'Nancy' in Three Easy Panelsby Stephen Roth
Nancy has garnered a lot of attention lately, primarily due to Olivia Jaimes taking over as creator in April. On Friday, the classic strip received more acclaim when How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels won the Will Eisner Awards' "Best Comics-Related Book" category.
Written by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, the 2017 book maintains that everything you need to know about writing, drawing and understanding comics can be found in a single Nancy strip by creator Ernie Bushmiller from August 8, 1959. How to Read Nancy deconstructs that single strip in an innovative, methodical approach that laws bare the mechanics of a successful comic. At roughly 270 pages, it's a great read for anyone who loves comics and wants to learn more about the craft.
In Bushmiller's nearly 50 years of drawing Nancy, it was all about the gag. He focused on the visual aspect of the comic even as other strips became more focused on character development and dialogue.
"It was whatever works," Karasik recently told Richmond Magazine. "Maybe you look inside Nancy's brain, or Ernie's hand suddenly jams in the final panel, anything to deliver the goods. Everything was up for grabs."