Box, with Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Two (1944-1945) is here!

Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 will be shipping soon! I know this because my copies arrived in today’s mail. (I co-edited this book with Eric Reynolds) It looks great! (You can get Barnaby Volume Two from Fantagraphics or at your local comics retailer. Ask for it by name!) As we did in Barnaby Volume

Madeline Stuart's Harold, at Compas in LA

How Much Is That Crayon in the Window?: Harold at Compas, L.A.

Crockett Johnson‘s Harold appears in Madeline Stuart‘s window design for Compas, as one of the “Novel Displays: Storytelling by Design” windows at La Cinega Design Quarters‘ “Legends” event (May 7-9, Los Angeles). Surprising no one, I always enjoy reports of Harold sightings. The addition of three crayons behind Harold departs from Johnson’s book, but their

Pi pie

Nine Kinds of Pie

Happy Pi Day!  In recognition of 3.14 (today) and this blog’s Pi pie avatar (logo?), here are Nine Kinds of Pie (loosely defined). 1. The ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter: 3.1415926535.  When I was a kid, I memorized the number out to its tenth decimal point. On a long strip of paper,

Fantagraphics' logo

Fantagraphics and Kickstarter Capitalism

This past week, Fantagraphics launched a $150,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund its Spring 2014 season. The sudden death, in June, of co-founder Kim Thompson had an economic impact on the independent publisher: 13 books he was to translate or edit had to be postponed or delayed, creating a drain on the company’s cash flow. The

Adrian Tomine, from Optic Nerve No. 13

Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss & Adrian Tomine

Cool! My biography, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (2012), has a cameo appearance in Adrian Tomine‘s Optic Nerve #13. (Click on the strip to see a larger version.) Appropriately, the context is an affirmation of – and some nostalgia for – print

Comic-Con, San Diego, Sunday, July 21

Welcome to the final day of my admittedly idiosyncratic coverage of the 2013 Comic-Con in San Diego. As on previous days, I’ve given each event or topic a heading so that you can find whatever interests you and then skip the rest. Getting Into Character You could spend all of your time here photographing people

Barnaby, Volume 1

Barnaby at Comic-Con

Attention! Fellow and future members of the Elves, Gnomes, Leprechauns, and Little Men’s Chowder and Marching Society! If you’ll be at Comic-Con this week, stop by Fantagraphics, at Booth 1718 (see map below). Eric Reynolds (who co-edited Barnaby Volume One with me) and I will be there at these times. Thursday, July 18: 10-11:30 am.

The Purple Crayon’s Legacy, Part II: Picture Books

In the 58 years since its publication, Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon has appeared in 14 languages, and inspired many artists.  This blog (which takes its name from a line in the book) presented The Purple Crayon’s Legacy, Part I: Comics & Cartoons… nearly three years ago.  It is at last time for

A Manifesto for Children’s Literature; or, Reading Harold as a Teenager

Those of us who read, create, study, or teach children’s literature sometimes face skepticism from other alleged adults.  Why would adults take children’s books seriously?  Shouldn’t adults be reading adult books? There are many responses to these questions: Children’s books are the most important books we read because they’re potentially the most influential books we