For over 50 years, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their merry band of Peanuts characters entertained millions of children and taught them certain essential facts about growing up that no adult ever would. Later this year, all Peanuts strips published between 1 January, 1999 and 13 February, 2000 will be published as part of 25th and final part of an anthology that together covers every strip ever written by Charles M Schulz.
And the anthology will have a very special foreword, one written by the most powerful man in the world. US President Barack Obama will be taking time out from his (presumably) busy schedule to pen a few lines about the iconic script. Seattle-based publisher Fantagraphics Books told the New York Times that they approached Obama fully prepared for a rejection.
“Obama was inevitably at the top of the list. Let’s just reach for the stars. All he can do is say no,” said Gary Groth, the president and co-founder of Fantagraphics Books, which has been publishing The Complete Peanuts since 2004. “It was a great day when we got the word that he agreed do it.”
“Like millions of Americans, I grew up with Peanuts. But I never outgrew it. For decades, Peanuts was our own daily security blanket. That’s what makes Peanuts an American treasure,” Obama wrote in the foreword, calling the anthology “groundbreaking”. “In his final strip, Charles Schulz wondered how he could ever forget the Peanuts gang. Thanks to this groundbreaking series of books… the rest of us never will,” he concluded.
Obama joins a diverse set of foreword writers, ranging from author Jonathan Franzen to Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Schulz’s long-time friend, tennis player Billy Jean King. The 25th anthology will be out in May this year, and The Guardian has reported that a 26th volume featuring Schulz’s non-strip related Peanuts art, with an afterword from his widow, Jean Schulz, will be published in October.