I was pleased to see Mark Newgarden share the original post on Facebook because — as I was writing the original post — I was thinking of contemporary cartoonists who would like this strip. At the top of my list were (and are) Mark, Chris Ware, and Andy Runton.
In the above strip, I love how the Little Man’s enjoyment slowly recedes, so that, by the final panel, his face registers concern. Careful readers will also note an error in the fourth panel: one of the Little Man’s eyes is grey when it should be white. I expect that Collier’s introduced the error in the printing process — Johnson was a perfectionist, and would certainly have noticed such a mistake (had it existed at an earlier stage).
An inkblot in the fourth panel slightly mars it. (No, his mouth hasn’t suddenly run to the side of his face — that’s just a blot. Look closely, and you’ll see the Little Man’s mouth intersect with the tip of the spoon). Despite that printing flaw, the strip demonstrates Johnson’s understanding of how faces tell a story.
Other examples of Crockett Johnson’s work (from this blog):
- Crockett Johnson’s first comic strip. More Little Man with the Eyes cartoons.
- Happy π Day from Crockett Johnson. One of Johnson’s geometrical paintings, and an original mathematical formula.
- Color Sunday Barnaby: March comes in like…. A color strip from March 1947.
- Crockett Johnson’s gonzo Bosco ad, c. 1960.
- Merry Christmas from Mr. O’Malley. A color Sunday Barnaby from December 1946.
- Crockett Johnson vs. Hitler. A six-panel cartoon from February 1942.
- Barnaby. In Color. A Sunday Barnaby from July 1947.
- The Debut of Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby. Ads in PM heralding the strip’s debut.
- Crockett Johnson: Ford’s Out Front. Ads for Ford, featuring the Little Man with the Eyes.
- He Was a Teen-Age Harold: Crockett Johnson’s High School Cartoons.