One of the cherished memories I have of my Grandfather was our love of newspaper comic strips – while Sunday of course delivered the most number of comic strips – our local daily newspaper offered a nice variety too. I would read one page of the strips and then hand them over to where he was sitting in his recliner – likewise when he had finished he would hand me the page of strips he had been reading. Beetle Bailey, The Wizard of Id, Hagar the Horrible, The Far Side, and the likes of Calvin and Hobbes were some of our favorites as was Nancy. The best part and the memories that make me the most happiest is that after reading the strips – especially on Sunday morning before breakfast – we would discuss them. After his passing… I didn’t quite feel like reading newspaper comic strips anymore – which is probably one of the reasons to my shame that I have missed out on a whole lot of news regarding Nancy. You see, just last year the strip was taken over by Olivia Jaimes – that is a pseudonym for the writer and artist of Nancy. Olivia was able to update the famous comic icon beginning on April 9th of 2018 and it certainly appears as the character is rightfully experiencing an upswing in popularity. I learned this first hand when Andrews McMeel Publishing was kind enough to send me their hardback Nancy: A Comic Collection to review a couple of weeks back.
That image used for the GIF happens to be a response from Jaimes to what she thought people who didn’t care for her taking over the character would most hate to see. In fact proving that she totally understands what makes the character of Nancy tick – in an article by Michael Cavna for The Washington Post that was published on April 8th of 2018 – Olivia said:
“Nancy has been my favorite sassy grouch for a long time,” Jaimes says in a syndicate statement. “I’m excited to be sassy and grouchy through her voice instead of just mine, and I can complain to the whole world about things that bother me instead of just my friends and family.”
While reading Nancy: A Comic Collection I was struck first by the amount of meta humor that was included now – a welcome addition in my personal opinion. While Jaimes has skillfully delivered Nancy, Sluggo, and their friends to the 21st century with the addition of current technology and topics – the artist and writer has not forsaken the elements that made the characters such tremendous successes in the first place.
For what it might be worth when Nancy was first introduced by artist and writer Ernie Bushmiller on January 2nd of ’33 for the Fritzi Ritz comic strip – it was originally as a supporting character and she wasn’t intended to keep appearing. Thanks to her popularity however she eventually eclipsed her Aunt as the main character and in 1938 the series was renamed Nancy!
Ernie Bushmiller wrote and illustrated the character until 1982 – when it appears that Al Plastino took over after the passing of Bushmiller – working on the Sunday strip offerings. If that name sounds familiar you might know him from his work at DC Comics – besides illustrating the likes of Superman, along with Otto Binder he helped to co-create the Legion of Super-Heroes as well as Supergirl and Brainiac. It was Mark Lasky that was tackling the daily comic strips for Nancy until his absolutely tragic death at the age of 29 due to cancer – when Jerry Scott would take over the strips until 1995. The reins of the comic strip were picked up by Guy and Brad Gilchrist at that point with Guy eventually becoming the illustrator and writer for the daily and Sunday comic strips.
Nancy: A Comic Collection collects the nine months of Jaimes’ comic strips – the great news is this book was published at the first of the month so it should already be available at better book dealers near you. Of course you can always go through Andrews McMeel Publishing’s official site to order your copy or check it out on Amazon. It’s only $14.99 and features 144 pages of mischievousness you have come to expect from the character over her 86 years of publication!