A comic strip gag can be a deceptively simple thing. Once you take it about — “deconstruct” it, one might say — you find that it actually has many moving parts.
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Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden‘s How to Read “Nancy” takes a close look at each of those parts — as well as arguing persuasively for Bushmiller’s underrated artistic chops, and giving us some comic-strip history as well. Tim and Patrick review.
PLUS: Roland Mann, Dean Zachary, and Kevin Gallegly join Tim to talk about the return of Cat and Mouse!
Gene and Derek are happy to have on the podcast Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden. Their book How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels was released last fall from Fantagraphics Books. The authors are back on the circuit discussing their close reading of Ernie Bushmiller, but they took time to talk with the Two Guys about their landmark work. Over the course of the conversation, Mark and Paul reveal their history reading the Nancy strip, their original “How to Read Nancy” essay and the book that grew from there, the educational function of their detailed analysis, the work — research, technological, and otherwise — that went into this project, and, of course, there’s the August 8, 1959 comic strip itself that comes under such meticulous scrutiny. Over the course of 44 steps, Paul and Mark pick apart this Nancy strip with painstaking detail. But How to Read Nancy also includes a thorough biography overview of Ernie Bushmiller, multiple appendixes that provide abundant cultural and aesthetic context, and a “Do It Yourself” section where readers can apply the analytical skills they learn from the text. This is a must-read for every student of comics, creators and critics alike.
A big THANK YOU to Craig Yoe, who actually planted the idea for this interview and became its chief encourager!