Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Today’s comic owes a little bit of a debt to the old comic strip, Barnaby, by Crockett Johnson. A common occurrence in that strip was the main character, Barnaby, trying to interrupt Mr. O’Malley, his fairy godfather, by saying “but…” and never getting listened to.

For today’s comic, I needed something to be going on while the Captain was explaining his great plan and this gag seemed to work well, so I kind of recycled it.

Okay, now for a story with some gratuitous name-dropping:

Barnaby was a newspaper strip which ran during the 1940s. I’d never heard of it until the first time I met Art Spiegelman. I’m not sure why the Barnaby strip came up in our conversation, but Art asked me if I’d ever read it and I said no. He started to describe it to me and I thought, well, that sounds all right, but it wasn’t like what he was describing sounded really cool. Then he told me that it was one of Dan Clowes’ favorite comics, and I was like, whoa, I gotta check that comic out. For some reason I wasn’t too impressed when Art told me about it, but once I found out Dan Clowes liked it, I thought it had to be awesome. I’m an idiot, right? The only thing I can think of is that I was really nervous meeting Mr. Spiegelman so I probably wasn’t thinking too clearly.

I’ve since read a lot of Barnaby comics by finding old books on eBay and stuff. It’s an awesome strip. Crockett Johnson is the writer of the Harold and the Purple Crayon books if you remember reading those as a kid. The cool thing is that I’ve heard that Fantagraphics will start publishing a collection of Barnaby books next Spring with an introduction by Dan Clowes, so if you’ve not read the comic before, you’ll have a chance to check it out. It’s one of the best!