Cartoonist Lynda Barry became famous for depicting her troubled Seattle childhood in books like Down The Street, Come Over, Come Over, and The Good Times Are Killing Me, which she turned into a successful stage play. Her charmingly illustrated stories are funny and nostalgic even as they tackle issues like neighborhood racial tensions, or growing up with divorced parents. For her decades-long prolific career, Barry was inducted into the Eisner Hall Of Fame in 2009. She recently received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Cartoonists Society’s annual awards ceremony, presented to her by her old friend, Simpsons creator Matt Groening.
The comics blog Smash Pages notes Barry received another noteworthy recognition that same weekend. She has long been a fan of the longstanding newspaper comic strip Family Circus; as she describes to her students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Tumblr:
I was a kid growing up in a troubled household. We didn’t have books in the house but we did have the daily paper and I remember picking out Family Circus before I could really read.
There was something about the life on the other side of that circle that looked pretty good. For kids like me there was a map and a compass hidden in Family Circus. The parents in that comic strip really loved their children. Their home was stable. It put that image in my head and I kept it.
Barry admits that she burst into tears upon meeting Jeff Keane, Family Circus’ current artist and author, and son of strip creator Bil Keane. Jeff Keane then followed up by inserting Barry into his strip on May 27.
Jeff Keane is reportedly surprised by Barry’s admiration, saying that Family Circus is “not a ‘cool’ comic strip.”
Dearest Jeffy K,
Know this: Love is ALWAYS cool.
Cousin Lynda B.