Official Press Release
Charles M. Schulz is the most famous and most influential
cartoonist ever, and his Peanuts comic strips have been
reprinted in hundreds of books. Yet few people know that
during the late 1950s, during a period of great creativity,
Schulz was also doing another newspaper comics series. “It’s
Only a Game” took a look at people and their pastimes, showing
us how we win, how we lose, and how we play the game. This
long forgotten work is now being put into a book for the very
first time, as About Comics publishes the complete collection
It’s Only a Game.
This treasure trove of lost Schulz material is being dug up at a
time when interest in Schulz is running high. Such projects as
The Complete Peanuts, Li’l Beginnings (reprinting Schulz’s
pre-Peanuts series “Li’l Folks”), and Peanuts: The Art of
Charles M. Schulz are focusing popular and critical attention on
People who know Peanuts know that sports was a favorite topic,
with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the crew regularly involved in
baseball, football, and hockey. “It’s Only a Game” was a
single-panel gag feature that covered all that and more. “Schulz
focused the comics mainly on participation sports and games, so
there are strips about bowling, bridge, and fishing, as well as
the big team sports,” explains Nat Gertler, noted Schulz
bibliographer and publisher of About Comics. “In fact, it’s
rather amazing how broad a range of topics is covered. Over
the course of 255 cartoons the series covers everything from
Monopoly to rodeo.”
Fans are in for an extra treat, because “It’s Only a Game”
features mainly adults. Since “Peanuts”, “Li’l Folks”, and
Schulz’s illustration work focused on kids, this is a rare chance
to see his talents applied to older characters.
Schulz created the series himself and initially did all the work
on it. After the series had run for a while, cartoonist Jim
Sasseville to do the finished artwork based on Schulz’s sketches.
Sasseville provides the book’s commentary, as well as access to
some special materials. “Working with Jim was great,” explains
Gertler. “Not only do we get a lot of insight into how the strip
was put together and what it was like working with Schulz, he
also gave us access to some of Schulz’s roughs for cartoons that
were never used.”
Schulz’s widow Jean expressed her enthusiasm for this project.
“It is wonderful to see the entire run collected and to read
Jim’s reminiscences. Sparky [Charles M. Schulz] spoke highly
of Jim’s drawing ability and in this book I can see what he
meant.” Sasseville is no less effusive about Schulz’s work on
the strip, referring to him as “the best cartoonist ever,” a
view of Schulz that is common in the cartooning world.
Contributing an editorial hand to the book is Derrick Bang,
the editor of Charles M. Schulz: 50 Years of Happiness. Derrick
also provided the acclaimed commentary for Li’l Beginnings.
It’s Only a Game (ISBN 0-9716338-9-4) is a 240 page 5.5″x6.5″
black and white paperback with a color cover. Priced at $14.95,
it will be distributed to the comic book stores (by Diamond
Comics, FM International, and Cold Cut) and to the bookstores
(by Diamond Book Distributors) in November. It can be found on
page 197 of the current Previews catalog.
Found in 1997, About Comics is a small publisher whose select
list of titles are not limited by the usual categorizations
of the comics field. Working with some of the most respected
names in comics, About Comics publishes titles ranging from
traditional superhero material to all-ages humorous graphic
novels to adult-themed prose material aimed at comics fans.
For more information, go to www.AboutComics.com
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