With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?

With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?

I get invigorated each time I visit my friend Bill and he shows me his astonishing comic strip collection. It’s like a trip to the Twilight Zone of Sunday Funnies. I still find it hard to believe that someone in my little town has this incredible collection. Of course, 99.9% of the locals think he “just has a lot junk”. When I view his stuff, I feel a little guilty that I don’t pay him an admission fee.

It starts and ends with Books. A guy named Books, to be precise. We sometimes called one of my high school buddies “Books” because he worked at the library. Ok, I admit, we weren’t the most original thinkers.  My nickname was “Crash”, by the way. Guess why I earned that one.

But we really need to focus on this column.  That collector, Bill, is Books’ dad. Since I’ve moved back to the Finger Lakes region, I’ve renewed a lot of friendships.  Old teachers, old prom dates, etc…you know how it goes. And Books’ father, Bill, is one of those folks with whom I’ve renewed a friendship.

It turns out, Bill owns a truly incredible comic strip collection. I had no idea about his love for comics back when I was in high school.  He has original art, collected editions, autographs, reference books and more. His original art collection is deep – everything from Hal Foster to Frank Robbins to Chester Gould and back again. 

This Christmas, I gifted him a copy of The Complete Kreigh Collins Volume 1: Mitzi McCoy. Longtime readers know that I’ve been excited about this project for a while.  The author, Brian Collins, collaborated with Lost Art Books’ publisher Joe Procopio to methodically collect Kreigh Collins’ first comic strip, Mitzi McCoy.  I helped out with the marketing and also contributed the Afterward.  You can still get a copy at your local comic shop or here, but this column isn’t meant to be a hard sell.

During my Yuletide delivery visit, Bill pulled out a copy of the book he was reading. He enthusiastically explained how fascinating it was and asked if I’d like to borrow it. It’s a gorgeous IDW hardcover reprinting old strips in that same format that they publish comic strip collections of Steve Canyon, Terry and the Pirates, Superman, Rip Kirby and Spider-Man.

(I’ve always been an IDW reader and fan, but now that I’m working on a top-secret project with them – to be announced this spring -you’ll soon see why I’m even more of an IDW fan!)

The book is Red Barry, Undercover Man by Will Gould. But I had never heard of the character, Red Barry, or the creator, Will Gould. Have you?  Continue reading “With Further Ado #024: Why Didn’t You Tell Me About Red Barry?”