Since it’s the 4th of July, it seems like it’s a good time to see a patriotic cartoon..and here’s one that’s usually a little harder to see. There were only a few of these NANCY cartoons, produced by Terrytoons in the early 40’s.
The character first appeared in Ernie Bushmiller’s Fritzie Ritz comic strip in 1933 – so Nancy turns 85 this year! She and Cubby Bear should celebrate together!
Instead, she got a new comic strip artist – and that’s turned into quite a controversy.
I wish that the series had continued for at least a few more cartoons – I enjoy the few that were made at least as much as the Little Lulu cartoons from Famous studios. You can see their struggles with animating Nancy in particular, though I have to admit enjoying scenes that are off model or more rubbery. If not Nancy, I wish Terry would have licensed other characters..the refreshing aspect of dealing with an established character seems to work well at the studio. School Daze, in my humble opinion, is even a little more fun than this one.
Here is a rare print with the original titles. Nancy and friends do their bit to help the USO – but I sure wish they would have saved those nifty dime store plates from Japan! I kind of also feel bad for the person who left the $60 in the vase…maybe they were saving it to buy a $1500 car after the war!
Can’t let this post go by without a plug for the recently published How To Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels By Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden (Fantagraphics Books).
Jerry posted a book review here last November, where he said (these are excerpts):
Let’s a get few things out of the way first. This is easily one of the most brilliant books about comics, a comics character, that character’s history – and the aesthetics of comics on the whole – ever written. And that’s saying something because there are many good books about those subjects – including the central subject herself.
…On the one hand, this is an analysis of a single strip, broken down into 44 steps that dissect why Nancy works as pure comics. On the other hand, the book is the history of Ernie Bushmiller, his art, his comic strips and his philosophy (“The gag is the thing”). On the third hand, it’s a collection of some of best of Nancy (over 160 strips are reprinted throughout and especially in its last 40 pages). The book is bursting with rare illustrations and lost photographs – and like Bushmiller’s work itself, each image has a purpose; to illustrate a point, to educate or to tell the story of Bushmiller’s incredible career.
Appendices that further breakdown the gags, feature Nancy memorabilia and celebrate Bushmiller ephemera abound. Ahh, what a treasure trove of material. This is the real deal – not light reading, but a college course on one man, one gag and of the comic strip medium itself. Did I mention it has a Foreword by the late comic genius Jerry Lewis and an introduction by art historian James Elkins?
If you have your own favorite patriotic cartoon – let us know in the comments below.