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Fantagraphics to publish Daniel Clowes-designed collections of Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby

The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon breaks the welcome news that Barnaby, the classic comic strip by Harold and the Purple Crayon writer/artist Crockett Johnson, will be collected by Fantagraphics beginning in April 2012. Designed by Wilson and Ghost World cartoonist Daniel Clowes, the collections will include the strip’s entire ten-year run from 1942-1952, including the strips created by Jack Morley and Ted Ferro after Johnson assumed a story-consultant role on the comic.

Long beloved by the comics cognoscenti, Barnaby tells the tale of young Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping fairy godfather, Mr. O’Malley. As Spurgeon notes, old collections like the one pictured above have been hard to come by, making the strip one of the last great gets available in this, the Golden Age of Comics Reprints — which Fantagraphics arguably kicked off with its similar, Seth-designed Complete Peanuts collections. Barnaby joins Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat dailies on the list of eagerly awaited archival reprint projects headed our way from the publisher over the next several years. (As an aside, my suspicion is that Johnson’s fine line, the whimsy of the material, the rounded and jolly character designs, and even the typeset lettering will all find a receptive audience in the webcomics age.)

Click here to read Spurgeon’s thorough report on the announcement and the strip itself.



“Cognoscenti?” I remember having a lot of fun with this series when I was a little kid, I think it was in my elementary school library circa 1st and 2nd grade.

Harold and the Purple Crayon was my favorite book as a small child. (It’s still awesome, in fact.)

I’ve never even heard of this. It definitely sounds worth a look. Thanks for posting this!

I grew up with Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley having gotten my first book in 1943. I still find it to be one of the most delightful books for kids in decades.
I am looking for a t-shirt printed with Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley .
Hopefully I am not the only searching for such a shirt.

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