Blabber Blabber Blabber, Everything: Vol. 1

Lynda Barry, Editor
Lynda Barry. Drawn and Quarterly, $24.95 (180p) ISBN 978-1-77046-052-2
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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Barry (What It Is; Picture This) has emerged as a 21st-century creative guru, a teacher with a knack for helping students find their inner spark. But in the late 1970s and ’80s, she was a young cartoonist with a pocketful of underground influences and her own inimitable perspective on the world. In this first volume of an omnibus of her work, Barry introduces the collection of comics strips produced between 1978 and 1981 with drawings copied (her word) from artists like Dr. Seuss and R. Crumb, as well as what she calls the “sweeter line” of late ’70s advertising illustrations. Barry’s distinction between the “bitter” and the “sweet” informs the three strips collected—the scratchy-lined “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” a collection of almost random observations and non sequiturs that sometimes veer into the incomprehensible; the ethereal line of “Two Sisters,” about sweet-faced identical twins with an innocent but slanted view on life; and “Girls and Boys,” with its chaotic panels and geometric figures, which focuses on the intense absurdity of relationships between the sexes. Barry’s touch as a creator is already established even in this early stage, her talent for creating child characters, penchant for encouraging the reader to engage creatively, and touches of surrealism impelling a creative force that cannot be categorized. (Nov.)
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