On the site:
R.C. Harvey, who wrote the introduction to the forthcoming Barnaby Vol. 2, looks at all things Barnaby:
Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, like Krazy Kat, appealed to a smaller audience than most comic strips. Comics historian Ron Goulart says it appeared in only 52 newspapers in the U.S. at its height. But the strip’s readers were an appreciative elite. Barnaby hove into public view a scant two years before the demise of the intelligentsia’s first love, Krazy Kat. Beginning April 20, 1942, the strip lasted into the early fifties. It was revived on September 12, 1960 and ran until April 14, 1962, but many of the stories were retooled from the first run of the strip, which ended February 2, 1952. By that time, both Pogo andPeanuts were on the scene.
The brief decade of Barnaby’s first run was brilliant. Among its passionate fans was Dorothy Parker who wrote a mash note about the strip when she reviewed a Holt book of reprints in October 1943: “I think, and I am 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.” She admitted that her review was not a review: it was a valentine, she said.
And Fantagraphics has given us another kind of valentine with the inauguration of its planned complete reprinting of the strip, Barnaby: Volume One, 1942-1943 (320 7×10.5-inch landscape pages, b/w; hardcover, $35) with prefatory essays by Chris Ware and Jeet Heer; Afterword and appendix by Philip Nel, Johnson’s biographer.
This is an excellent idea for, well, anything!
Kate Reynolds on what the Image Humble Bundle might mean for comics.