A few days ago we told you about the new artist on the long running Nancy comic strip – a woman who uses the pseudonym Olivia Jaimes. The first strip was confounding, as all Nancy strips should be, revealing “going IN on that cornbread” to be a defining human characteristic and somehow…humorous.
Since then James has really set the Nancy loving world reeling with her references to everyday objects such as earbuds and social media sharing.
But people everywhere are beginning to notice. Industry icon Ryan North was perhaps the first to anoint the new Nancy.
There's a new artist on Nancy – Olivia Jaimes – and not only is she the first woman to ever create the comic, but the strip is suddenly fresh and energized and I love ithttps://t.co/UYaSoBULdZ pic.twitter.com/t0zbNhfd5G
— Ryan North table A44 (@ryanqnorth) April 18, 2018
Followed quickly by influencer @skullmandible.
— Cohen is a Ghost (@skullmandible) April 18, 2018
The new Nancy-verse has perplexed many with its toned down Aunt Fritzi – is that her in the cornbread strip? Fritzi was traditionally drawn as a stylish woman of the times, and previous Nancy cartoonist Guy Gilchrist made her a buxom sexpot.
Jaimes is also going IN on breaking the fourth wall (something the original strip did a lot as well), with two strips already referencing the art and creator such as the one at the top of this strip. And she is also up to date on the controversy as this strip shows.
ALL THIS IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.
While you may have laughed at my phrase “Nancy loving world’ above, Ernie Bushmiller, the creator of the strip, has a loyal cult, following mostly among other cartoonists. This was revealed to all with the publication of Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden’s How to Read Nancy, which goes in heavy on how Nancy represents the comic strip in its purest, most direct form, a language of sigils and also Sluggo. But also just ineffable weirdness.
Nancy’s existential drollery – and bonkers payoffs – even led to the development of a game called “Five Card Nancy” that is played with individual panels cut from Nancy strips. The game is to make a sensible strip from the weird parts, kind of like comic strip anagrams, and it’s more fun to play than it sounds. Scott McCloud invented the game and it led to some lively outings amongst comics gathering of the 90s. Yeah, cartoonists love Nancy.
Anyway, all of this is to say that Nancy purists have been somewhat, well, appalled by the new strip, although I gather they didn’t like Gilchrist much either. I’m a member of a secret Nancy cult group on Facebook, and after three days of endless alarms and horror over the new strip a SPIN OFF Nancy cult secret Facebook group had to be created just to complain about the strip so the original gang could go back to just appreciating Bushmillerism.
I’m sympathetic to the pain of Nancy Cultists, but I feel they must face a simple fact:
THERE IS ONLY ONE ERNIE BUSHMILLLER AND HE IS DEAD.
Granted, keeping legacy strips going when the creators has gone on to the big printing plant in the sky is a controversial move in itself. However, this new Nancy has got people talking like mad! And reading the strip like mad!
Yesterday's Nancy with new cartoonist Olivia Jaimes set a new record for Nancy page views (nearly 3x the previous high) for the 7 years it's been on @GoComics https://t.co/cjBONo9POL the comments section has been fun for the last 10 days too.
— John Glynn (@JohnnyGlynn) April 18, 2018
And the comments are indeed buckwild. In fact The AV Club beat me to the punch to be the first media outlet to write about the reaction to the New Nancy (gnash gnash) and there are more than 300 comments on THAT piece too.
The power of Nancy compels you.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this is that it’s been more than a week and the internet has not yet outed the real identity of Olivia Jaimes. Ineffable.
As I said, I’m not entirely in favor of legacy strips going on, but in this case, at least, a fresh and some fresh humor has been introduced to the comics (web) page, and that can’t be a bad thing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.