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You're Short, Bald, and Ugly, Charlie Brown
January 20, 2011 7:59 AM   Subscribe

"There was a night, maybe sometime around 1993, when I [Joe Matt] was working on an issue of my comic book, Peepshow and I was using some xeroxes of Peanuts strips from the collection, “You Can Do It, Charlie Brown” as blotter-paper. Anyway, there came a moment when I was using white-out and to remove some excess white-out from my brush, I wiped it on the blotter paper beneath my hand. And that’s how I came to idly white-out the words balloons on a few Peanuts strips. Once I saw the balloons whited-out and forgot what they originally said, I began filling them with the first perverted thing my brain thought they might say. It was so much fun and I was so happy with the results that I brought the pages out to show to Seth and Chester [Brown] the next day. Seth was eager to try it and immediately suggested we each go home and produce a set number of pages for a mini comic. Less than a week later, Chester brought out his original take on the concept and put Seth and I to shame."

Download a PDF of "You're Short, Bald, and Ugly, Charlie Brown: A Roasted Peanuts Book" here. More Peanuts-related work by Seth.
posted by Alvy Ampersand (56 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's the most horrible thing I just read over and over again.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:12 AM on January 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good grief!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:13 AM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's right that Billiards totally blows the rest of the comic out of the water. Great post!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:16 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


billiard was odd, but unfunny - the rest of it was crude and very unfunny to anyone whose mental age is more than 9 or 10
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on January 20, 2011


the rest of it was crude and very unfunny to anyone whose mental age is more than 9 or 10

yeah, well, your face
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:19 AM on January 20, 2011 [27 favorites]


This explains a lot better why someone as classy as Seth hangs out with Chester Brown and Joe Matt-- he isn't.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:21 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


i am rubber and you are glue
posted by pyramid termite at 8:24 AM on January 20, 2011


I liked this better when it was The Family Circus and I was still in university and I was high all the time and anyway a lot of the O.G. Peanuts strips are way more depressing and disturbing* than anything these guys could come up with by adding anal sex and incest jokes.

* I say this as a compliment and with love; I have a tattoo of Charlie Brown.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:24 AM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]




the rest of it was crude and very unfunny to anyone whose mental age is more than 9 or 10


Don't you love me, Sweetcheeks?
posted by louche mustachio at 8:24 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


billiard was odd, but unfunny

No accounting for taste I guess. I thought Billiards was brilliant - the funniest thing I've seen in, well, a while
posted by dirtdirt at 8:25 AM on January 20, 2011


I'll admit I have never been a fan of Peanuts. Never, and even more so now that it is a zombie comic. But seriously? Hey-look-I-can-white-out-words-and-make-them-say-naughty-things somehow manages to be both boring and obnoxious at the same time. And I say this as someone who kind of enjoys Garfield minus Garfield, and found The Disneyland Memorial Orgy funny
when I ran across it in a bin full of reduced priced books in northern British Columbia.
posted by edgeways at 8:27 AM on January 20, 2011


Billiards was awesome.
posted by drezdn at 8:28 AM on January 20, 2011


I liked this better when it was The Family Circus and I was still in university and I was high all the time and anyway a lot of the O.G. Peanuts strips are way more depressing and disturbing* than anything these guys could come up with by adding anal sex and incest jokes.

Totally agree, The Card Cheat.

(I still adore the wet-behind-the-ears bong crowd though. Our youngest has yet to finish college!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:36 AM on January 20, 2011


Just came in to say be very careful on this site that you're downloading the .pdf and not whatever the ad with the big CLICK HERE wants you to have.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:46 AM on January 20, 2011


When the terms "Joe Matt" and "white-out" are used together, I can only think of the panel in which he depicts himself ejaculating while laying face-down on a mattress on the floor of his room in a Canadian boarding house.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:50 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What The Card Cheat said. This is pretty much something the usual gang of idiots at MAD Magazine would have done better 40 years ago, isn't it?
posted by blucevalo at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2011


I really liked Billiards. The rest was amusing, but pretty juvenile.
posted by OmieWise at 8:58 AM on January 20, 2011


It made me laugh. Naughty detournements usually do.

"Billiards" is transcendent, though. It's easy enough to take beloved pop culture figures and make them say appalling things, and it'll get me every time because even if it is predictable. "Billiards" pretends as if Peanuts doesn't even exist as such, and treats the drawings as resources assembled to make something else entirely. It's not spinning off Charlie and Linus and Lucy and Schroeder, it's a story about Juan and Carlotta and the surreal descent of their mother into madness. And then, layered on top of that is a not particularly subtle acknowledgement of the characters' gigantic cartoon heads. And then it's dropped into a series of appalling poop and sex gags leveraging what we already know about and expect from the Peanuts gang, so the stage has been set for "Billiards" to turn nasty at any moment if the artist wants to, making it impossible to guess what's going to happen. Chester Brown is a genius.
posted by ardgedee at 9:07 AM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The problem with making a dark and disturbing version of Alice in Wonderland Peanuts is that it's pretty dark and disturbing to begin with, which gives it little training wheels that help cultural firebrands ride it into geniusdom once every eighteen months or so. Masterminding a trippy reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll Charles Shultz is like making a version of Crazy Traxi, only crazy!
posted by straight at 9:21 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


the rest of it was crude and very unfunny to anyone whose mental age is more than 9 or 10

This explains a lot better why someone as classy as Seth hangs out with Chester Brown and Joe Matt-- he isn't.


There's a long, sophisticated argument to be made about the nature of humour and its relationship to transgression that could make a clean link between the crudest scatological stuff and the most powerful social and political satire, with data points ranging from Swift and Twain through Pogo and The Three Stooges to The Aristocrats and The Simpsons. It could even note along the way that one of "unclassy" Chester Brown's best known works is a brilliant biography in graphic novel form) of 19th century Canadian Metis leader Louis Riel.

But you know what? The point's made pretty succinctly by a simple phrase: Charlie Brown's cock. You either see the latent potential for yuks in that or you don't, I guess. But if you don't, don't pretend it makes you smarter - I'm reasonably sure there's not a professional funny person of any level of talent or sophistication worth paying attention to who doesn't wallow in the muck and shit with his or her genitalia hanging out from time to time.

These guys were trying to crack each other up, not write a collaborative sequel to Maus. Pointing out that it's juvenile is pretty much the definition of pedantic, which in my book is nearly a synonym for humourless.
posted by gompa at 9:30 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blocking out original text and replacing them with other text was fun when I was in the 5th grade. Not so much now.
posted by stonedcoldsober at 9:40 AM on January 20, 2011


I thought Billiards was going to be about a very different act involving a pool cue to begin with.

The point's made pretty succinctly by a simple phrase: Charlie Brown's cock. You either see the latent potential for yuks in that or you don't

Maybe someone tried to touch his Linus and then his Charlie Browns.
posted by mippy at 9:41 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was even worse than I expected.
posted by Theta States at 9:46 AM on January 20, 2011


But if you don't, don't pretend it makes you smarter - I'm reasonably sure there's not a professional funny person of any level of talent or sophistication worth paying attention to who doesn't wallow in the muck and shit with his or her genitalia hanging out from time to time.

I wasn't attempting to position myself as smarter, and I didn't mean any moral or value judgement in my use of the term 'classy'-- I've just always found it curious that Seth, who treats in nostalgia and romanticizing past eras where men always wore suits and hats and stuff, is best buddies with Chester Brown and Joe Matt, whose work that I can name off the top of my head includes The Playboy and Spent (respectively). And now I no longer wonder, because Seth's presentation of himself is, of course, only part of the story, and he has a similar sense of humor to his friends, which is fine and makes sense, but I was previously unaware of it.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, relatedly: Seth's cover design process.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:54 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You're Short, Bald and Ugly" was actually the working title of "tiger mom" Amy Chua's book.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:06 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think that, with a few exceptions, it's just not that clever. Billiards is brilliant and some of the comics actually make a strong effort to make the text riff off of the character's actions or positions, but the rest of it doesn't seem to move beyond treating "fuck" and "penis" as comedy pixie-dust.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:27 AM on January 20, 2011


I love Joe Matt (haven't read much by Seth and Chester). This made me smile and I found it amusing, but I can see the problem with reading this in this day and age. It's like trying to watch old SNL skits - funny, but not as funny as they were at first. Either the audience has grown older or the brand of humour is everywhere and it becomes less funny or at least less special.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:41 AM on January 20, 2011


Pointing out that it's juvenile is pretty much the definition of pedantic, which in my book is nearly a synonym for humourless.

pedantic The word you're looking for is pretentious.
posted by girih knot at 11:03 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I meant pedantic - marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning, especially its trivial aspects. That these cartoons are juvenile is so obvious it's all but stated in the bluntness of the title. To note such an obvious characteristic serves only to assert a sort of intellectual superiority over it, to display one's ability to identify brazenly scatological humour as such, so it is thus pedantic (though maybe not as pedantic as this comment is in danger of becoming).
posted by gompa at 11:19 AM on January 20, 2011


But if you don't, don't pretend it makes you smarter

i don't pretend it makes me smarter - i pretend it makes beavis and butthead smarter - or at least funnier
posted by pyramid termite at 11:20 AM on January 20, 2011


Just for completion:

pretentious

adj. Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.
posted by joecacti at 11:21 AM on January 20, 2011


I was just being pedantic about the definition of pedantic as a joke, but I really don't see how calling these comics juvenile is pedantic at all. I think it's a pretty valid criticism even if the point of the comics IS to be juvenile. I can respect that people might find Peanuts characters making jokes about butt-sex funny, but it's also pretty cringe-worthy.

When someone chooses to expose work like this to the world, even if it's just a small print run of a mini-comic, they're not exempt from being called juvenile just because they were trying to crack their friends up.
posted by girih knot at 11:41 AM on January 20, 2011


Billiards is really interesting. The other strips would have been a lot funnier back when that kind of humor wasn't like half of the internet.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:55 AM on January 20, 2011


this fails to reach me. i don't know why, since i like beavis and butt-head and jerkcity and s. clay wilson and sections of 4chan, but this fails to reach me. even 'billiards'.
posted by beefetish at 12:04 PM on January 20, 2011


I'm glad I'm still a mental midget.
posted by maxwelton at 12:11 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The word you're looking for is pretentious.

No, I meant pedantic

(I read it as dry humour about being pedantic, Gompa, but either way I LOLed)
posted by Hoopo at 12:48 PM on January 20, 2011


I laughed.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on January 20, 2011


Thanks, this is just what I needed.

(I'm glad we don't go by upvotes or downvotes in Metafilter...usually if the Mefi crowd hates it, it means I'll probably get a good laugh...)
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2011


I was unamused by throwing the word "faggot" around. Would it have been just as funny if Linus had called Franklin a "nigger"? (The answer is yes, it would have been just as funny, ie not funny at all.)
posted by rikschell at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somebody please link to "Peanuts, by Charles Bukowski" so I don't have to.

Thanks.
posted by notyou at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2011


No, I meant pedantic

Whoosh.

Charlie Brown Easter Nigga

Suck My Big Black Ass Charlie Brown

NSFW. Racist. Sexist. Mysoginist. Indecent. No, seriously.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:45 PM on January 20, 2011


"I was unamused by throwing the word "faggot" around. Would it have been just as funny if Linus had called Franklin a "nigger"? (The answer is yes, it would have been just as funny, ie not funny at all.)"

Well, no.

Franklin's not a main character, Franklin's obviously black (no subversion), race doesn't imply relationships, "nigger" still is more loaded than "faggot" (especially when this was written). There's not going to be any wondering if Franklin is really black, there's not going to be any angst (and since Peanuts is about pure distilled childhood angst, it fits) on Charlie Brown's behalf, it'd be out of character for Lucy in a way that tormenting Charlie isn't…

So, while I understand that it's offensive, but since the sine qua non of scatological comics parody is that they're offensive, you getting all offended doesn't actually mean very much aside from the possible lesson that you're easily offended by things that are meant to be offensive, and that you don't really get the humor.
posted by klangklangston at 2:57 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've just always found it curious that Seth, who treats in nostalgia and romanticizing past eras where men always wore suits and hats and stuff, is best buddies with Chester Brown and Joe Matt, whose work that I can name off the top of my head includes The Playboy and Spent (respectively).

Well, it's just like any other random grouping of celebrities that are apparently big pals in real life. "You mean, X hangs out with Y? X is a vastly underappreciated chronicler of the anomie of the early twenty-first century whose work exhibits nigh-infinite layers of subtlety and meaning, and Y is a crass lowest-common-denominator hack who traffics in fart jokes--WTF?" Strange bedfellows and so on.

In their case, I think that Seth, Brown and Matt all lived in Toronto at the same time, and were all interested in autobiographical comics, although not at exactly the same time; Seth and Matt also shared an interest in collecting comics and toys and such. (Matt isn't known particularly for being a big nostalgia buff, but his collection of early Gasoline Alley strips made up a major part of a recent published collection of same.) Matt has even depicted some of their get-togethers in which he shows an exquisite awareness of how he can drive them nuts. I'd be surprised if they still hung out together, given that Seth has been pretty successful (at least with his design work on the Peanuts reprints and other things) and Matt and Brown have gone in, ah, different directions (Matt hasn't published anything since 2007; Brown's next book will be about his experiences as a john), but who knows.

As far as this little thing goes... well, it's not really that big of a deal. I've seen better, funnier remixes of comics and cartoons (MeFi's own mightygodking has done some brilliant stuff, particularly with some shitty Marvel comics of relatively recent vintage), but it's just a quickie minicomic that they did for shits and giggles; great artists can fart around just like anyone else.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just to be pedantic: the supposed author of this book is Dr. Casey "Sparky" Finnegan. Casey and Finnegan were two of Mister Dressup's puppet companions. Sparky was Schulz' nickname. I hope that makes this funnier for everyone.
posted by CCBC at 3:24 PM on January 20, 2011


Joe Matt has lived in L.A. for the last several years. I hung out with him and some mutual acquaintances one evening some months ago while I was in L.A. last year.

He said he was working on something new, dating from when he moved ('06-sish?) to the present ('10). I don't remember what it was (recent relationships, I think), but he was way less creepy in person than his comics would have you believe.

BTW, the pdf doesn't download correctly for me.
posted by Minus215Cee at 4:29 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Predating this by a few years:

Back in the 70's, I saw a T-shirt for sale in the mall which portrayed Lucy, Violet, and Patty, all pregnant, yelling: "F*ck you Charlie Brown!"
posted by ovvl at 5:56 PM on January 20, 2011


I am going to do the most sanity-preserving, childhood-nostalgia-protecting thing I have ever done for myself and not read this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 PM on January 20, 2011


Empress, I think you're wise

perhaps pedantic, but wise...
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:07 PM on January 20, 2011


For anything else, I may be tempted. But for me, Peanuts is....special.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I miss Leisuretown.
posted by phooky at 9:04 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bumrape Island

obviously NSFW
posted by LiteOpera at 1:10 PM on January 21, 2011


Klang, sure, I understand the point is that I'm supposed to recognize that it's meant to be offensive, but I'm too cool to be offended, so ha ha. But I think trying to wring a laugh out of "the situation" of someone being called a faggot is pretty much just as mean as calling someone a faggot. It's not something that should register as cool anymore (nor should it ever have, but that's another argument).
posted by rikschell at 1:52 PM on January 21, 2011


" But I think trying to wring a laugh out of "the situation" of someone being called a faggot is pretty much just as mean as calling someone a faggot."

Well, you're entitled to your opinion, but I think your opinion is both prudish and wrong. I don't think it's wrong to wring laughs from cruelty, and you're also telling me that I don't have any right to my own experiences here — there are plenty of funny times where I've been called a faggot, even if some of them are pretty bleak.

In commenting, you've gone beyond the defensible position of "I don't like it," to trying to say that no one else should. And that's prudish and wrong.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's necessarily indefensible to claim that no one should like a particular thing. Hate speech, child porn, etc. are indefensible. You are right, this does not rise to that level. But I think defending this crappy Peanuts comic makes it easier for casual homophobia and buttsecks lullz to get a free pass here, and I think that sucks. YMMV.
posted by rikschell at 2:37 PM on January 24, 2011


"Hate speech, child porn, etc. are indefensible."

ACLU disagrees.

This is obviously not one of those cases, attempting to link hate speech and child porn to a joke about buttsex is exactly the hyperbole that shows you to be a bad judge of the aesthetic question of humor here.

And linking to this comment makes it no more likely that there'll be "casual" homophobia here (this was pretty well contextualized, which is the opposite of casual) than linking to the Dire Straits led to.
posted by klangklangston at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2011


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