Happiness Is… Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz
November 30, 2022
Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz was arguably the most popular and influential cartoonist of the 20th century, and he poured many of his own emotions and experiences into the world of Peanuts over its iconic 50-year run. Now, internationally acclaimed creators Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi pay tribute to the master by telling the story of Schulz’s life in the medium that made him immortal: the comic strip.
Starting with the last days of his monumental career, Funny Things jumps back and forth in time to narrate both Schulz’s artistic achievements and the personal episodes that formed him as an author and human being, ultimately shaping him into the most beloved cartoonist on the planet. From full-color Sundays to black-and-white dailies, every strip provides a laugh as well as a piece of insight into his remarkable life story. Filled with affection, charm, and poignant observation, Funny Things imagines Schulz through the lens of the very world he created, inviting us all to meet the man behind the blanket.
“Charles Schulz stated several times that he never created any art in his lifetime,” says artist and co-writer Luca Debus. “He believed cartoons belonged to the fleeting nature of newspapers and therefore couldn’t stand the test of time. With this book, we want to prove him wrong. By narrating his life, we celebrate his legacy as arguably the most influential cartoonist to ever live and try to understand his complex identity as both the man and the artist behind Peanuts.”
“While Schulz was working on his last strip, looking back on five decades of Peanuts characters and situations, he laughed and said: ‘I really drew some funny things,’” says co-writer Francesco Matteuzzi. “That phrase, Funny Things, stuck with me since I first read it: it’s both accurate and a huge understatement of what he accomplished. So simple, and yet so powerful, just like the strips he left us which we will cherish forever.”
“Readers of Funny Things will delight in spotting the real-life inspirations and references to iconic Peanuts lore, such as Schulz’s love of baseball, classical music, a little red-haired girl, and a sweet black & white dog who might be wiser than any human,” says Top Shelf editor Leigh Walton. “But they’ll also get a profound sense of his religious faith, his understanding of loneliness, his immense ambition, and his rich family life.”
Celebrate Charles M. Schulz’s momentous life from his earliest days as a youth nicknamed “Sparky,” through tragedies of war and personal loss, to his laborious breakthrough into the funny pages, and finally to his indelible legacy as creator of the world’s best-loved comic strip, whose unlikely round-headed hero and beagle best friend have captured hearts and minds across generations.
Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz
By Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi
Published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing
$39.99 US / $53.99 CAN
440-Page Hardcover, 8.25" x 6.5"
On-Sale: August 2023
Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz is available for pre-order everywhere books and comics are sold. For more details and pre-order options, visit Penguin Random House, PRH Comics, or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you.
About the Creators
Luca Debus co-wrote and illustrated Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz. He works in the medium of comic strips for publications both online and on paper, both in Italy and internationally. He has studied the work of Charles M. Schulz for years and written numerous academic papers on the topic.
Francesco Matteuzzi co-wrote Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz. He has written for many publishers including Sergio Bonelli Editore, DeAgostini, Mondadori, and Centauria among others. His works have been published in Italy, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, and the United Kingdom.
About Top Shelf Productions
Top Shelf Productions has published critically acclaimed and popularly beloved graphic novels since 1997. Now an imprint of IDW Publishing, Top Shelf continues to showcase the vanguard of the comics medium, publishing works of literary sophistication, visionary artistry, and personal resonance.
About IDW Publishing
IDW (NYSE AMERICAN: IDW) is a leading media company providing uniquely compelling stories and characters in various genres for global audiences across all entertainment platforms. The award-winning IDW Publishing and IDW Entertainment divisions holistically evaluate and acquire IP for franchise development across comics and graphic novels, television, theatrical, merchandise, and other entertainment platforms, in addition to bringing world-renowned storytelling to life with our creative partners.