Monday, May 12, 2008

WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry

The Sunday NY Times had an article on alternative cartoonist Lynda Barry.

Ms. Barry recently gave a class about what she does. Here's a description by the Times' writer Carol Kino:

"On a table behind her she had laid out scores of scribbled 3-by-5 note cards, each of which held a nugget of information that she would relay over the next several hours (like 'Don’t read it over' and 'An image is a pull toy that pulls you'). On the blackboard was a chalk drawing of Marlys, the spunky pigtailed kid protagonist of 'Ernie Pook’s Comeek,' the strip about growing up that made Ms. Barry a star of new-wave comics soon after it began running in alternative weeklies in 1978."

Ms. Barry's new book(full of all new material) WHAT IT IS, describes her process and point of view. PDF preview here.

This is an interesting article because of what it doesn't day: she doesn't stop cartooning when corporate acquisitions of the alt-weeklies in the mid-90s caused her "Ernie Pook's Comeek" to dwindle from 75 papers to only six. She continues to persevere, thirty years later. What it is is persistence!

I have most of her books and I was surprised that most have gone out of print. Here's hoping that, as announced, Drawn & Quarterly will print up all of her work, in sequence, beginning next year.

Ms. Barry's tour schedule includes MoCCA Fest and the San Diego Comicon.


Colin Tedford said...

YES! Lynda Barry is a GENIUS! I have a few of her books and eagerly await the reprints of the rest. The audio interviews linked from are delightful.

Johnny C said...

Not to be a name dropper, but I knew Lynda Barry quite well in the early 90s. She's a wonderfully funny person. I have a wonderful memory of being in New York with her hitting all the piano bars in Greenwich Village in 1991. She was always super nice to me, and in fact got me into Interview Magazine. Long story.

I ran into her a few months ago, she is living in some small Wisconsin town and doing these writing workshops.

Mike Lynch said...

Colin, she really is a unique voice in comics.

Johnny, thanks so much for your comments. What a small world! I hope you blog about you and her and Interview mag and going to those piano bars one day!