24 Comments

  1. Sorry, I was just referring to the fact that Fritzi’s breasts need their own zip code.

    And CaroZ, similarly, I only included the final panels for the sake of that rhetorical question.

  2. I think the new artist is more “remarkable” than “controversial”, but the question is whether anyone will care (or even notice). As mentioned in the article, Nancy used to appear in 900 papers, the current list has shrunk to 75.
    P.S. @ Bill – Aunt Fritzi was originally the strip’s title character, she was always a bit too glamorous (and buxom) for the simplistic morality of the strip after Nancy took over.

  3. It’s remarkable to me that a change in artist has generated such controversy over at GoComics — especially since there have been six earlier authors (notably Bushmiller and Guy Gilchrist), and I don’t remember any time when Nancy was as much a cultural icon as some of the Peanuts characters, Dick Tracy, L’il Abner, or Calvin, among others.

    However, it’s a break from arguing about politics.

  4. I’ve never seen a Nancy strip in a newspaper.
    However, back a ways, in the shrouded mists of time, she used to be a recurring reference in Mad, frequently showing up in the art, sometimes with a written gag, sometimes without.

  5. That’s how Gilchrist has drawn Aunt Fritzi forever. Around a decade (when I first started seeing Gilchrist-drawn strips), at least. (And, actually, Cho at least varies the pose more…I kind of suspect that Gilchrist uses a template for Fritzi…)

  6. As I understand it, Ernie Bushmiller inherited the flapper strip “Fritzi Ritz” and invented her niece, Nancy. In fairly short order Nancy took center stage, and Bushmiller abandoned ongoing stories in favor of pure gags. Bushmiller’s eventual style was almost mathematical, very clear drawings precisely delivering very simple gags. It often felt like a first comic strip for little kids, a primer on how comic strips worked and what a joke is. In fact, I think that was the core audience. Bill Griffith is a fan, often referencing Nancy in “Zippy the Pinhead”.

    Gilchrist just ended a 22-year run on Nancy. In contrast to earlier artists who hewed a bit closer to Bushmiller’s style, Gilchrist not only rendered Fritzi as a sexy country-western babe with an Elvis lower lip, but introduced Disney-cute pets, backstory (Sluggo acquired legal guardians, truck-driving uncles usually on the road), and sentiment. He brought back the long-forgotten Phil Fumble to seriously court Frtizi (their dates were big on 50s nostalgia). There were also ongoing story arcs, such as Phil’s job running a mission for a church. Nancy and Sluggo didn’t change their look, and there were still lots of Bushmiller-simple gags. Gilchrist closed out his run with a Sunday page of Fritzi’s and Phil’s wedding.

    The new artist / writer is, in a way, very consciously pulling back to Bushmiller’s minimalist style in visuals and content. Since I doubt Nancy has much of a kid readership any more, it will be interesting to see if hipster irony begins seeping in.

  7. Aunt Fritzi has been hot for quite a while now (and actually, she started that way, as a flapper strip).

    The new artist is going to wait about month to introduce her version of Fritzi. She was asked to wait by the syndicate because she’s dispensing with Fritzi’s marriage to Phil, which just happened.

    I don’t have much hope for her Fritzi, since she’s not a very good artist. Bushmiller’s art was simple, but you could tell that the man really knew how to draw. The current artist is trying to imitate the art, but she doesn’t have the talent. And every adult she’s drawn so far looks nothing like Bushmiller.

  8. After reading the comments for the first two weeks of the new author’s run at GoComics, it seems that the “controversy” is just a bunch of intolerant hotheads complaining. The same sort of idiots who are now bemoaning Gilchrist’s departure did the same thing after he started, as evidenced by the “Featured Comment” to this “classic” Nancy strip.

  9. When the new cartoonist was announced, they were cagey about her real identity. Apparently she did a comic before that wasn’t “family friendly”. I don’t know many details beyond that.

  10. When Guy (and Brad) Gilchrist started on Nancy, they hewed quite closely to Bushmiller’s art style (unlike the artist right before them, Jerry Scott, who never really did). All the Gilchrist changes mentioned above came gradually, over twenty years, which is OK with me. it seems natural to start your run on a legacy strip by imitating what came before, but then let things evolve.

  11. I remember Guy and Brad Gilchrist from their work on the Muppets comic strip, back in (I think) the 80’s.

  12. You have to admire how GoComics is intentionally fanning this “controversy”.

    “Prior to the change in creator, “Nancy” averaged about 5,000 page views a day, says the Kansas City-based syndicate. Last week, the Jaimes version of “Nancy” attracted 133,000 page views on Wednesday, then spiked to 390,000 views the next day”

    That’s from an article in the Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/04/23/how-the-new-nancy-creator-is-handling-divided-fans-and-sudden-fame/?utm_term=.a67b55aeff14

  13. OK, so Gilchrists’ Fritzi only LOOKS like Frazetta drew it. Googling “Fritzi Ritz Frank Frazetta” turned up lots of Fritzi and a bit of Frazetta but nothing that was both.
    But it did also turn up this: https://goo.gl/images/TVR2vW
    I don’t know how to embed an image (well, I do, but I assume WordPress doesn’t allow unrestricted HTML). It’s a Gilchrist Nancy strip with Oona Goosepimple visiting from the old John Stanley Nancy comic books.

  14. “The Love and Rockets Guy” draws a character who is called Fritzi because of her resemblance to the Nancy character:

  15. @Brian: Right click on the link and open it in a private/incognito window. That’ll get you around WaPo’s sign-in requirements.

    There seems to be general agreement among webcomic artists as to who Olivia Jaimes really is, but they aren’t telling the public at large. I’m not about to start reading Nancy, but from the handful of strips at that link zbicyclist posted, my initial guess is Nina Paley.

    I’m sure a lot of the complaints about the new artist are from the sort of people who simply freak out about change. In pre-Internet days, newspaper editors would tell you that a change to the comics page would generate more mail than absolutely anything, including major local or world events. Alas, I suspect that a lot of the noise here is getting ramped up, possibly by people who have never read the strip, because the artist is — GASP — a woman.

  16. DemetriosX: in the WaPo article, the new author mentions that she is in her twenties, whereas Nina Paley is 50. Judging by the sample strips from that article, the new Nancy seems to be all-social-media all-the-time, which may more accurately reflect them youngsters today (flibledeefloo!), and is well in keeping with a 20s author, but seems to me, as someone of that older age, something difficult to authentically pull off — it’s even a staple meta joke here, just add a new technology reference to any subject, and you have an instant joke — which is not how it’s being done in the sample new Nancys I saw.

    tl;dr: Paley is too old.

    As an aside, because I haven’t been keeping up with Nancy, and to my mind the Gilchrists “just recently” took it over: had they brought the strip fully into the 21st century with cellphones and social media playing a central role, or had they just gotten by with the occasional reference to a computer or phone, without really it really changing the strip? Would someone from 1960 reading their version of the strip understand it? (Because I don’t think the new version would be at all comprehensible to my time traveler from the 60s, also known as “Geezers”…)

  17. “Right click on the link and open it in a private/incognito window. ”

    That did indeed work. Thanks.

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