Nancy Burton went by many pen names during her time in the underground comix movement. One of the first published female cartoonists of the period, she was known as Hurricane Nancy, Panzika, as well as by her given-name Nancy Kalish. Active from the mid-’60s until It Ain’t Me, Babe’s publication in 1971, she left the scene for personal reasons but returned to the drawing board in 2009. Now her work and legacy will be preserved as she donates 65 pieces of her original underground comix art to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
The donated originals will include early unpublished work; her art from the Gentles Tripout strip, which began in the East Village Other in 1966; and 1969’s Busy Boxes from Gothic Blimpworks.
On the decision Burton said:
“It was clear from the outset we [Burton and The Billy Ireland] are a perfect match. Knowing that serious students, and some just for fun, will have access to my work is satisfying to say the least. I made the decision immediately to donate the work and am honored to do so.”
With the help of Alex Dueben, who is putting together a forthcoming monograph on her work for Fantagraphics, Burton was put in touch with Billy Ireland Associate Curator Caitlin McGurk “after Burton expressed a desire for the material to be preserved.”
“I was over the moon to be connected with one of the pioneers of women’s underground comix – it is such an honor to us to be chosen as the home for preserving this important work. Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies courses as well as anyone interested in exploring the feminist history of comics will find this collection to be a treasure. It is imperative that we continue to document and preserve the history of women working in this and all eras of cartooning, and this collection is an invaluable part of those efforts.”