Wednesday, July 7, 2010


They still have the "Nancy" comic strip in a lot of the newspapers and online, but I miss the classic Nancys drawn by Ernie Bushmiller. Such as:


because the world of Ernie Bushmiller was quite a world, in the way he expressed it. You had Nancy, a little schoolgirl, who lived with her Aunt Fritzi Ritz, who was a really nice-looking woman (for a cartoon character). Fritzi did not seem to have to work for a living, and it was never explained just how she came to be the legal guardian of her niece. Fritzi used to go with a dude named Wally, but once she hooked up with Phil Fumble, Wally was out with last week's magazines.

Fritzi could have done better than Phil:

but she never tried.

Plus, they all had to wonder what was going on with Sluggo Smith, Nancy's little chum. He lived alone, even though he was just an elementary school kid. He had his own house, and the walls were cracked with bare plaster showing, the sofa always had a spring sticking out of the pillow, and for electricity he used candles stuck in old wine bottles...tres chic if you're a restaurant, hazardous for a little boy who shouldn't have been playing with wine bottles, matches or candles.

But the world of Ernie Bushmiller was so wacked-out that way, that a little child (precursor of Beavis and Butthead) could live alone and no one ran to the authorities...yet anywhere else in the town where all this took place, things were in apple-pie order. As in, the streets were always clean, any pile of rocks alongside a scene contained three rocks - no more, no fewer - and all is perfect. You could tell all you needed to know about a person just by the way they looked in their drawings: rich business guys wore hombergs and carnations in their lapels, hippies wore ponchos and sandals, and everyone at a carnival was dressed as if headed to a job interview.

Or, perhaps Bushmiller was an early explorer of astral projection:

I told you he was a vagrant! No visible means of support!

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