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Comic Riffs
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Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 11/19/2011

‘RIFFS PICKS OF THE WEEK: From holiday ‘Peanuts’ (new app!) to Sunday’s ‘Simpsons’ (new Gaiman!)

. ("Charlie Brown Christmas" / courtesy of PEANUTS Worldwide)

YOU’RE A GOOD APP, Charlie Brown.

The holiday season heralds the warmest chestnuts of classic animation, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But this year, for the first time, the beloved “Peanuts” special is being delivered digitally as a book app.

As part of the major social-media and digital expansion Peanuts Worldwide announced in August, Snoopy and friends are moving full-speed toward new modes of delivery.

The Peanuts company and Loud Crow Interactive Inc. have just announced a partnership to create “a series of interactive digital book apps” based on the comic’s classic specials. The first offering, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” launched Thursday and was selected “iPad App of the Week.”

. (Charlie Brown Christmas / courtesy of Peanuts Worldwide)
“We're really pleased with how our digital expansion is shaping up,” Jean Schulz, wife of late “Peanuts”creator Charles “Sparky” Schulz, tells Comic Riffs. “The Loud Crow book app really captures the essence of a ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ And it is just a part of the larger digital presence to new generations of audiences who are seeking content on these new channels.

The “Christmas” app features Peter Robbins, the original voice of the animated Charlie Brown.

The debut app “joins Beeline's new [Snoopy] Street Fair game,” Jean Schulz tells us. “And I think the iVerse comic collections are really great as they focus on the comic strip — the heart and soul of Sparky's work.”

For decades, of course, the classic animations were created by Sparky, animator-director Bill Melendez and producer Lee Mendelson.

“Sparky” Schulz died in 2000, a half-century after the strip’s launch by United Media, which shuttered its New York doors in July.

Peanuts Worldwide, however, made a deal with Iconix Brand Group with the goal to grow the comic’s global digital presence.

As Iconix chairman and CEO Neil Cole told Comic Riffs in August: ”We want to keep ‘Peanuts’ accessible to the next generation.”

And in this commercial marketplace, Cole said, “We’ve got to keep moving.”




AFTER I BOUGHT one of her minicomics at Maryland’s Small Press Expo several years back, Lilli Carré soon become of my favorite illustrators. And for this week’s Thanksgiving-ready Food Issue of The New Yorker, Carre rendered not only the cover, but also, she says, more than two-dozen spot illustrations for the interactive iPad edition. Writes Carre on her blog: “Getting to draw a woodchuck, drunk on fermented mulberries for the New Yorker was an all-time illustration career high!”


FOR ALL THAT Neil Gaiman has done for comics, it’s only fitting that the acclaimed rock-star author gets to voice himself Sunday on Fox’s “The Simpsons.” The schedule episode, “The Book Job,” lampoons Stephen Soderbergh’s remake of the “Ocean’s” heist films — as Gaiman and his gang reportedly get ready to pull off a job in the fantasy publishing world.

If only a Dalek, Cthulhu or Lovecraft himself could make a cameo, too.


Neil Gaiman gets “Simpson”-ized this weekend. ("The Simpsons" / FOX TV)



By  |  12:01 AM ET, 11/19/2011

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