The first book collecting the new Nancy comic is incredibly, fantastically, impossibly great
One of the great moments of my adulthood was my discovery -- courtesy of Mark's posts here on Boing Boing -- of the incredible work that Ernie Bushmiller did on Nancy from 1933 until his death in 1982. He was succeeded by a series of station-keeping cartoonists, some of whom were very adept at aping his unique comic timing, sense of the absurd, and confident draftmanship, but none of whom every made me have that aha moment -- until 2018, when the mysterious, pseudonymous Olivia Jaimes took over, kicking off a run of astoundingly great new Nancys that have been collected into one of the greatest new comic-strip collections I've read in a decade.
Here's the thing: Bushmiller's successors were pretty good at creating strips that felt like Bushmiller might have created them, but Jaimes's Nancy makes me feel like Bushmiller made his readers feel during his 50 year run.
Jaimes's Nancy is obsessed with her phone and social media, she lives in our modern, contemporary world, she goes to after-school robotics club, all things that are a million miles from Bushmiller's strips -- but if Bushmiller was creating Nancy in 2018, this is the Nancy he would have created. This is the non-anachronistic, modern Nancy that is totally, utterly true to Bushmiller's sensibilities, and that blend of modernity and Bushmillerian faithfulness makes today's Nancy perfectly suited for being shared between kids and their grownups.
I've been reading the new book around the house for the past day or so, and everyone else who has transited the house in that time has repeatedly stopped me to say, "Why are you laughing so hard at that book?" Honestly, I just want to give everyone a copy of this.
The book's got some terrific forematter and appendices, too, including a revealing interview wiht Vulture, an illuminating and insightful essay on the structural problems that made the funnies so white and male by Hillary "Rhymes With Orange" Price, and some charming fan-art portraits of Nancy.
Jaimes herself is shrouded in mystery: she did a single notorious live appearance at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus where she wore a hilarious disguise and then ran into a closet (!). But her personality comes through very strongly in her strips. She is clearly a precious gift from the universe to an undeserving human race, and I am so glad she's doing what she's doing.
Nancy [Olivia Jaimes/Andrews McMeel]
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