FOR MORE than eight decades, Nancy, the bushy-haired, red-bowed comic character, has been rendered by a man. This week, Nancy’s syndicate will change that.
On Monday, Andrews McMeel Syndication will announce that the cartoonist Olivia Jaimes has inherited the iconic strip and will provide a “21st-century female perspective,” says John Glynn, Andrews McMeel’s president and editorial director.
The first strip by Jaimes — the female cartoonist’s “nom de toon” — runs Monday.
“Nancy has been my favorite sassy grouch for a long time,” Jaimes says in a syndicate statement. “I’m excited to be sassy and grouchy through her voice instead of just mine, and I can complain to the whole world about things that bother me instead of just my friends and family.”
Andrews McMeel did not reveal professional details about Jaimes, though Glynn shared that he had seen webcomics by her, was impressed and learned that she was a definite fan of “Nancy.”
“Nancy” is syndicated to about 75 newspaper clients and enjoys a unique fandom with some professional cartoonists, who uphold examples of the strip at midcentury as a pinnacle of formal minimalism. The strip’s cult artistic status is celebrated in the recent book, “How to Draw Nancy: The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels,” by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, who are scheduled to appear at New York’s MoCCA Fest on Sunday to discuss why “Nancy” matters.
Nancy debuted on the comics page in 1933 in the United Feature strip “Fritzi Ritz,” which was launched in 1922 by creator Larry Whittington. After Nancy appeared as Fritzi Ritz’s niece, the girl’s popularity increased until by 1938, the strip’s title was changed to “Nancy.”
The gag comic was created for more than a half-century by the Eisner Hall of Fame cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller, under whom its client list grew to nearly 900 papers.
After Bushmiller’s death in 1982, the comic was rendered by such cartoonists as Mark Lasky and Reuben Award winner Jerry Scott (“Baby Blues,” “Zits”). Guy Gilchrist drew “Nancy” for more than two decades before ending his tenure this past February.
Jaimes brings a love for the vintage Bushmiller work to her “Nancy,” Glynn says, but with a voice that he hopes will resonate today.