Lynda Barry (born January 2, 1956) is an American cartoonist and author. Barry is best known for her weekly comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek. She garnered attention with her book, The Good Times are Killing Me, about an interracial friendship between two young girls. The book was made into a play. Her novel Cruddy (2000) was well received.[1] One! Hundred! Demons! (2002), a graphic novel she terms "Autobiofictionalography," uses collage and a Zen Ink painting exercise to address personal and social topics. What It Is (2008) is a graphic novel that is part memoir, part collage and part workbook in which Barry instructs her readers in methods to open up their own creativity. What It Is won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. Born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, Barry moved as a child to Washington. She is one quarter-Filipina, half Irish (each parent is half Irish), and one quarter Norwegian. She attended Kimball Elementary School on Seattle's Beacon Hill and used some of her experiences there as an inspiration for her work. Barry hints that her childhood was very unhappy. Barry′s parents divorced when she was 12, the same year in which Barry changed the spelling of her name from “Linda” to “Lynda”. By age 16, Barry was working nightly as a janitor at a Seattle hospital while still attending high school.[3] Neither of Barry′s parents attended her graduation.[3] She went to the same high school as artist Charles Burns.[4] At The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington she met fellow cartoonist Matt Groening, who first published "Ernie Pook's Comeek" in the student paper, the Cooper Point Journal, without her knowledge. After graduating from Evergreen she moved to Seattle. When she was 23, the Chicago Reader picked up her comic strip, enabling her to make a living from her comics alone. She later moved to Chicago, Illinois. Barry's early work was rendered with pen and had a distinctly New Wave, '80s look. In her latest books, "One! Hundred! Demons! and What It Is" she works with color and collage. Barry has moved her line of comics primarily onto the web. Barry's books include "The Good Times are Killing Me", which was adapted into a musical play that ran off-Broadway; "The Greatest of Marlys; The Freddie Stories" "Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel" "One! Hundred! Demons!" a collection of the series published in venues such as; and, most recently, "What It Is" and "Picture This". (Her backlist includes Everything in the World, The Fun House, It's So Magic, Naked Ladies Naked Ladies Naked Ladies (1984), Shake a Tail Feather, Down the Street, Big Ideas (1983), Come Over Come Over, Girls and Boys (1981), and My Perfect Life.) The book ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS! first appeared as a serialized comic on, then as a hardcover book from Sasquatch Books. According to the book's own introduction, it was produced in emulation of an old Zen painting exercise called "one hundred demons." In this exercise, the practitioner awaits the arrival of demons and then paints them as they arise in the mind. This is done, one supposes, as a form of exorcism. The demons Barry wrestles with in this book are, among others, regret, abusive relationships, self-consciousness, the prohibition against feeling hate, and her response to the results of the 2000 U.S. presidential elections. The book contains an instructional section that encourages readers to take up the brush and follow her example.


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