Welcome to CHECK THIS OUT!, a new Rotoscopers series in which I highlight all the neat stuff that’s related to animation, whether it be cool, fascinating, unique, or just plain weird. Beyond simply just finding cool stuff and showing it to you, the series will attempt to showcase the many ways that animation seeps into our mainstream culture and other areas beyond.
Next Tuesday, The Peanuts Movie will finally see a home release on DVD and Blu-ray (following an early release on digital platforms). Now, what I would do is celebrate the upcoming release with an article recommending some Peanuts-related reading and viewing. The only problem there is that I’ve already written that article.
So, instead, we’re going to celebrate by looking at a fantastic line of collectible figures based on the Peanuts franchise, all from Dark Horse Deluxe (a division of Dark Horse Comics).
First, let’s take a look at the first wave of their statuettes. Launched back in 2006, the Classic Peanuts statuettes were exactly as (almost literally) advertised on their fully colored, litho-printed tin boxes. They were created specifically as a throwback to the “syroco” sculptures of that were popular in the 1930s and ’40s. As such, all of them were fully painted and were meticulously designed to resemble their appearances in the comic strip. There were 10 in all, starting with Charlie Brown himself and going on to cover all of the major Peanuts characters (Lucy, Schroeder, Linus, Pig Pen, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, Woodstock, Marcie, and Sally).
If you are hoping to easily buy them from anywhere, don’t get your hopes up. These figures had a limited-edition monthly run (a running theme for DHD’s Peanuts output). So suffice it to say, you’ll be hard pressed to find very many of these figures. Even if you do find them online, be prepared to spend a ton of money for it. For example, Woodstock is on Amazon, but there’s one statue of him in stock and it comes with a price tag of $49.99 ($3.99 for shipping costs). The other statures are also on Amazon, but all of them (save for Lucy) are from other sellers and they are also expensive (also a running theme).
Four years later, Dark Horse Deluxe would revisit the Peanuts franchise in celebration of its 60th anniversary by putting out another limited run of statues. Only this time, these statues were designed and based on the original looks of the characters back when the comic strip debuted in 1950. Like with their previous Syroco-style figures, these statuettes came in their own tin boxes. Each one included a pinback button and a character booklet. There were five of these figures, based on the main cast of characters present when the strip debuted: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder.
Once again, what’s left of this line of figures isn’t exactly in large quantities anywhere on the Internet – nor are they cheap. Charlie Brown, Schroeder, Lucy, and Snoopy are on Amazon, but you have to buy them from other sellers and they fetch for ridiculous prices (Schroeder is the least expensive, at $59.99!).
That’s not the only thing Dark Horse Deluxe did in 2010 to celebrate 60 years of Peanuts. They did something else that I thought was just as cool (or even more so).
On October 6th of 2010, Dark Horse Deluxe released two sets of small vinyl figures that were each made to represent the evolution in the character designs throughout the run of the comic strip. These four-inch figures (Charlie Brown and Snoopy) are sculpted and represented in poses taken from the strips. One figure represents the original appearance of the character when the strip first debuted, while the other figure represents the characters as being closer to how they look now. This was unique for Peanuts merchandising, as few other licensed products were made in the original style.
As there are only two of these figure sets and they were not limited runs, you can find them both on Amazon. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have the deepest of pockets if you want to pay for the ones that they have in stock ($307 for Charlie Brown, $532 for Snoopy). If you want to get them from other sellers the prices are a tiny bit more generous, but still up there ($99 for Charlie Brown, $80 for Snoopy).
After dipping their toes in vinyl figures, Dark Horse Deluxe took a full step into these waters in 2011 by way of using a very iconic Peanuts character. On August 31, the tail end of the Summer season would welcome the release of eight-inch Snoopy vinyl figures.
Once again, these figure released as a limited run. All eight figures represented Snoopy in a more classic look with a modern twist, as each one is flocked in pastels of a contemporary color (Yellow, Violet, Orange, Green, White, Brown, Blue, and Pink).
As with the other figure runs, these were limited so don’t expect to find a voluminous number of them in stock on Amazon or anywhere else. The good news is that most of them aren’t grossly expensive if you’re willing to buy – at least three of them are $27-$29 dollars each. From there, the prices either go way up or way down depending on which seller you buy from.
Now, let’s jump forward to present day for something more current. This month, Dark Horse Deluxe will be revisiting the Peanuts brand with a new line of Snoopy-based vinyl figures.
This lineup in particular is pretty much the same deal as the previous line: all the important features of Snoopy are left in black, while the rest of him is flocked in a certain color to create a modern look. Only this time, the figures are smaller (5 1/2 inches) and they are flocked in more vibrant colors to boot (Aqua, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint, Orchid, Strawberry Ice, and the classic White).
All of these figures are available for pre-order…on Things from Another World (a comic book store and Dark Horse’s sister company). Currently, only the Aqua figure is available on Amazon for pre-order and even then, it doesn’t ship until June 30.
It won’t stop there, however. Starting on June 29, Dark Horse Deluxe will release a series of ‘mystery box’ sets that will contain different assortments of Qee figures (designer toys created by a company in Hong Kong), each featuring a unique design of Snoopy. There are 18 figures in all, each with varying levels of availability.
Right now, a 15-figure counter display case (perfect for comic book stores) is available for pre-order on Things from Another World. I’m pretty sure the individual boxes are not far behind (and I’ll remind you when they do get here).
Well, I could have made this whole article about the wide world of Peanuts merchandise (and someday I might), but I just wanted to showcase a particular company that does Peanuts merchandise a little differently than others and with superb attention to detail and quality. Sure, most of their products are rare, hard to find, and insanely expensive. But if you are that hardcore Peanuts fan who’s not afraid to pay more than the average price for high-end figures, Dark Horse Deluxe is your top dog.
Thank you for reading this edition of Check This Out. If you have suggestions for future articles, put them in the comments below.
What do you think? What is your favorite Peanuts statuette/vinyl figure/designer toy?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes