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‘How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels’ (review)

Written by Paul Karasik, Mark Newgarden
Published by Fantagraphics Books


I wish the current Nancy artist would familiarize herself with this book.

Nancy has long been a controversial newspaper strip, mainly because it isn’t at all controversial. Many readers never found it funny at all while others appreciate its squeaky-clean art or its surreal gags.

There’s been very little common ground over the years. In an amazing joke that also works as a massively educational treatise, authors Mark Newgarden and my Facebook friend (in the interest of full disclosure) Paul Karasik essentially take one random three-panel Nancy strip and analyze it to the Nth (for Nancy) degree for nearly 300 pages!

It could have gone horribly wrong but instead it leaves the reader with a greater appreciation of all aspects of the comic strip art form and its place in the overall concept of art.

Oh, and a much greater appreciation for Nancy creator Ernie Bushmiller, too!

Again, somebody please send a copy to Olivia Jaimes, who seems to have largely missed the point of what makes Nancy unique.

Booksteve recommends highly!


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