Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1994) by Brian Walker and Billy DeBeck
This is printed in Kitchen Sink’s normal format for doing comic strip reprints, but it’s apparently published by Comicana and Ohio State University and distributed by Kitchen Sink. But let’s take a look at it anyway.
This is quite unlike most Kitchen Sink strip reprint books. It doesn’t reprint long stretches of strips, but instead gives an overview of DeBeck’s career, mostly.
So we get a whole bunch of early illustrations and stuff.
We do also get some actual strip reprints.
I’d guess about one third of the book is text? It’s a much more “scholarly” book than anything else, but that’s not really surprising — it’s co-published by a university.
My guess is that people that are interested in DeBeck (and Snuffy Smith) will find this book fascinating. I’m not, though, and I didn’t, and I did not finish reading the book.
And I’m not really much of a fan, either, even if there’s some good gags in here.
Even with its all too brief snippets, the
Walker book is a must have for anyone inter-
ested in the foundations of American comics.
Originally meant to be a catalog for a retrospec-
tive exhibition of Barney Google held at Ohio
State University, Walker’s forward explains
the conundrum of trying to squeeze so much
rich material into such a slim volume. He too
admits that morecomplete collections are sorely
needed. Interestingly enough, Walker found
that King Features’ archives of Barney Google
only went back to the late-’30s, and there is a
fascinating detective story explaining where
the source material for the book came from.
While much of the material had to be shot from
actual newspaper pages, there is a good deal Of
original De Beck art floating around, and col-
lectors were glad to provide photocopies. The
lack of actual contemporary written material on
the strip was another challenge Walker faced
with the contributions of a network of collec-
tors and the actual recollections of Fred Lasswell,
De Beck ‘ s former assistant, who has been doing
the strip since 1942.
This is the one hundred and seventieth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.