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 1942, Barney Google was inherited by DeBeck’s long-time assistant, Fred Lasswell, who continued to draw the strip until his death in March 2001. John Rose, who inked the strip for Lasswell, continues the tradition today.
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.
ABOUT THE CREATOR
Being the cartoonist for King Features’ Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip has been the greatest joy of John Rose’s professional career.
John Rose 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. After graduation, he drew freelance sports cartoons for newspapers in Manassas, Va. He joined Byrd Newspapers of Virginia in 1988, starting at the Warren Sentinel and then moving to the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record. His cartoons have won awards from the National Newspaper Association and the Virginia Press Association. Besides appearing in the Byrd Newspaper chain, his editorial cartoons are distributed by the Scripps Howard News Service. He has had two editorial cartoon collections of his work published. The titles are Cartoons That Fit the Bill and Now This Is Where I Draw The Line!His cartoons have also been featured in the Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year collections (Pelican Publishing) each year since 1994.
Since 1991, Rose has been creating Kids’ Home Newspaper, a weekly children’s cartoon/activity page that is syndicated with Creators Syndicate. This feature has spawned three activity books: “Fun With Pup!,” “More Fun With Pup!” and “Christmas Fun With Pup!” (Pelican Publishing Company). His cartoon illustrations have also appeared in books and magazines published by Scholastic and Magination Press. He is also a writer and inker for Archie Comic Publications.
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.