he's a man, that charlie brown

(The second part of a series on how not to spend Comic-Con week at Comic-Con)

After spending most of the week in San Diego, but only one day at the actual con itself, it was off to the Bay Area for the previously-discussed Miyazaki festivities at Berkeley. But before seeing the director, the previous day was spent making the trip from San Francisco Airport to Santa Rosa to visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

(For the super-nerds: Not only did I want to go to Santa Rosa to see the Schulz Museum, but wanted to drive around town, since it was the setting for my favorite and perhaps the most underrated of all the Hitchcock movies, SHADOW OF A DOUBT.)

It’s fair to say that anyone coming to California for Comic-Con really should make a detour to the Schulz Museum, as it’s one big love affair to Schulz and all the lovable characters (and Lucy) that populate the world of PEANUTS.

Obviously, it goes without saying there is tons of Schulz artwork in and around the museum, from the giant mural in the lobby to comic stripped tiles in the restroom (bathroom reading has never been so appealing).

While I was there in late July, there were two featured exhibits in the museum. The one that was nearing its run featured a number of strips and memorabilia commemorating the 65th anniversary of D-Day. The exhibit had both PEANUTS strips done by Schulz over the years related to the anniversary, as well as personal artifacts from Schulz’s time in the army during World War II.

The other exhibit, which had just opened the day I was at the museum, was the second of three under the heading “The Language of Lines.” This one is called “How Cartoonists Create Characters” and is filled with original art from the Golden Age up until the present. Sure, it was great to see a BARNEY GOOGLE strip from the 1930s or a page of PRINCE VALIANT art, but, given my age, nothing was cooler to see than an original CALVIN AND HOBBES strip.

The neatest thing among the permanent exhibits may be a re-creation of Schulz’s studio, complete with his longtime drawing board. Eagle-eyed visitors will want to be on the lookout for the NHL’s Lester Patrick Award, which Schulz was given in 1981 for his contributions to hockey, as well a Peabody Award, given for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

Any visitor to the museum will also want to venture across the street and have lunch at the Warm Puppy Café, which is part of Snoopy’s Home Ice, the ice rink Schulz had built in 1969 and was opened by a skate by Olympic darling Peggy Fleming.

Although the museum was set up at Comic-Con (you could have easily missed them, like everything else that wasn’t a movie booth), it’s certainly no substitute for a visit to the real thing.

Posted by Mark Coale


  1. The Schulz Museum is amazing. We went earlier this year for the first time, and want to return to see the changed exhibits. I hadn’t realized, before walking through the Schulz and Beethoven exhibit, that all the music shown in the Peanuts strips was actually selected to match the tenor of each strip.

    It is, in a sense, the annotated Charles Schulz, and I could have spent days on it, and plan to go back and do so on a regular basis.

  2. Although I doubt I go to SD next year, I’d go back to the museum during Con Week, since they will have an exhibit (according to their literature) about PEANUTS and Golf.

  3. Willie & Joe are the only non-peanuts characters to appear in Peanuts, in a D-Day strip.

    I keep Snoopy’s tradition alive… I only quaff root beer on soldier holidays, to remember the many cartoonists who served. (which reminds me…when is the Sgt. Rock trade coming out?)

  4. “Shadow of a Doubt” is the most OVERRATED Hitchcock film (and this is coming from someone who thinks that Hitchcock was the greatest artist of the 20th century). It’s regularly cited in almost every text as being the director’s favorite amongst all his films and most critics seem to view this as license to cite it as one of his best as well, and I never understood why. The scene where MacDonald Carey (sp?) reveals his true identity to Theresa Wright during a night on the town was so abrupt and so jarring and so unbelievable in the way that it was done, that it completely takes me out of the film every time I watch it.

    Truly the must underrated Hitchcock film is “The Trouble with Harry.”

  5. I made it to the Schulz museum for the first time in December. It was really an amazing experience. A must for Peanuts fans.

  6. (which reminds me…when is the Sgt. Rock trade coming out?)

    Hmm. . . SGT. ROCK’S COMBAT TALES came out in 2005; DC published two volumes of SGT. ROCK in 2007 and 2008. A HC graphic novel, SGT. ROCK: BETWEEN HELL AND A HARD PLACE, came out in 2003. For descriptions of those items and others, including THE SGT. ROCK ARCHIVES and a SGT. ROCK screenplay, see the WorldCat list of SGT. ROCK publications.


  7. We were grateful that the Schulz Museum included so many of Dark Horse’s “syroco”-style statuettes in the characters show. We loaned them about 25 of them at the curator’s request. It was gratifying to us and also to Yoe! Studio, who did the sculpting, that they were recognized.

  8. Torsten can correct me, but I assumed he meant the new Billy Tucci series.

    Amazon’s date for that book is Dec 1.

  9. I am going for sure to the Schultz Museum next February as a side trip from Wondercon. I LOVe the photo you;ve included here.

    Heidi, did you make it to see Ponyo? I loved it and wished this movie got the kind of attention District 9, GI Joe, and Transformers got. I guess Miyazaki needs to have explosions, threats, and villains in his films for U.S. audiences at large to care.

    Unrelated: The Billy Tucci Sgt. Rock is excellent and VERY deserving of the hardcover treatment!

  10. I adore the Charlez M. Schulz Museum! The last time I was there, it was for the Beethoven and Peanuts special exhibit, and I loved it. The audio tour put together with the curator of the San Jose State University Beethoven Center was informative and elegant in the way it integrated Schroeder’s performances of Beethoven’s music and his observations about Beethoven with scholarly information about Beethoven’s life and music. They had a reproduction of Beethoven’s death mask, actual strands of his hair, and a reproduction forte piano on display — you couldn’t touch the forte piano, but there’s one at the Beethoven Center in San Jose’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Library that I’ve played. (I also learned that I am taller than Beethoven was, which surprised me.) The exhibit really made me feel excited about Beethoven the way Schroeder is.

    I love that they change out the exhibits so different strips and art are always on display. I forget the name of the other special exhibit I saw was — something like “The Language of Comics” — and it was also top-notch. I loved seeing a Pogo original.