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Interview: Vicki Scott & Paige Braddock on PEANUTS: IT'S TOKYO CHARLIE BROWN

Charlie Brown and the gang are going to Tokyo. Find out how this came about.

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!

CV: Which is bigger, Snoopy's doghouse or the Doctor's TARDIS?

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.

12 Comments
Posted by judasnixon

Good grief.

Posted by ARMIV2

Well, I can definitely say that I never ever saw this coming.

Posted by Decept-O

Leave it to G-Man to sneak in a blasted Dr. Who related question. Really, dude.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

This makes me so happy that I've busted out into Japanese funk...

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

Only Charles Schultz himself should write Peanuts. Not cool.

Posted by G-Man

@Scarlet_Rogue: I have complete respect for Schulz but isn't that like saying only Bill Finger should write Batman? Are you not going to see the next Star Wars movie because it's not written by Lucas? You're not going to see Skyfall since it's not written by Ian Fleming? This is all approved by the Schulz Creative Associates.

Posted by zombietag

@G-Man said:

@Scarlet_Rogue: I have complete respect for Schulz but isn't that like saying only Bill Finger should write Batman? Are you not going to see the next Star Wars movie because it's not written by Lucas? You're not going to see Skyfall since it's not written by Ian Fleming? This is all approved by the Schulz Creative Associates.

this.

Posted by Scarlet_Rogue

The difference being Schultz himself has said in the past he didn't want anyone but him making Peanuts. It's in his Will. That alone is enough for me to not want anyone else to do it. I understand Creative Associates has to keep the brand alive but sometimes you need to let something run its course and end it.

In many ways I feel maybe people shouldn't keep writing Batman, or Spider-Man and yes even Star Wars. Everything is inspired by something, and while creative input on existing properties can help modernize something, why have the times redefine a character created in an age? Why not have an original take on something that can pay respects to its inspirators , and being something that stands on its own as something new? It should stop. There should be an end.

Posted by Journey Into Chaos

um, no comment...

Posted by MysteryMan38

Scarlet, I respect your answer, but the thing is, without new material coming out for these characters, not just Peanuts, but Batman, Spider-Man, everything out there right now, interest would die eventually, and the only people who would ever read or watch cartoons like the Peanuts specials or read comics and comic books anymore, are adults. The children of the future, they would have no deep interest, not the way we do. They'd have no connection to the characters, no reason to want to read and watch and take an interest in any of this. If there should be an end, it would mean an end to everything. Let's look at Batman for example. Should the comic's have finally ended when Jerry Robinson, the last member of the original trio that worked on Batman in the Golden Age died last December? This would mean no more Batman cartoons, no more Batman movies or video games or comic books. The Dark Knight's career would have been done and over with, and we wouldn't even be getting the Joker's return right now. He would have just got his face cut off by the Dollmaker near the end of Detective #1 last year, and that would be the end of it. But with regards to Peanuts, I totally understand where you are coming from. Without Schulz being the creative mind behind it, it's just not the same, it doesn't really stick the way it should. And still, I hope someday, because material like this keeps a generated interest in timeless characters like Charlie Brown and his friends alive, I can sit down with my future five year old (the age when I first saw 'A Charlie Brown Christmas') and pop in a dvd of that timeless Christmas special, and show him or her stuff that mattered to me when I was a kid. And hopefully, at the end, they will want to see more, and read more and know more. So in closing I have this to say, without more new coming, the future will have no interest in the past, and all that is culturally deep and significant like the Peanuts Gang, Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Star Wars etc. would just fad away.

Posted by G-Man

@MysteryMan38: The other thing to add is there is very few comics for kids these days. My daughter can read PEANUTS and love it as much as the old PEAUNTS comics I have. Marvel and DC have very few kids' comics. Boom's KABOOM line is doing a great job. I'm still wondering where all the Disney comics are since Boom lost the license. Those were great comics as well.

Posted by MysteryMan38

G-Man you are absolutely right, I forgot to add that in there. And it's sad but true, comics these days, they aren't really for kids anymore, not like the way they used to be. The sad fact is, nothing is really for kid's anymore. Cartoons, they aren't wholesome, funny fun loving things, they are just mindless and pointless and just plain silly. Gimmie the good old days, with the Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Flintstones and Yogi Bear or Johnny Quest. No wait, strike that, Young Justice is a excellent series. Not throwing that one under the bus.