Lynda Jean Barry belongs to the tradition of James Thurber and Jules Feiffer: skilled humorists for whom comics is just one of several media suited to their talents. Barry, along with close friend Matt Groening, stood at the forefront of the least talked-about aspect of the 1980s comics renaissance: the rise of the alternative newspaper strip. Appearing in a number of free weeklies across the United States, particularly the Los Angeles and Chicago Readers, Barry has achieved, in some ways, the alternative comics dream. Her work reaches adults who might not read any other comics, adults who, because of work like Barry's, don't question that this art form can produce sophisticated reading matter.
Titles by Lynda Barry are: 'Girls and Boys', 'Big Ideas', 'Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies, Naked Ladies', 'Everything in the World', 'The Good Times Are Killing Me', 'The Fun House', 'Down the Street', 'My Perfect Life', 'Ernie Pook's Comeek', 'It's So Magic', 'The Freddie Stories', 'Cruddy' and 'One Hundred Demons'.
Barry's comic 'Ernie Pook's Comeek' is most remarkable because of its voice: lonely, unremarkable children struggling with everything that is awful and overwhelming about the world. In Ernie Pook's best years, in the late '80s, Barry's strip reads like actual diaries of children. In an act of developmental shorthand, Barry has created characters that have earned the affection that takes most cartoonists decades to build.