Here is one origin story for Crockett Johnson’s classic Barnaby. At some point in early 1942,Â PM‘s Art Editor Charles Martin visited Crockett Johnson at his home in Darien Connecticut. Â There, he saw a half-page color Sunday Barnaby strip. Â Johnson had been unable to sell it. Â Martin liked the strip, took it back to New York,
As comics scholars know, Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby made its debut in New York’s Popular Front newspaper PM on April 20, 1942. Â But Barnaby and his fairy godfather Mr. O’Malley actually appeared in PM the week before. Â All during the week of April 13th, the newspaper ran ads for Crockett Johnson‘s then upcoming comic strip, Barnaby.
104 years ago, David Johnson Leisk was born in New York City. Â For his pseudonym, he would later add his childhood nickname “Crockett” to his middle name… becoming “Crockett Johnson.” Â Below is an ad for the second collection of the comic strip that made him famous: Barnaby (1942-1952). After this volume (published 1944), Johnson planned
Crockett Johnson was not a teller of jokes.Â His sense of humor was wry, subtle, sardonic.Â He’d quietly offer a well-turned phrase or make an off-hand observation that perfectly addressed the moment.Â However, in contrast to his gentle delivery, he “had this sort of earthy laugh,”1 a “marvelous laugh.”2 Courtesy of Nina Stagakis, here is
One side effect of writing The Purple Crayon and A Hole to Dig: Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss (forthcoming, 2012) is that I could write pages on how Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) has influenced subsequent artists and writers –Â and, for that matter, on Harold’s antecedents.Â (The list of works discussed in the
With a nod to the survival of the U.S. auto industry, here’s an ad campaign from when American automakers were thriving. Â Created for Ford in 1947-1948, Crockett Johnson based these ads on his untitled cartoon, popularly known as The Little Man with the Eyes, which ran in Collier’s from 1940 to 1943. Â In each cartoon,
Though they had lived together since 1940 and married in 1943, this 1944 photograph is the first one to include both Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss. Â Taken by Frank Gerratana, it appeared in the Sunday Herald (Bridgeport, Conn.) of October 1, 1944. Â In my biography of Johnson and Krauss, I’m using a print of the
A 1943 letter from Crockett Johnson. Asked about himself, he dodges the question.
Two high-school cartoons by Crockett Johnson. Neither has been seen since the 1920s.