And here’s where I find out how many astrologers I have as readers.

§ November 15th, 2010 § Filed under peanuts § 8 Comments

So pal Dorian gave me this book over the weekend:

It’s volume 8 of Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia (1980), covering stars, planets, and plants, too, for some reason. It’s a collection of science facts accompanied by appropriate Peanuts strips and various illustrations with the Peanuts gang doing things of varying scientific value. You can read more about this series at pal Nat’s site in this entry specifically about the set this book is from, and this series, which was the actual source material from which the ‘Cyclopedia series drew.

Nat notes that some of the strips had their dialogue changed to more closely fit the material at hand, though it looks like some of the spot illustrations of the Peanuts gang were either cobbled together from various sources, sometimes over backgrounds obviously done specifically for the book (like a two page spread of various characters standing along a pier stretching out over a polluted lake…it almost looks like the characters were pasted into the image), or maybe even drawn specifically for the books, perhaps by Schulz, or more likely by studio artists. I have no idea, and I hereby invoke the name of pal Nat to shed some light on this if he’d be kind enough to do so, should he happen to drop by the comments.

In this illustration from the book, Linus reveals his secret hippie leanings:

This next image is kind of awesome, not just because of Snoopy tripping shrooms, but because of Woodstock face to face with a terrifying and comparatively photorealistic chipmunk:

Being this was 1980, and woo and magical thinking were running rampant through society (unlike now, where we’re all completely rational and sensible and there isn’t a half-dozen TV shows on the air devoted to people wandering through dark houses and pretending there are ghosts) , a page was included devoted to astrology. This was the amusing illo that ran on that page:

Linus and Sally’s word balloon order is a little wonky, and Charlie Brown’s balloon was cut off in my scan (too close to the spine…it reads “That’s all!? That’s it???”) but it’s a nicely skeptical take on the matter, compared to the actual text piece on the page which describes in a mostly neutral tone what people who follow astrology believe. I say “mostly” because the last line of the piece is

Man, those close-minded scientists, not buying into things that have no scientific basis whatsoever. Isn’t that just like them?

Anyway, it’s a neat and colorful little book, and now I kinda want to track down the rest of the volumes on the eBay. …Great, something else to collect! According to the back of the book, one of the other volumes is entitled “The Body,” and I’m picturing it as being page after page of images like this (except, of course, for Frieda’s cat, who, by all appearances, has no bones).

8 Responses to “And here’s where I find out how many astrologers I have as readers.”

  • Erik says:

    I HAD THESE!!! These are the books that started me on the path to comics addiction. I hadn’t thought about these in years!

  • Thwacko says:

    I had a couple in that series, too. Makes me nostalgic thinking about how my mom used to read them to me.

  • CW says:

    Snoopy does ‘shrooms? I’m quite offended.

  • De says:

    A former boss swore up and down to me that astrology was science. When I asked how one could conduct experiments and obtain repeatable results, she looked at me and screamed, “It’s science!”

  • Masonic Youth says:

    Anybody here peeped Will Eisner’s book on astrology? I found it for $3 at a comics show earlier this year.
    Apparently published in the period after he left PS Magazine but before “Contract with God.” And there’s a list of other publications from that same source, which appears to be Eisner’s NY digs.
    Some of them look pretty weird…

  • Nat Gertler says:

    Oh, I have been summoned, have I?
    This is one of the reasons why I duck the term “expert” when people try to stick it on me; with Peanuts, there is so much to know, and in this case, we’re dealing with part of the vast middle period (after the exit of the studio of folks that Schulz had dragged with him to California) where I can’t tell you who would have done the art rework. It would not have been Sparky himself; while there are a things along the way he did himself, he was primarily focused on the strip, and large tie-in projects like the Cyclopedia would’ve been processed by other hands; in this case, I cannot tell you whether they would’ve been working in the offices of Creative Associates (Schulz’s studio) or merely have had their worked approved by them. But yes, the character figures would’ve been largely cobbled together from Schulz sources, with items added in hands and such.

    One warning I’ll give regarding cobbling together a set: you’ll get almost all of them, and then you’ll realize that it’s easier and cheaper just to buy a complete set, particularly when you’re paying for shipping on the individual volumes. (But I will check my doubles for you and see if I have any spare volumes.)

    Historical note: the book that this material was derived from (Charlie Brown’s Second Super Book of Questions and Answers) was edited by Hedda Nussbaum… who would later become well known for a tragic situation.

  • Mike McGee says:

    Oh, man, don’t follow Nat’s link unless you want to be very, very sad.

  • random surfer says:

    Huh, so horoscopes are 2 cents more than psyciatric help.