You’re on the iPad, Charlie Brown!

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I write to you from the San Diego, where I’m attending the overwhelming, nutty and ultimately rewarding media mega frenzy known as Comic-Con International. On Saturday night, I’ll be moderating a panel on the future of graphic novels. So far, I’ve mostly been attending panels. And at one of them, on current projects relating to Charles Schulz’s cartooning masterwork Peanuts, I learned about my favorite Comic-Con discovery so far: Peanuts reprints created especially for the iPad and iPhone and available via iVerse’s Peanuts Comics app.

Several generations of us grew up on paperbacks that collected Schulz’s cartooning. The app lets you download and read digital replicas of some of those classic anthologies, such as Let’s Face It, Charlie Brown and Sunday’s Fun Day, Charlie Brown. But the Schulz estate, which has digitized and cataloged all 17,000 daily and Sunday Peanuts strips, is also creating new themed compilations done in a similar style to the old-school books. There’s one that collects strips about Linus and the Great Pumpkin, one that features the gloriously grimy Pig-Pen, one involving Charlie Brown’s unsuccessful attempts at kite-flying, a decade-by-decade series of baseball strips and numerous others.

Most are $1.99 or $2.99, but there are also free samples, including an entire 1959 collection; new collections are available on an ongoing basis. It’s wonderful to revisit strips I haven’t read since I was nine, but never forgot–and to encounter others for the first time.

The app also lets you purchase digital copies of a new series of Peanuts comics done under the supervision of the Schulz estate. They’re clearly done with both love and respect, but I do have a complaint about the issue I bought.

It features a story based on one of my favorite Schulz sequences, a 1968 bit in which Snoopy visited Petaluma, California to participate in a wrist-wrestling competition. Some of the dialogue and gags come directly from the 1968 strips, and some of the art is adapted from specific Schulz drawings. But the comic book credits others for the story and art, and doesn’t mention that they’re remaking a story by Peanuts‘ creator.

Even though Schulz’s name is all over the comic, I think that both clarity and fairness call for specific acknowledgement when a new story is based on an old sequence.

End of gripe. I usually come back from Comic-Con with a suitcase full of old comics. I may do so again this year. But I already know that I’ll be returning with an iPad full of vintage Peanuts.