Time Travel Tuesday: Nancy

August 28, 2012

Really excited to be back on the Time Travel Tuesday train with Sara from Brown Paper Bag! Head over to BPB for my post on Mexican surrealist aritst & muse, Leonora Carrington. And without further ado…Sara’s TTT post on NANCY!!! One of my favorite cartoons as a kid and whose sweet tooth I can definitely relate to!

I’ve been thinking a lot about comics as of late. As I prepare for my final year of my MFA, I am researching comics as part of my thesis. I find them fascinating! With many comics, they have permeated our culture, although my familiarity with having actually read them varies. This applies to Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy strip, who  first appeared in newspapers in 1933 and has continued past Bushmiller’s death in 1982 (different artists have taken over the writing and drawing).

Nancy, in its original iteration, was a spin-off of the comic strip Fritzi Ritzi that Bushmiller took over in 1925. Nancy was introduced as Fritzi’s niece in 1933 and the strip made the transition from Fritzi Ritzi to Nancy in 1938. Nancy is a sassy and intelligent 8-year-old that loves to eat (especially sweets and jams). Many of the punchlines in the comic are about Nancy’s love of food and how she outsmarts other characters, including adults (often to eat). Bushmiller also takes swing at Modernism with this strip, poking fun at non-representational forms popularized by movements such as abstract expressionism.

Generally, the comic is one panel whose visual language is succinct enough to be understood without much more information than Bushmiller’s stylized environments and characters. It’s clear that the entirety of Nancy is set up for gag after gag, and it does it beautifully.

Fantagraphics is working to collect the Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy and release them into volumes. Volume one has been released! All images are via the Tumblr Nancy is Happy Scans.

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