Cushlamochree! It’s a portrait of Barnaby’s fairy godfather, Mr. O’Malley, in … 1962! Yes, 1962 — which makes it unusual for several reasons. First, Crockett Johnson didn’t draw Barnaby for its 1960-1962 revival. Warren Sattler did. Second, it’s a bit looser than Johnson’s drawings of O’Malley during Barnaby‘s original 1942-1952 run. As a result, you can see more clearly the individual pen strokes that create his hat, face, wings, arms, and buttons.
The drawing comes to us courtesy of Vicki Smith, the daughter of a friend of Frank Paccassi, Jr. When her mother (who had inherited the drawing from Ms. Smith’s late father) passed away, she sent me Mr. Paccassi’s collection of 1960-1962 Barnaby strips, along with the above drawing and a couple of penny postcards from Crockett Johnson. A fan of Barnaby, Mr. Paccassi had written to Johnson in the fall of 1962 about obtaining copies of the 1960-1962 run (which had then just concluded). Johnson obligingly sent him “some extra release proofs I have no use for,” and signed Mr. Paccassi’s copies of Barnaby (1943) and Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley (1944).
As readers of this blog will already know, this is shaping up to be a good year for Crockett Johnson fans:
- The Complete Barnaby Vol. 1 (co-edited by yours truly and Eric Reynolds), covering the first two years (1942-1943) of Barnaby, is due out late summer / early fall from Fantagraphics. Indeed, on Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday in May), watch for Fantagraphics’ free Barnaby comic book featuring a 30-strip sequence from The Complete Barnaby Vol. 1!
- Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (my biography, a dozen years in the making) will be out in September from the University Press of Mississippi.
Indeed, the page proofs for the latter arrived this past Tuesday. I’ve been reviewing them and constructing the index. Since they are due back at the end of the month and since I have many other deadlines this month, the blog may be slightly quieter than usual — or the posts may be more brief.
But the many posts devoted to Crockett Johnson and Barnaby should (I hope) keep you amused. Depending on your stamina and level of interest, there’s a great deal here related to the creation of the biography. I’ll list some (well, far too many) below:
- Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss Biography: Final Cuts, Part 3: Does This Make My Manuscript Look Fat? (Dec. 2011).
- Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss Biography: Final Cuts, Part 2: The Dog Problem (Dec. 2011).
- Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss Biography: Final Cuts, Part 1: What’s in a name? (Nov. 2011).
- Appendix A: American Committee for Spanish Freedom (July 2011). I cut all four appendices. This is the first one.
- Appendix B: We Are for Wallace (July 2011). And this is the second one.
- Appendix C: Assembly of Men and Women in the Arts Concerned with Vietnam (Sept. 2011). The third one.
- Appendix D: End Your Silence (Sept 2011). The fourth one.
- Preview: biography of Johnson and Krauss. First sentence and last sentence (Sept. 2011).
- Invent Title for My Book, Win Signed Copy of the Book (Aug. 2011). Editor dislikes title. I “crowdsource” it to readers, and get lots of suggestions. Have submitted leading contenders to editor. No decision as yet on final title.
- Crockett Johnson and the Purple Crayon: A Life in Art (Aug. 2011). My 2004 Comic Art article on the life of Crockett Johnson. Now available for free as either pdf or a series of jpgs.
- Going Back to High School — 90 Years Back (Aug. 2011). A glimpse into Crockett Johnson’s high school days.
- He Was a Teenage Harold: Crockett Johnson’s High School Cartoons (Aug. 2010). Johnson’s earliest work, published under his given name of David Johnson Leisk.
- The Text’s in the Mail (June 2011): in which I send the final version of the manuscript to my editor.
- News, Thanks, and Apologies (May 2011): in which I apologize for the post below, and indicate my current plan of action.
- Update, Featuring First 5 Paragraphs of the Book! (May 2011): ill-advised post, in which I express irritation and conflicting signals from editor. I shouldn’t have posted this.
- On a First-Name Basis with People I’ve Never Met (Jan. 2011): early version of bit I added to intro.
- biography outtakes, part 8 (June 2011): now featuring despair!
- biography outtakes, part 7 (June 2011): killing my darlings. Some bits that I like but that do not need to be retained… and thus have been cut!
- biography outtakes, part 6 (May 2011): some of the notes removed from this current round of editing.
- biography outtakes, part 5 (Dec. 2010): this and those below are from the round of edits I did in the fall. In that round of editing, I removed 10,000 words.
- biography outtakes, part 4 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 3 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 2 (Nov. 2010).
- biography outtakes, part 1 (Nov. 2010).