Cover image for The greatest of Marlys
The greatest of Marlys
Barry, Lynda, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Seattle [Wash.] : Sasquatch Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6727.B36 G74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Lynda Barry had a bona fide hit with Cruddy, and her fans are now calling for her older comic strips, all out of print. This book answers the call as it delivers the life and times of Marlys Mullen, the most beloved character in Barry's nationally syndicated comic strip, 'Ernie Pook's Comeek.' Way back in the mid-1980s, Barry introduced the character of Marlys Mullen, her crazy groovy teenage sister Maybonne, her sensitive and strange little brother Freddie, a mother like no other, and an array of cousins and friends from the 'hood. This oversized book presents the long strange journey through puberty and life that Marlys and company have experienced. Marlys's universe and galaxy are funny, rude, disturbing, tearful . . . in short, very, very Lynda Barry.

Author Notes

Lynda Barry's comics appear in 35 weekly papers across North America. She is the author of the acclaimed novels Cruddy and The Good Times Are Killing Me. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The popularity of Barry's comic strip "Ernie Pook's Comeek," an alternative newspaper mainstay, continues unabated after 15 years, but earlier collections of it are out of print. Sasquatch Books began rectifying that situation with The Freddie Stories (1999) and continues in this generous collection focused on preteen Marlys without neglecting her teenaged sister, Maybonne, their freaky little brother, Freddie, and assorted cousins and neighbors. Marlys and her siblings have it tough. Their father is absent, their mother detached, and their existence hardscrabble. They find comfort in childhood joys that most will recognize, from baton lessons and toys from Sears to first love and the last day of school. The fortification they derive from those simple pleasures helps them survive the callous teachers, ruthless classmates, and vicious dogs that afflict them at every turn. The most popular member of "Ernie Pook's" cast, Marlys is endearingly gawky. That description also fits Barry's seemingly crude but deceptively expressive drawings, which perfectly capture the messiness and excitement of adolescence. --Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Barry is one of American literature's great chroniclers of childhood. Her comic strips, drawn in disarmingly and deceptively childlike lines, distill the essence of fried bologna sandwiches and stray dogs, mysterious teenage bedrooms, and kickball at dusk. This luminous hardcover collection centers on Barry's magnum opus, Marlys, a bright, bossy, awkward grade-schooler cloaked in freckles and bravado. Marlys, her sensitive little brother, Freddy, and their cousins Arna and Arnold navigate a world of angry mothers, absent fathers, schoolyard politics, and trailer park drama, ping-ponging between comedy and tragedy. Some strips are heartbreakingly beautiful, others simply heartbreaking. But most are funny, as the kids present on diverse topics as "How to Groove on Life," "Fumes of Regret," and "Don't Freak It's Only Nature" ("If you don't like extra pink dangles of flesh, don't go staring at the star-nosed mole"). This book will bring groovy love into your life. Pinky swear. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Barry's latest offers readers more stories of beloved eight-year-old Marlys, first introduced in the mid-1980s in the syndicated comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek. The volume opens with Barry briefly discussing her artistic process, then moves on to featured strips that tell of a working-class family in which Marlys and her siblings, including teenage sister Maybonne and younger brother Freddie, endure a challenging life of limited resources, absent parents, and unengaging classrooms. However, along with cousins and neighbors, they use their imaginations to make it all a lot more enjoyable. Thematically and artistically similar to the author's "autobifictionography," One! Hundred! Demons!, this work successfully brings together plenty of Marlys adventures sure to please her many fans. Marlys is bizarre but lovable, and Barry does an excellent job of entertaining readers with her exploits through captivating dialog, varying points of view, and drawings that depict a child's world. Verdict Barry's passion for her character is evident, and while this Greatest! of! is bound to engage a wide general audience, YA readers in particular will be delighted.-Margaret A. Robbins, Univ. of Georgia, Athens © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.