BY celebrity standards the cartoonist Lynda Barry leads a reclusive existence. When she first developed a cult following in the 1980s, she cut a highly public figure, with frequent appearances on “Late Night With David Letterman” and the like. But after the market for her work began shrinking in the late 1990s, she gradually withdrew, refusing to talk on the phone with reporters or her editors. Today she draws her 30-year-old weekly strip, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” on a dairy farm just outside Footville, Wis., where she lives with her husband, Kevin Kawula, a prairie restoration expert. Since moving there six years ago, the couple have been relatively self-reliant, growing much of their own food and chopping their own wood for fuel.
Check out the multi-media slideshow, narrated by Barry.
§ PLUS : Alice C. Chen interviews Gene Yang in SFGate
Since “ABC’s” rise, the 34-year-old has lived at a frenzied pace. In late April, he released a short story, “The Motherless One,” the only graphic tale in “Up All Night,” an anthology of teenage literature. He travels to destinations such as New York and France, speaking at comic book conventions and teen book clubs. Yang also works full-time as a computer science teacher and director of information services at Bishop O’Dowd, a Catholic high school in Oakland. (He keeps his job because he enjoys education and says it would be too isolating to just cartoon.) He’s married to Theresa, a former teacher, and they’re parents of a 1-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. Every night after the children go to bed, Yang heads to his home office to sketch thumbnails and write for hours.