“Mr. Media” himself Bob Andelman recently sat down with Schulz and Peanuts author David Michalis for to chat about the new biography:
ANDELMAN: Before we turned on the tape, we were talking, and I was telling you that I had done this biography of Will Eisner, another comics legend. And in doing that, I can still remember sitting at the dinner table with him one night when he started telling me about his children, something that he had never talked about before, and finding out — I don’t want to make this about my book or Eisner — at that moment that a lot of what had happened to him in the last thirty years had to do with the loss of his daughter as a teenager. I knew at that moment that that was going to be the electrifying moment of the book, and what I wondered about, was there a similar kind of an “a-ha” moment in researching Schulz and learning about Schulz, or was it a lot of things?
MICHAELIS: I think it was an accumulation, without question, but I had moment after moment where I was surprised to learn that Schulz was more complicated than I could have guessed and that I really was with everybody else, I expected a very specific kind of person, and my sympathies or my feelings about him grew and I became far more engaged with him as a man, as a person, than I had been before, because I found it fascinating. I found what I was hearing about him fascinating.
The whole theme of love, for instance. He had a very difficult time throughout his life, to hear the story told by those nearest him, to hear himself tell the story. Another great source for me was the interviews he had given to American newspapers over the years. He considered the newspaper his employer. He considered the managing editor of any newspaper who sent him a reporter to do an interview, he considered that person to be part of his job to respond to, so over the years, he made an account of his life. Sometimes it was day by day, week by week, and you could chart some of the changes in his views and his thinking as those went on.
Related: The Fantagraphics Bookstore has a Flickr set up of their new Unseen Peanuts exhibit.