Hit & Run

Jesse Walker on Crockett Johnson's Barnaby

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Fantagraphics

J.J. O'Malley was the co-star of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby, a comic strip of the 1940s and '50s that is now being reprinted in a series of books from Fantagraphics. The title character is a 5-year-old boy who wishes one night for a fairy godmother. Instead he gets a fairy godfather: Mr. O'Malley, a W.C. Fields-esque con man of a sprite who alternates between bragging about his alleged powers and finding excuses not to use them. Reason's Jesse Walker writes an appreciation of both the character and the cartoon.