Henry Speaks for Himself

John Liney. Fantagraphics, $24.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-160699733-8
Henry is known now, if he is known at all, as a bubble-headed boy who never speaks—in his best-known version, he’s even drawn without a mouth design. The original Henry was created by Carl Anderson; however, the cartoonist who brought Henry through his most popular period in the late 1940s was John Liney, an unsung comics genius. This book collects the best of Liney’s Henry tales from 1946 to 1961. In these comics, the famously silent Henry speaks aloud—raging at his nemeses, pulling tricks, and even rhyming his way through an entire feature. The comics are beautifully reproduced, while still retaining the cheap, disposable feel of a 1950s children’s strip. The stories are well selected, with many highlights—such as one where various characters relate their weird and hilarious dreams, and another selection in which Henry returns to the Stone Age on the eve of a history test and learns more than he ever would have in school. The drawing style is lively and active, with a whole town full of rubbery-looking characters popping up at unexpected moments to contribute to the madcap capers and gags. Mostly this book is a charming and nostalgic adventure, a fond look at a lost cartooning talent. (Mar.) ■
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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