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The Bodacious Best of Snuffy Smith at local book signing

Published Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013, 7:26 pm
Filed under Local/State NewsTop News

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snuffy smithBeing the cartoonist for King Features’ Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip has been the greatest joy of John Rose’s professional career.

Rose, who will sign copies of his book The Bodacious Best of Snuffy Smith at Bookworks in Downtown Staunton on Saturday from 3-5 p.m., always wanted to be a cartoonist. He started drawing on his parents’ living room walls and continued throughout his school years in the margins of his test papers (hoping for extra credit).

The Virginia-born Rose graduated from James Madison University in 1986 with a bachelor of fine arts degree, double-majoring in art and art history. Since mid-1998, Rose has been working on the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip. He began as an inking assistant to cartooning legend Fred Lasswell. Rose became the strip’s full-time cartoonist after Lasswell’s death in March 2001. “Working for Fred Lasswell was a dream come true for me. He was more than a boss…he was a wonderful mentor and friend. Definitely the greatest cartoonist I have ever known.”

Rose enjoys meeting Snuffy Smith readers and frequently does Snuffy Smith Cartooning Chalk Talks for civic organizations, corporate groups, schools and festivals. Rose is a member of both the National Cartoonists Society and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.

He lives with his wife, Karen, and daughters, Meredith and Sarah, in the mountains of Harrisonburg, VA. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, freshwater fishing and following James Madison University sports.

“Having this collection published is truly a dream come true. Comic strip collections have lined the shelves of my bookcases for as long as I can remember and have served as great inspiration and enjoyment to me over the years,” said Rose. “I’ve said for years that having the opportunity to be the cartoonist for this comic strip has been the greatest joy of my professional career and having this book published is an extension of that joy.”

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith is one of the longest-running comic strips in history.  Created by Billy DeBeck in 1919, it first appeared in the sports section of the Chicago Herald and Examiner as Take Barney Google, F’rinstance.  It starred the cigar-smoking, sports-loving, poker-playing, girl-chasing ne’er-do-well Barney Google.  By October of that year, the strip was distributed by King Features to newspapers all across the country.

In 1934, Barney Google met Snuffy Smith, a hillbilly who soon eclipsed him in popularity.  Not long after this meeting, the strip became known as Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.  In 1942, the comic strip was inherited by DeBeck’s long-time assistant, Fred Lasswell, who continued to draw the strip until his death in March 2001.  Lasswell, a master of the sight gag, really developed the hillbilly characters of Hootin’ Holler.  John Rose, who inked the strip for Lasswell, has been carrying on the bodacious tradition of being the strip’s cartoonist since 2001.

This tremendously popular feature boasts clients in 21 countries and 11 languages.  It has added several phrases to the American vernacular, including “sweet mama,” “horsefeathers,” “heebie-jeebies” and “hotsie-totsie.”  It has been the inspiration for a hit song, “Barney Google (With Your Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)” and is one of a few historical comic strips to be honored on a special set of U.S. postage stamps.

“The Bodacious Best of Snuffy Smith” is a collection of King Features’ popular, long-running Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip by John Rose. In this volume, Rose selects his favorite strips from 2004-2013. This book is the first collection of Rose’s work on the strip and the first SNUFFY SMITH book published in America since 1994.