BARNABY by Crockett Johnson was a comic strip about a little kid who had a ne'er do well fairy godfather that only he (Barnaby) could see. My friend Philip Nel has the best place on the Web for all things Crockett Johnson here.
The strip did not last a long time, and few papers carried it. It's only been reprinted a handful of times. But some people, particularly some cartoonists, remember it. There was a collection of the strip, and it's been getting reprinted here and there.
Anyway, I had a BARNABY moment on Sunday.
It's December 3, 2006: My wife and I were walking in Wawayanda woods, along an unfamilar and muddy path, when we came upon over a rise, into a clearing and I saw a big, rusted out steamroller. Well, not a steamroller per se, but one of those big roller things, used for rolling out asphalt.
"It's Trilby!" I said, running over to it. "Take my picture! Take my picture!"
I recalled sequence in the BARNABY comic strip immediately! You see, Barnaby is in a competition to find scrap metal . . .
It's been years since I read these strips, but as soon as I saw that rusty thing in the woods in 2006, I remembered that BARNABY sequence.
A wacky comic strip moment that I thought, at first, I wouldn't share. But ever since I told Tony Murphy that night about "the Trilby incident," I thought maybe I would share it. So, Tony, even though I said no way on Sunday night, I've changed my mind.
Barnaby should be -- and is -- remembered. And so are Mr. O'Malley and McSnoyd in this, the 100th year of Mr. Johnson's birth!
The scans are from a 1943 collection of the strips. Thanks to my Dad who gave me his copy circa 1970.