This past weekend was HeroesCon 2018, and while there Derek was a part of two different scholarly panels. One was about the relationship between print and digital comics texts, “Between Pen and Pixel,” a recording of which was released earlier this week. The second was a panel based on the book by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, How to Read Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels. Andy Mansell, who oversees the programming every year at HeroesCon, wanted to pull together a panel of scholars to discuss the significance of How to Read Nancy and its potential place in the classroom and in scholarship. In addition, he wanted the panelists to discuss other important books about comics, comics history, and formal aspects of the medium. Other panelists included the former cohost of The Comics Alternative, Andy Kunka, Craig Fischer, Jennie Law, and the new cohost for the podcast’s bi-monthly on-location episodes, Michael Kobre. The resulting panel, “How to Read Nancy and Other Indispensable Books about Comics,” is part of the ongoing series of panels that Andy Mansell organizes every year, which he calls the “Comics Canon.”
A big thanks to Andy Mansell, not only for pulling together this panel, but for all of the hard he does every year in overseeing the programming at HeroesCon.
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!