Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dan Barry

Daniel “Dan” Barry was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on July 11, 1923. His birthplace was named in The Art of the Comic Strip (1971) and his date of birth is from the Social Security Death Index. The 1925 New York State Census recorded the Barry family in Brooklyn, New York, at 3409 14th Avenue. He was the youngest of four children born to Samuel, a painter, and Sally.

In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, he was the fourth of seven children. They lived in Long Branch, New Jersey at 29 Grant Avenue. His father was a house painter. At are the American Jewish Historical Society’s Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum Records, from 1878 to 1969. Barry was admitted July 6, 1933 and discharged October 23, 1937. At the time, his parents lived at 2836 West 21st Street in Brooklyn.

The 1940 census recorded the Barry household in Brooklyn at 2930 West 24 Street. Art of the Comic Strip said, “…He attended Textile High School in New York, and studied under Raphel Soyer and Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the American Artists School. In September of 1941 he met cartoonist George Mandel, who suggested the idea of a career in comics. In August of 1943 Barry joined the army, where he did a comic strip ‘Bombrack,’ for the Air Force magazine. After his discharge in January of 1946 he worked on comic-book features including ‘Captain Midnight,’ ‘Crime Does Not Pay,’ ’Big Town,’ ‘Gang Busters,’ and ‘Airboy’…” From September 1, 1947 to November 20, 1948, he produced the daily Tarzan comic strip; strips from 1948 can be seen at ERBzine (scroll down to the links in the yellow bar).

His younger brother, Sy, was a cartoonist, too. An interview is at The Silver Lantern; an excerpt:

Sy Barry: …Another thing that led me into comics was the fact that my older brother was in it and I saw him making money, and it seemed like an awful lot of money, even though I didn’t know that he was doing a lot of pages for that money. (Chuckle.) I mean layouts were like a dollar and a half a page, finished pencils were five dollars a page. My brother worked in a factory. It was actually on a farm. They worked in a barn. There were several artists. He and Lee Ames and Andre LeBlanc and Mort Meskin and several other young men. At that time they were in their late teens or early twenties and they were all in the same boat working in a factory….

Bryan D. Stroud: Right in the infancy of the [comic book] industry.

Sy Barry: The infancy, exactly. He [Dan Barry] was only around 17 then himself. He’d left school. He left school when he was 16-1/2 in his last year. He’d skipped a couple of times and he just couldn’t see himself finishing school. He didn’t have money and was just feeling too despondent and decided to take his art and make some money with it. And that’s what he did. He began to work at one of these factories and then he began to get his own work and eventually he worked at DC and that’s when I began to work with him when he began to take on some freelance work. I began to help him with backgrounds and I began to do some layouts for him and before I knew it I was getting work myself and so I began to cut down my work with him and eventually got my own accounts.

When King Features Syndicate revived the Flash Gordon comic strip in 1951, Barry was the artist. The late Harry Harrison (1925–2012) wrote the strip from 1958 to 1970, and appeared in a 1989 strip. (At the Harrison site, scroll to the bottom.)

Art of the Comic Strip said, “From 1957 to 1963 Barry lived in Europe, but continued his strips for King Features….” In 1982, he ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service, as reported in March 24 edition of The Bulletin.

The Comics Journal, #194, March 1997, said, “…A new generation of comic book readers was exposed to Barry when the cartoonist returned to comics in the early ’90s, primarily for Continuity Comics and Dark Horse. At Dark Horse, Barry was associated with the company’s Indiana Jones license, adapting teleplays for the Young Indiana Jones title and providing both script and art for the mini-series Indiana Jones: Thunder in the Orient….”

Barry passed away January 25, 1997, in Georgia. According to the Comics Journal, “Barry had two children by the former Helen Marks of Brooklyn. He is survived by his girlfriend of the last several years, Gail Beckett.”

2 comments on “Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dan Barry

  1. Did you forget he did the Amazing Spifer-Man strip (daily) in 1986? I remember seeing his work on Spidey in the Oregonian.

    Brian Henke

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