Lynda Barry on how she came up with her character Marlys.

How Lynda Barry Met Marlys

How Lynda Barry Met Marlys

Nightlight
Children's books and the adults who make them.
Aug. 24 2016 9:00 AM

How I Met Marlys

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Drawn and Quarterly

This month Drawn and Quarterly reprints The Greatest of Marlys, a collection of Lynda Barry's comic strips starring the freckly, daydreaming preteen Barry's been drawing for 30 years now. Marlys is a unique character: Officially, she's in third grade, but her smart mouth and heartaches often make her seem more like a teenager; not for nothing does cartoonist Raina Telgemeier call her “YA before YA really even existed.” Below, the remarkable cartoonist and teacher reveals the story of how Marlys first came to her, way back in 1986. —Dan Kois

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Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator, and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin.