Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Great Works of Lynda Barry

It's always amazing to think that at one time Matt Groening and Lynda Barry could meet as equals. Just two people with massive talent and stories to tell that would go way beyond funny. Each totally dug the other's crazy comics and frequently told the world so.

Groening's "Hell" comics have, of course, been overshadowed by his great gift to the world: "The Simpsons." But the "Hell" comics are still kung-fu and they're still out there and if you haven't read them what are you waiting for?

Meanwhile, Lynda Barry has just kept on keeping on.*

If you see one of her comics in an independent newspaper or pick up a book, like "The Greatest of Marlys," you might find them intimidating -- even labor intensive -- to read. Sometimes the inky, hand-written words threaten to push the pictures right our of the panel.

Also, you might notice that there are a lot of girls in the strip and think it's a chick-lit comic strip. No, dude, Marlys is universal. Plus her brother Freddie is in the strip too and he's awesome. (You can get his book if you want to make sure there's enough guy-ness.)

I can hardly begin to describe them. And why should I? Go read some and find out for yourself. It may take you a few strips to begin to grok the situation, the language, the subtle bits and the hints of the larger, sometimes darker world that's just beyond Barry's four panels...

*Actually, Lynda Barry is going to have a movie. Perhaps not as omnipresent as The Simpsons movie, but we do know that it will be Cruddy.

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