Saturday, June 29, 2013

Nancy: Bums, Beatniks and Hippies/ Artists & Con Artists

1991, first edition, from Kitchen Sink Press
Ernie Bushmiller
Nancy: Bums, Beatniks and Hippies/ Artists & Con Artists
Bought newish for $8.95
Worn paperback

This is the best of the Nancy collections, mostly because of the dual subject matter, although the "artists" half is not quite as good as that of the patch-and-bindle set.  And, yes, many of the strips have appeared elsewhere, but it's still great to see Nancy and friends deal with "modern," "alternative" people.  One of the best strips is first (at least if you start on this side, rather than flip it over and begin at the other end).  Sluggo says, "I'm bored--I think I'll become a beatnik" (emphasis in the original).  In the very next panel, he's acquired a beret, dark shades, and a phony goatee.  He speaks in rhyme but does not play the bongos or perform any other cliched beatnik activity.  But later strips fill in the gaps.  Nancy (or Bushmiller) is so square that the (counter-)culture clash works, and there's also more satire than you get when she's dealing with food (or pets as we'll see shortly).

The other side has some nice little parodies of modern art (check out the 1940s take on surrealism), but it's more one-note.  When Sluggo gets a guitar and a Beatles wig to regain Nancy's interest, anything can happen, as long as it leads to a stupid joke.

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