (along with Paige, Donna and Nomi). Alexis E. Farjado of Kid Beowulf works there and his bookshelf was IMPRESSIVE to me (read: a lot of comics and many Fantagraphics' books). Here he models the Snoopy puppy socks that I obviously stole when his back was turned for one-eyed Wanda back at my office.
In fact, everywhere I went from the 'family office' to the Peanuts and Associates to the museum, had a near full set of The Complete Peanuts and the new Peanuts Every Sunday on the employee's desk. It was like being at home (except I didn't hear any cursing).
Off to the museum next! The quote that burns into your soul the minute you walk in is "A cartoonist is someone who draws the same thing day after day without repeating himself." PERFECT. (yeah, I know it says 'himself' but if you worked as hard as Schulz, you'd probably use your own gender since you're talking about yourself!).
One of the best and permanent objects in the museum was a ceramic tile mural composed of 3,588 ceramic tiles equaling TEN years of daily strips (published between 1956-1988). Designed by Yoshiteru Otani, this was one of the most fun to see from a distance and up close.
In the courtyard, many sculptures wait for visitors and "Under Construction Brown" is a delight. Made by TivoliToo in 2001.
And a lil' something by CHRISTO was hanging out in the permanent collection.
One of the rotating exhibits was about the night sky in Schulz comics and even had an interactive constellation board. The presentation of one of the main walls was both striking and still warm enough to invite kids in.
The other special exhibit was, of course, about heartbreak in Peanuts comics. More on THAT later. A shot of all of us, who have dedicated our lives to comics! Donna, Denis St. John (CCS '08 alum), Nomi and me.
We hit the gift shop by the skating rink and GUESS what was there? A Red Baron flying ace and alllll the Complete Peanuts. I'm very easily pleased.
There was one last special visit and this was behind the scenes in Charles M. Schulz's actual studio (there is a recreation in the museum). His tools were preserved and the symbolic 'next strip' lay on his desk.
A big thank you to Jeannie Schulz for taking the time to jabber on with us, Nomi for arranging/giving the tour and Donna for graciously answering our questions as well. It meant a tremendous amount to me, Caitlin and Denis because we all worked at the Schulz Library at some point during our time at the Center for Cartoons Studies in White River Junction.
Feel inspired? Grab a copy of Peanuts today! Grab a pencil, the nearest ONE, and start drawing.