The president of the United States will share his love for Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics in the foreword of Fantagraphics’ penultimate volume ofThe Complete Peanuts hardcovers, The New York Times reports.
The 25th book in the series, which has featured Peanuts strips from the comic’s 50-year run, is scheduled for a May release and covers strips from Jan. 1, 1999 to Feb. 13, 2000, when the final strip was published. It was also the day after the series’ iconic creator passed away from colon cancer.
The last year of the comic strip will run in Vol. 25, along with reprints of “Li’l Folks,” Schulz’s weekly comic that ran between 1947 and 1950.
“Like millions of Americans, I grew up with Peanuts. But I never outgrew it,” President Barack Obama writes in several excerpted lines from his foreword to the series final volume. “For decades, Peanuts was our own daily security blanket. That’s what makes Peanuts an American treasure.”
Fantagraphics began publishing The Complete Peanuts hardcovers back in 2004, after a concerted effort by the company’s president and co-founder Gary Groth to get the comic’s creator in on the idea of an official Peanuts collection.
“Previously Peanuts had been collected only in sporadic volumes: thematically or randomly,” Groth told The New York Times.
During an interview between Groth and Schulz for trade magazine The Comics Journal, Groth broached the idea with Schulz, stating, “Maybe someone could publish a uniform series … and maybe that someone could be me.”
After some initial resistance, Schulz finally agreed. Work on the comics collection didn’t begin until several years after the creator’s death, and the writer’s widow Jeannie Schulz is credited for being a major player in cutting through the extensive red tape to get the series on shelves. CNN’s Jake Tapper, who was responsible for writing the foreword for Vol. 22, connected Groth and with The White House, and the rest is history.
“Obama was inevitably at the top of the list,” Groth told The New York Times when explaining why President Obama was chosen as the final voice for the collection’s second to last volume. “It was a great day when we got the word that he agreed to do it.”
Previous foreword writers include Whoopi Goldberg, Patton Oswalt, Alec Baldwin, Garrison Keillor, Jonathan Franzen, Diana Krall, John Waters and Billie Jean King.
In October, Fantagraphics will release the final installment in the hardcover series that will feature Schulz’s stories and drawings that expand beyond readers favorite newspaper strips.