Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nancy Eats Food

1989, first edition, from Kitchen Sink Press
Ernie Bushmiller
Nancy Eats Food
Bought newish for $7.95
Very worn paperback with broken spine

As the title suggests, Bushmiller riffs on a very basic concept, although there are some surprises along the way.  One is that Nancy, who at one point in one of these books says she's seven, acts more like a young teen, sometimes cooking (albeit badly) and getting crushes.  At one point she even stomps grapes for wine!  She also worries about her weight, but then so do the adults around her (worry about Nancy's weight), not just Aunt Fritzi but strangers.  Is there a subtext that she's bulimic?  Not likely, since Bushmiller's world is unchanging.  Nancy can eat food, or diet and exercise, and maintain the same chunky figure that all the kids have, even the "cute blondes" that Sluggo goes after.

The back cover shows panels of a strip where Nancy's original recipe for chili is nuclear-hot.  It also has quotes from Bill "Zippy the Pinhead" Griffith's introduction; Art Spiegelman, who says "someone" said it takes more effort not to read Nancy than to read it; and Roy Blount, Jr.  (Blount would go on to contribute a Nancy intro of his own.)

Some of the strips here also appeared in Walker's book, which is understandable.  Less forgivable is that Kitchen Sink would reuse some that fell under future themes, but I won't mark this book down for that.  Overall, this is nice kick-off to the series, although some of the views of Nancy eating look a bit Freudian, especially when she's got two bananas.

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