Monday, January 05, 2009

The history of Nancy

When I was knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper, I would spread the comics page of the Newark Evening News on the living room floor and read up on all the stuff going on in those mythical worlds. Well, maybe not all of them — Apartment 3-G and Rex Morgan didn't do much for me.

One of my guilty pleasures was Nancy, the little fuzzy-haired kid with the red bow in her hair. Even then I thought of her as a guilty pleasure, because the humor seemed pretty lame, but I kept coming back to Ernie Bushmiller's little cast — Aunt Fritzi, Nancy, Sluggo and the rest.

After Bushmiller passed away, the strip went through several lesser hands — including one attempt at a complete makeover — until Guy and Brad Gilchrist took it over in the mid-1990s. Filled with musical and other pop-culture references and the same innocence that Ernie brought to the strip, it's one of my daily Internet stops — sadly, because my local paper doesn't run the thing. And the Newark Evening News died in 1972.

The Gilchrists are starting the new year with a "history of Nancy" series, recreating the look of those old strips starting with 1933. I'm guessing this will make a nice introduction if you're at all curious. Here's the online Nancy archive, which lets you browse back as long as you like. If you're discovering this link sometime in the future, you're looking for the strips that start 01-05-2009.



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