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Crockett Johnson, Philip Nel, Ron Howard, Daniel Clowes

Barnaby Volume Five

On sale date: February 11, 2025

The final volume collecting “the last great comic strip,” by the creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon.

The long-lost comic strip masterpiece by legendary children’s book author Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Carrot Seed), is finally collected and designed by graphic novelist and Barnaby superfan Daniel Clowes (Monica).

Volume Five collects the final two-plus years of the strip, including the rarely-if-ever seen conclusion of the strip, as five-year-old Barnaby Baxter says goodbye to his Fairy Godfather, Mr. O’Malley. Unlike most comic strips, Barnaby ended its ten-year run with an emotionally satisfying ending that broke the hearts of fans when first published in newspapers. The magic of Barnaby resides in its canny mix of fantasy and satire, amplified by the understated elegance of Crockett Johnson’s clean, spare art.

Barnaby expanded our sense of what comics can do through its combination of Johnson’s sly wit and O’Malley’s amiable windbaggery, illustrating a child’s feeling of wonder and an adult’s wariness, highly literate jokes and a keen eye for the ridiculous. This volume also features essays by comics historian Susan Kirtley and Johnson biographer Philip Nel, as well as a foreword by filmmaker Ron Howard, whose acting career was launched in 1959 at the age of five, when he was cast as Barnaby in a 1959 adaptation for General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan. The role directly led to his iconic casting as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show (1960) after producer Sheldon Leonard saw his performance. The book includes rarely-seen stills from the 1959 production — which also featured Wizard of Oz alum Bert Lahr as Mr. O’Malley!

Barnaby Volume Five is part of the Barnaby series.


"[Barnaby] radiates human warmth and whimsy . . . [T]he artist's brilliantly written characters . . . 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

"Highly verbal and quietly unexpected, the strip is a clear antecedent of the sort of comic situations experienced by Calvin and Hobbes — and the visuals predict Johnson's own Harold with his purple crayon. Cleverly absurd." — School Library Journal

"Johnson's strict and sharp lines, along with an ever-consistent typeface, give the strip a smooth and accessible appearance, appealing to both kids and adults. This [series] is [a] testament to the weirdness and joy of childhood, and the eternal struggle to be yourself." — Publishers Weekly


Black-and-white with some color
10.9" × 7"