March 12, 1928
Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story
Sy Barry was born in New York City in 1928, and is the brother of comics artist Dan Barry, who drew the Flash Gordon comic strip. Sy Barry attended high school at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, New York City beginning in 1943. His first freelance job was working on the comic book Famous Funnies. Barry began his professional career as his brother's art assistant, and by the late 1940s was working as a freelance comic-book artist, primarily as an inker for publishers including Lev Gleason, the Marvel Comics precursor Timely Comics, and the DC Comics precursor National Comics. At National, he worked on features including "Johnny Peril" and "The Phantom Stranger".
Barry went on assist on the King Features Syndicate comic strips Tarzan and Flash Gordon. He was hired by Capp Studio to draw Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, a comics pamphlet published in 1957. Barry's signature was visible on the cover of the pamphlet's first edition, but a text box covered it in later printings. The Montgomery Story, written by Alfred Hassler and Benton Resnik and distributed by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, "taught young people not just about the event itself but also about nonviolence as a tool for social change." Many decades later, the comic inspired the March trilogy by Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
In 1961, upon the death of The Phantom artist Wilson McCoy, who had succeeded creator Lee Falk and subsequent artist Ray Moore, King Features hired Barry to take over that strip. Barry remained on it for more than 30 years until his retirement in 1995. Barry frequently used pencil artists on the strip, working primarily as an inker, though he often drew entire stories when time permitted. In a 1998 interview, Barry said at one point that he had pencilled the strip for 33 years, and at another point indicates 37 years.
- Sy Barry at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
- "Life of Sy". Sy Barry official website. Archived from the original on April 4, 2010. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
- Romberger, James. "Big Apple Con report—finally revealed: the artist of the Martin Luther King Jr. comic". The Beat. Comics Culture. Archived from the original on May 24, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- Bello, Grace (July 19, 2012). "A Comic Book for Social Justice: John Lewis". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- Phantom Comic Artist Sy Barry on The Today Show Australia (1998) (YouTube). The Geoffro VHS Archive. May 8, 2017. Event occurs at 00:26 - 00:46. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
So I've done it for 33 years now. ... I began drawing it in 1961.