Charlie Brown may be down on his luck often but every once in a while, a great opportunity comes his way. The recent joint venture with Boom! Studios, we're seeing new Peanuts story approved by the Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. The latest adventure for Charlie Brown and the gang involves a trip to Tokyo.
PEANUTS: IT'S TOKYO CHARLIE BROWN is now on sale now. Charlie Brown and his Little League team is chosen to represent the United States in an international baseball game in Tokyo. The story is written and penciled by Vicki Scott with inks by Paige Braddock. We took this time to ask the two of them about this book.
Comic Vine: How did the story come about?
Paige Braddock: Our agent in Japan informed us that there was a comic publisher in Japan that wanted to do Manga style stories with the Peanuts characters. That didn’t really work for us, due to our editorial guidelines, but the idea kept germinating until Vicki came up with this idea to have the Peanuts characters travel to Japan. This seemed like a way to meet the needs of this publisher and also it fit within our editorial framework.
CV: Were there any restrictions on what could or could not be included in the story?
Vicki Scott: Hmmm.. Well, it was a big restriction in my mind to NOT invent any new characters, either adults or kids for this project. I think it was also very important to keep out any pop culture references or modern technologies. I didn’t want this project to alter any part of the world Mr Schulz has built, so that means the kids don’t use cell phones to take photos of each other. There is a precedent of the Peanuts gang traveling in the strip and certainly in the animated specials, so travel seemed okay. We were careful to keep all the locales in Japan very traditional and iconic.
CV: I believe both of you are involved with the Charles M Schulz Creative Associates. Is there any specific stories or directions requested or is it up to you two, writers and Boom! Studios?
VS: Yes, Paige and I both work for Charles M Schulz Creative Associates. Paige is my boss and I’m a staff illustrator here. For the graphic novels, we keep the writing duties here in house. However, the ongoing series of comics requires a ton of stories every month. Since the comics are a treasury style, each issue has several features, including 2 – 4 complete short stories. The stories come from a creative pool here at CA as well as a couple of free lancers that Boom has rounded up. And one upcoming story came from our assistant operations manager’s 10-year-old daughter!
PB: We have very interactive story meetings with a team of people from the studio, including Lex Fajardo, who’s managing this project, and Justin Thompson, one of the other artists that works at the studio. We scrutinize both story and art, using the catalog of original comics by Schulz as our Bible.
CV: Are there plans to make this into an animated special?
VS: There are no plans to bring this to the screen.
CV: Aside from the monthly series, will there be more of these feature length stories?
PB: The plan is to do one original graphic novel per year.
VS: I hear they are going to camp next!
CV: Is it easy or difficult to do a story with a clear definitive look? Does it make it easier because you know what the characters should look like in different situations or harder because you can't use your own style?
VS: If I drew these characters in my own style or wrote them using my own slang and attitudes, I wouldn’t be drawing Peanuts anymore. See, I’m such a fan of Mr Schulz’ work that for me to draw them any other way would either mean that my ego had run rampant and for some unfathomable reason I started to believe I could improve on his work – or that I had simply given up trying to draw the characters “right”... So everyday I happily try to emulate the beautiful little drawings that Mr Schulz drew,and I try to write the characters with their own voices and sincerity. I enjoy playing with these kids everyday so much that it’s worth every ounce of effort to keep them looking and sounding like themselves!
CV: Charlie Brown and the gang have been to a few different countries now. Any thoughts on taking him further around the world to other places?
VS: I’ll have to look at my passport and see if there are any gaps that I would like to fill next... Just kidding!
PB: I don’t think, from a quantum physics perspective, that I’m qualified to answer this question :-)
VS: I had to google what theat question meant... One is red and the other blue, it’s like comparing apples to oranges, right?
IT'S TOKYO CHARLIE BROWN is on sale now from Boom! Studios.