This week I ran into an old friend, Lynda Barry, at least it felt that way, however I’ve never
actually met this woman. For some time in the mid-1980s to early 1990s I knew this writer/illustrator from her comic strip “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” that was published in the back pages of a free local weekly alternative newspaper located in the city where I was living. Barry’s unique sensibility seemed to capture the minds and hearts of my peer group at a time when venturing further and further into adulthood and its responsibilities we found there weren’t many reliable guideposts to lead us. Lynda Barry helped soothe in an odd way somehow our adult laments.
Before this recent encounter with Lynda Barry I had a few years ago worked with children in a library and purchased Ms. Barry’s book “What It Is” with the hope that an interested child would find this book inspiring. The day a boy chose it from among the other art and illustration books in the children’s collection I was secretly happy both for him and its creator.
Now, this week, I saw in the Sunday New York Times Book Review (7/31/2016), filling an entire page, a Lynda Barry comic strip has appeared. “When Heidi Met Carrie: Scenes from the Book I Needed When I was 12” is something you hoped this friend would create (and she has done so without your knowing you need this). It’s good to see you again, Lynda Barry!