Praise for Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass

The 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were held over the weekend in conjunction with Comic-Con International in San Diego. And Susan Kirtley’s Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass received the award for Best Academic/Educational work. 

Girlhood through the Looking Glass is the first scholarly book to focus exclusively on Lynda Barry. In the volume, Kirtley examines the artist’s career and contributions to the field of comic art and beyond. The study specifically concentrates on Barry’s recurring focus on figures of young girls, in a variety of mediums and genres. 

Barry is best known for her long-running comic strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, illustrated fiction (Cruddy, The Good Times Are Killing Me), and graphic novels (One! Hundred! Demons!) and her recent volumes What It Is (2008) and Picture This (2010) fuse autobiography, teaching guide, sketchbook, and cartooning into coherent visions. Girlhood through the Looking Glass also features over 50 of Barry’s illustrations. 

This is the second consecutive year UPM has won an Eisner in the educational/academic category. Last year, Hand of Fire: The Comic Art of Jack Kirby by Charles Hatfield shared the award with Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice, by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press). 

Other books nominated in the academic category included two UPM books— Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures by Eisabeth El Refaie and Crockett Johnson & Ruth Krauss: How an
Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature, by Philip Nel. Two other university press books— Comics Versus Art, by Bart Beaty from University of Toronto Press and The Poetics of Slumberland, by Scott Bukatman from University of California Press—were also nominated. 

The Eisner Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comics world. Named for acclaimed comics creator the Will Eisner, the 2013 awards marked the 25th year of highlighting the best publications and creators in comics and graphic novels.