Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nancy is here

[Nancy, January 18, 1943.]

I loved Nancy in childhood, and I love Nancy now. The accuracy and economy of Ernie Bushmiller’s art and the genial simplemindedness of his humor make an irresistible combination. So I am happy that Fantagraphics at last has published Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943–1945. Coming later this year: 1946 to 1948.

I like the panel above for its demonstration of depth in a small space: a cartoon version of Gregg Toland’s deep focus technique. I like the variety of textures and objects: upholstery, baseboard, heels, printed matter, bowtie, two-tone vest, curtains, glass, cap, hair bow. And that radiant nail. I also like the unashamed delight that Nancy and Sluggo take in their pain-inducing prank. Mr. Gripe’s suffering though has an element of rough justice in it: several panels back, Nancy and Sluggo were looking a poster exhorting the reader to “PICK UP NAILS AND SAVE YOUR COUNTRY’S TIRES.” They saw a nail fall from the board in Gripe’s hand. They told Gripe that he should pick up that nail. He scoffed: “Shut up! — It won’t hurt anyone.” So Nancy and Sluggo took a short-cut to his house. Willya look at him jump! Hahahaha.

Justice, thy name is Nancy. And Sluggo.

A related post
No (a Nancy panel)

[People were always taking short-cuts back then, weren’t they? “Hey, I know a short-cut.” Yes, the nail looks more like a tack. Nancy is, after all, a comic strip.]

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