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Many connoisseurs — including Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud (creator of the "Five-Card Nancy" card game), Joe Brainard, and Andy Warhol — have recognized that Bushmiller's often-corny Nancy approached its own kind of zen-like cartoon perfection. In its own way, it turned out Nancy was in fact the most iconic comic strip of all; The American Heritage Dictionary actually uses a Nancy strip to illustrate its entry on "comic strip." Fantagraphics' beloved Nancy series finally packages Nancy with the reverence it deserves. Our third volume contains another full three years of daily Nancy strips, from an era many regard as Bushmiller's finest.
Praise for the series:
"Reading Nancy in continuity, rather than in isolation, may be an unfamiliar experience, but it is one which reveals the strip’s patient and inquisitive reaction to the bric-a-brac and ins-and-outs of everyday life—an attentive curiosity whose effect is diminished by removing the comics from their daily or weekly contexts." – Sean Rogers, The Comics Journal
"Bushmiller’s genius [was] to make everything in his strip so basic that anyone, anywhere, at any time, could get the joke." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"...Nancy possesses in spades the quality common to all great art — a singularity of vision.... The clarity and unity of purpose made it quite impossible to miss a single punch line. Nancy is simplistic, yes — but it is simplistic by design, a strip without clutter, diagrammatic in its relentless formalism. Set against today’s comic-strip landscape, ...the dumbness of Nancy starts to look like some kind of genius. The roly-poly, Brillo-mopped mischief-maker and her lowlife pal Sluggo stand eternal, as iconic as the puppets in a Punch and Judy show or the Columbines and Harlequins of commedia dell’arte." – Jack Feerick, Kirkus Reviews
"In this, the reading public has a rare opportunity. No, make that a rare challenge — to read
Bushmiller without the benefit of recontextualization of any sort. The fact that you
laugh at a Nancy gag — and you will — is all on you. There will be no downtown doyenne
to comfort you in the know ledge that the gag about, oh, bathroom plungers, or cotton
candy, or squirt guns, is an ironically loaded statement on anything at all. No, you'll be
stuck in a room alone with Ernie Bushmiller, who will force you to confront your inner
stoopid like no other American artist. Indeed, it is genuine, nonironic praise to say of
Bushmiller that if you don't get a Nancy joke, you are a moron.... Now, Nancy Is Happy arrives after three decades of pro-Nancy revival and mainstream
humor often as archly silly and unreal as Bushmiller's — Letterman, Conan, Pee-wee
Herman, The Mighty Boosh, or the grown-up fan base of Yo Gabba Gabba! It bodes well
for Bushmiller's legacy that there's finally an audience educated enough to appreciate his
brand of dumb." – Ben Schwartz, Bookforum