Nancy: A Comic Collection

Andrews McMeel. Oct. 2019. 144p. ISBN 9781524853259. $14.99. Rated: Teen+. comics
While the original Nancy strips created by Ernie Bushmiller starting in 1938 remain revered for their minimalism and inventively composed gags, Nancy was a staple of the daily funny pages more appreciated than beloved before pseudonymous cartoonist Jaimes, the first woman to write and draw the strip, took over in 2018 and quickly turned it into a phenomenon. In this debut collection, Nancy is driven by wild contradictions—her absolute loyalty to her gruff paramour, Sluggo, is undercut by her extreme neediness; she’s both wrathful and overly sensitive, devoted to self-improvement and ruled by gluttony and sloth, prone to spending an entire day thinking about how to avoid thinking hard. She’s eager for authentic personal connection yet uncomfortable doing so without a phone in her hand, equally enthralled and repulsed by social media, extremely confident in how others should behave but completely blind to her own faults. She’d be a monster if she wasn’t so painfully relatable and, owing to the verve with which she blazes her path through the world, absolutely charming.
VERDICT Jaimes manages to maintain Bushmiller’s minimalism and penchant for formal experimentation while creating something fresh, relevant, and most important, very funny.

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