From The Desk Of Her Space Holiday’s Marc Bianchi: Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts”

This week’s release of Her Space Holiday‘s 10-track, self-titled album marks the end of the one-man musical project that Marc Bianchi started back in 1996. Fittingly, HSH’s final album is also the first on the Austin-based Bianchi’s No More Good Ideas label. While he has some live dates set to support the LP, the genre-defying musician mostly plans for the album to be the closing statement from HSH, who over the past decade and a half has also remixed tracks by the likes of R.E.M., Bright Eyes, Elastica and the Faint. Bianchi can now add MAGNET guest editor to his already-impressive resume, as that’s what he’ll be doing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

Bianchi: Like most people my age, when I was growing up I saw the Peanuts as a cute, somewhat harmless comic strip. They were always there to remind me of the changing seasons. This is something of great value to a resident of the Bay Area, since the leaves stay green all year long. I would watch them skate on a frozen lake around Christmas time. I watched Linus sit in the pumpkin patch every Halloween, and in the summer, the gang would canoe down a wild river as a distant jazz ensemble wailed away. They were a group of fun-loving kids without a care in the world.

But as I started getting a little older, things with the Peanuts began to feel, well, “a little off.” The strips didn’t make me laugh so much anymore. I realized that the great pumpkin was never going to show up no matter how many times Linus went out to that field. Most importantly, I think it was around the time I started liking girls, is when I noticed that Lucy pulling the football out from under Chuck as he went to kick it just wasn’t funny. It felt like the kids I grew up with were trying to prepare me for some very hard truths that lay on the horizon. Sure, there will be good times, love and laughter, but make no bones about it, the price of admission for those rides can be steep. Heartbreak, loss and disappointment loomed around every corner.

Before I moved back to Texas in 2009, I took a day trip by myself to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif. I was most fascinated by the personal items scattered about from Schulz’s life. Get-well cards, letters to friends, small figurines and photos of delicate moments. They even had a full recreation of his office with the actual desk he used while creating years of strips. It gave me a sense of who the man was, which in turn made me see how much he put himself in the characters he drew for most of his life.

A good place to rediscover the Peanuts is through the retrospective that Fantagraphics started releasing in 2004. They are complete and total masterpieces, from the elegant layouts provided by famed comic-book artist Seth to the wonderful guest introductions each volume has, including writings from Jonathan Franzen, Walter Cronkite, John Waters, Billie Jean King and many, many more. If you are ever in a shop that carries these books, I highly suggest thumbing through one of them. Especially the earliest works (1950-1952 or 1953-1954). You are guaranteed to find something that in one panel can tear your heart apart and, in the next, put it back together again.

Video after the jump.

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