Saturday, April 21, 2018

The new Nancy

I think Olivia Jaimes’s new Nancy is just plain terrific, with a distinctively dry, snarky sense of humor. But I learned from The A.V. Club that the pseudonymous artist’s strip has become the subject of heated debate, with some readers fiercely loyal to Guy Gilchrist, the strip’s previous artist and writer: “It’s 2018, and people are suddenly screaming at each other about 85-year-old comic strip character Nancy.”

Four things I like about Jaimes’s Nancy:

~ The spareness of the art, which, however spare, could never be mistaken for Ernie Bushmiller’s art. Jaimes’s cartooning is more severe; her strip, lonelier.

~ The meta touch that was often evident in Bushmiller’s Nancy, with characters who comment on their cartoonist and comic-strip conventions, and a cartoonist who posts messages for the reader.

~ Traces of contemporary reality: bots, earbuds, Marie Kondo, Snapchat filters. In his day Ernie Bushmiller referenced hippies, television, and abstract art.

~ A plaintiveness that I think would please Bushmiller, as when Nancy opens her report card next to fly-ridden dumpsters because she doesn’t want to ruin a landscape of butterflies and flowers with a painful memory. Guy Gilchrist’s final Nancy strip is all flowers and cheer. I vote for Our Nancy of the Dumpsters.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

comments: 7

Fresca said...

I like it!

Nancy reminds me a little of my dolls. How old is she?

I think my dolls are about... seven? Young enough to be unreconstructed, but old enough to button their clothes.

Michael Leddy said...

Nancy is eight, I think, but I’m not sure how I know that, if I do in fact know it.

Fresca said...

That sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

People actually (sorry about using the A word) liked the Gilchrist brothers cartoon art? Say what?

Michael Leddy said...

The Sunday comic is his again today. Such a strange contrast.

Chris said...

The NYT had an article on the new Nancy yesterday: . The humor in these new strips seems a little leaden, but then Ernie Bushmiller was no George Herriman to begin with (sorry!). The strip about watching Nancy eat seems particularly unfunny.

Michael Leddy said...

Leaden, yes. Ernie Bushmiller always dumbed it down. I liked the one with Nancy eating — it seemed right given that Nancy and Sluggo have always been obsessed with candy and ice cream. But I’d pass on today’s strip, with its HBO and Hulu joke. Forced and not especially funny.