Good Grief! New Peanuts cartoons online

Warner Bros. today introduced a new series of “motion comics” based on Charles Schulz’s immortal Peanuts comic strip. The cartoons, 20 in all, are based on actual Schulz storylines from 1964. They are available to download on iTunes. Warner is allowing you to download a free cartoon with an Election Day theme for a limited time.

Looking at the sample episode, it actually exceeded my expectations. It’s longer than I expected- the two parts combined (which together make a single storyline) run seven minutes in length, which is about the length of a normal TV cartoon or an old theatrical short. The animation is done in Flash by a studio in Vancouver, and it isn’t as fully-done as the animation done by Bill Melendez Productions (which in itself wasn’t that fully-animated to begin with), but it’s passable and looks like Schulz’s art. The strips used in this storyline were actually animated before in 1972’s You’re (Not) Elected, Charlie Brown- although even Melendez reused gags and storylines from the strip from time to time in the specials, I don’t know if the fact that some of these storylines were already animated before is a good thing or not. Also, I wish they had used Vince Guaraldi’s music.

Will these little webisodes replace the classic Melendez animation? Of course not. Are they a travesty to the vision of Charles Schulz and the late Bill Melendez? Absolutely not. If anything, it looks like they’re keeping Schulz’s vision alive, and it’s always nice to see new Peanuts animation- even if it’s not being done by Melendez’s studio.