Nancy

Olivia Jaimes. Andrews McMeel, $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-5248-5325-9
It’s been a long time since a shake-up of a traditional newspaper serial strip attracted as much attention as this clever reboot, drawn by pseudonymous cartoonist Jaimes (whose identity is hotly speculated). Jaimes’s version of the venerable 80-year-old strip reads, on the surface, like a parody of an old property trying to reinvent itself as hip and edgy. In this collection of Jaimes’s first year in on the joke, Nancy gets addicted to social media, joins her school’s robotics club, and voices the preoccupations of a high-tech millennial. The strip mocks its own new direction, jokingly showing Nancy riding a Segway and declaring “Sluggo is lit”—a panel that immediately became an internet meme. Beneath the infinitely recursive irony, Jaimes’s sensibility is remarkably similar to that of Nancy’s creator, Ernie Bushmiller, whose extreme simplicity and penchant for fourth wall–breaking visual gags are now praised by critics as cartooning at its purest. If Bushmiller’s work was so hypersincere it came off as sardonic pop art, Jaimes’s is so hypersardonic it comes back around to sincerity. There’s solid character humor, too, as Jaimes develops Nancy’s personality and introduces new friends such as the perpetually crabby Esther. The basic art evokes Bushmiller’s familiar figures while at the same time establishing its own contemporary stripped-down style. This gift-market-ready collection will be sought after by fans of the daily comic and is poised to broaden its readership. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/10/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Comics
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