Fresh from her inclusion into the Will Eisner hall of fame, Lynda Barry is back at it The Greatest of Marlys, a collection dedicated to one of the most beloved and enduring characters from her Ernie Pook's Comeek. It's here that eight-year-old Marlys Mullen, the indomitable girl in pigtails and freckles, shines in all her groovy glory.
Populated by siblings, friends, and not-always-present adults, Marlys's trailer park life bears witness to dramas great and small. But nothing can hold Marlys down for long, and in the more than 200 collected strips, Barry deftly bears witness to the joy, awkwardness, pain, and humour of adolescence.
Out today, The Greatest of Marlys is already receiving (well deserved) praise from all fronts, with Publishers Weekly calling it "lyrical and emotionally complex ... the very nearly poetic invocation of moments of pubescent joy and humiliation." For Raina Telgemeier (author of Smile and Sisters) Barry's comics were her YA, "before YA really even existed," and Marlys is "raw, ugly, hilarious, and poignant.” Time even goes so far as to call the book "probably the greatest novel ever written, in any medium, from a child's point of view," We're certainly not going to disagree.