I thought I’d exhausted my postings on artist Lynda J. Barry, but another subscriber has alerted the Yahoo! discussion group for Lynda to a Thanksgiving Day announcement from her publisher, Drawn And Quarterly of Montreal, that it will publish *ALL* of her comics, starting next fall. Above the publisher’s announcement is the very first comic of Barry’s that I remember reading as a college student, which instantly intrigued me and remains among my all-time favorites. The D&Q announcement is wonderful news for all of us who love Barry’s cartoons.
Today, Barry conducts workshops and has published books such as “Picture This!” aimed at encouraging people to rediscover their creativity and tell their stories through writing and drawing. Harvey Pekar, about whom I posted last week, wrote of his growing fascination with comics and story during the 1960s, after he met comic book artist R. Crumb. In his graphic memoir, “Quitter,” Pekar said he observed that underground comics frequently took the bohemian life style as their subject and started wondering why no one had written about subjects more ambitious than hippies and superheroes. Comics, he wrote, which were simply words and pictures, “were as good an art form as any that existed….Why couldn’t comics be about the lives of working stiffs? We’re as interesting and funny as anyone else.”
Pekar held onto his idea and ultimately made it a reality in his “American Splendor” comic books, which acquired a cult following. By telling his story, Pekar, a career file clerk who had acquired a habit of quitting things in his youth, achieved greatness.