Will This Dark Peanuts Revision Get Published?

Dial P for Peanuts

Source Point Press has announced they will be releasing Dial P for Peanuts, which sounds like a mash-up of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None with the cast of Charles Schulz’s comic strip. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Childhood friends Charles, Lucille, Sally, Patricia, and the rest are brought back together in the most harrowingly way… Ten friends are invited to a mysterious home on the remote Isle of Man by the mysterious Mr. Iman. A closely knit group as children, they drifted apart as the world turned them into jaded, cynical… adults. That jaded adulthood has taken its toll on the group and they have done horrible, terrible things. As they pay the ultimate price, one by one, will there be enough time to call for help? Will they be able to Dial P… for Peanuts?

It’s written by David C. Hayes and Michael Kary and illustrated by Kurt Belcher. It’s far from the first dark take on childhood comic favorites. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips did noir Archie in Criminal: The Last of the Innocent. Spencer and Locke is Calvin & Hobbes as dark cops. Heck, Jason Yungbluth did the post-apocalyptic Weapon Brown almost 20 years ago.

Dial P for Peanuts

The difference here is that this comic is using the Peanuts trademark. Those other works thinly disguised their use of other people’s creations. One wonders if this book will actually appear — perhaps they’re counting on flying under the radar. One of the writers doesn’t seem to realize that he can’t just use something still in active use and protection.

“We all grew up with the ‘Peanuts’ gang, and that’s why this works so well,” says Hayes. “These are iconic characters. But the incessant platitudes of ‘Peanuts’ turned us into … what? It was time to end the toxic friendship. The Peanuts Gang taught us that mediocre was OK, just look at that Christmas Tree. Imagine how that would affect these kids in their adult lives? The gang is us and we are the gang and a darkly comedic tale borrowing from the murderous mind of Agatha Christie gives all Americans a little bit of closure. You blockheads.”

Dial P for Peanuts can be ordered from your local comic shop with Diamond code SEP20 1434. It will be released on November 25, assuming the Schulz estate doesn’t sue to stop it.



4 comments

  • James Schee

    Seems a bit risky. The other books were just sort of nod, nod winks at who these characters were based on. Actually talking about the influence directly, using the characters names, and then the famous shirt. I bet they get a C&D letter…

  • Nat Gertler, Peanuts expert, pointed out that this adapts what was previously a play performed at a college in 2011.

  • Eric Gimlin

    It may make a difference how much Agatha Christie actually makes it into the mix. From everything I’ve seen, mash-ups are a lot more likely to pass the “transformative” test than simply modifying a single source. I’m not 100% sure WHY this is the case, though.

  • An easier argument to make, perhaps, that combining two unrelated things is obviously transformative.

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