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Nancy (ca. 2018)

Nancy is an 80-year-old1 syndicated comic strip, both maligned and studied for its simplicity in both artistic style and humor. Originally by Ernie Bushmiller, the strip has been drawn by six different people. The sixth, as of last week is the pseudonymous Olivia Jaimes, the first woman to be in command of Nancy.

That a strip predominantly featuring its eponymous female character hasn’t, in 80 years, been drawn by a woman is… Not terribly notable in this world, and I’m glad that that has changed. Somehow the bigger aspect of the shift seems to be the fact that (so far, at least) the new strip is really good. It’s modern, quirky, and real. It’s hard to take the original Bushmiller strips decades out of context2, but the most recent incarnation by Guy Gilchrist was, to me, awful even by syndicated strip standards. The Jaimes strip, so far, feels like a lightweight web comic almost, far exceeding the quality that I expect out of syndicated strips. I haven’t actually been excited by a newspaper strip in a long time, but this is seriously fresh.


  1. Nancy, the character, appeared in 1933; though Nancy the strip trailed it by five years. ↩︎
  2. Even without the context of shifts in humor over time, I can find some enjoyment in the original strips. The Jaimes strips definitely hit me in a different way, though. ↩︎