Onion: At what point did you decide that you could be a cartoonist for a living?
LB: When Robert Roth at The Chicago Reader called me in Seattle and picked up my comic strip. The Reader paid $80 per week. My rent was $99 a month. Lordy! I was rich.
That's nearly 30 years as a pro, but her work continues to contain a peculiar childlike terror and sense of humour.
I discovered Barry's comix when I was in high school. Ernie Pook was running in th back of Washington City Paper, where it still is today. I'd never seen anything like it, never heard a voice in comix that treated pain and happiness in such a matter-of-fact way, not even in Schulz.
Onion: Your writing focuses primarily on childhood. How would you characterize your own childhood?
LB: Long. It went on and on and on. Beyond that, um, I actually don't like to talk about it much. I'm very glad it's over.
Onion: Everyone in your stories survives by either banding together with a like-minded person or creating one in their minds. No one ever comes to the rescue. Are you of the mindset that there's no room for heroes today?
LB: I never thought of that. I guess that's a point of view I would have to admit is autobiographical. (I had to stop here and get a pinch of Copenhagen to calm down from this jarring observation.) In my own life, no one ever did come to the rescue for anything. Ever.
Did you know that she dated Ira Glass, and that Glass dumped her and den did a radio show and said she dumped him?
"When that article came out in the Tribune and I saw my name in there ... I got this weird pang in my heart," says Lynda Barry. "It was so weird to see our names in there with this person who changed my belief in human nature. I went out with him. It was the worst thing I ever did. When we broke up he gave me a watch and said I was boring and shallow, and I wasn't enough in the moment for him, and it was over. I had to go around for a year saying, 'Am I boring and shallow and not enough in the moment?'"
I was so impressed w/ Ernie Pook I showed it to my one cousin who liked Love & Rockets. "It's good," he said, "but I can't look at the ugly drawings for too long."
Onion: Who influenced your cartooning style? And your prose style?
LB: Well, I'd hate to insult anyone, but Dr. Seuss, Don Martin, Dave Berg, R. Crumb, Tom Robbins, Grimm's fairy tales, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Anderson's fairy tales, hippie music, Peter Maxx, the Broadway musical Hair, Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, The Family Circus, Archie, Nancy, and, um... books in the library that I stared at while I waited for most of the other kids at my junior high to go home so I could walk home without getting beat up.
I went to high school with Charles Burns and thought he was the world's best artist, but I don't think he thought much of me beyond as a pest. I still think he's the best cartoonist in the world except Chris Ware, who is Michael Jordan.
Wikidpedia says she's a quarter flippy, but they don't provide a source. I'd always thought she was half.
"I'd say like 15 to 25 percent of the comic strips may have actually happened to me ..."
Yr move, komix_klatches!