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Barnaby

Barnaby by Crockett Johnson

Before authoring one of the most beloved children’s book series of all time — Harold and the Purple Crayon — cartoonist Crockett Johnson created the comic strip Barnaby for over ten years (1942 to 1952). Its subtle ironies and playful allusions never won a broad following, but the adventures of 5-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his fairy godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley was and is a critical favorite.

Fantagraphics introduces the wonders of Barnaby to a new generation of children and parents alike. Co-edited by Johnson biographer Philip Nel (Dr. Seuss: American Icon) and Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, with art direction by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), this five-volume Barnaby series will collect the entirety of the original newspaper strips from 1942-1952.

Adored by all ages, Barnaby’s deft balance of fantasy, timeless humor and elegant cartooning will delight even the most sophisticated reader, much as it did in its original run, attracting fans as diverse as Dorothy Parker, Charles Schulz, W.C. Fields, Gardner Rea, Milton Caniff, Rockwell Kent and Louis Untermeyer.

"Barnaby’s typeset balloons fuse Crockett Johnson’s precisely composed text and drawings into extensions of each other — Comics as Graphic Design! To replace hand-lettering with Futura, a font that strips away the non-essential to insist on clarity, might seem like an odd choice for a strip that radiates human warmth and whimsy — but it allows the artist’s brilliantly-written characters to keep their feet planted in the all-too-real world of 1940s America while flying off on pink wings into one of the greatest fantasy strips ever made." – Art Spiegelman

“I never thought I’d see this day, but the book you hold is, well... the last great comic strip. Yes, there are dozens of other strips worth rereading, but none are this Great; this is great like Beethoven, or Steinbeck, or Picasso. This is so great it lives in its own timeless bubble of oddness and truth...” – Chris Ware

"I think, and I’m trying to talk calmly, that Barnaby and his friends and oppressors are the most important additions to American arts and letters in Lord knows how many years." – Dorothy Parker

See also:
• Blog posts relating to Barnaby on FLOG! The Fantagraphics Blog