Above is a scan of a folder sent to me by United Features Syndicate in August of 1995 to promote their re-introduction of "classic" Nancy. I disliked their concept of getting hack cartoonists-for-hire to ape Saint Ernie Bushmiller's classic Nancy and Sluggo style; it reeked of blasphemy to me because I worship them like twin gods. Here are some of the promo materials and the inside-front cover of the folder (click for a bigger view):
My two favorite parts of the above are "Introducing Homer the
black smart kid" and the updated "Pee Wee the little guy," formerly known as "Pee Wee the dated oriental immigrant stereotype."
The Gilchrist Brothers never did get Nancy or Sluggo quite right: they could mimic the trees, the fences, the sacred three rocks, etc., but, well, it's kind of like when Gus Van Sant remade Hitchcock's Psycho shot-for-shot, a pointless idea when the perfectly good original is still around. Incredibly, the Gilchrists' horrible zombie Nancy is still around. Ugh. And over the years the style has warped and now it looks absolutely ghastly. Poor Ernie.
But I loved the folder, and it's still crammed with paper detritus from the mid-90s, a time when I was freelancing for magazines and working at Barnes and Noble in San Diego. Here's the inventory:
1. Oh, look, here's a TERRIBLE RACIST doodle and a business card for a gallery where I was in some group shows:
2. A print-out of a column I wrote about working at a bookstore (duh) for Your Flesh magazine. Excerpt: "Navy-Goth is actually very common, right down to the eyeliner and black overcoats. I had a Christian customer get very upset with me for carrying Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible in our store. "What kind of person buys this," he asked, no doubt imagining Pantera fans and astrology enthusiasts. Just imagine the crestfallen look on his face when I told him that it was almost exclusively members of our armed forces getting into LaVey's dull satanic tome."
3. "401(k) Savings Plan Highlights" guide from Barnes and Noble, as if what they paid me made saving possible to begin with.
4. 1997 McDonald's Monopoly game thingy.
5. Horrible letterhead from a godawful abortion of a magazine start-up I wisely bailed on. I love how the very first words ("Employee Owned") are both inept and a lie:
6. Mysterious note from Tom Tomorrow. I cannot remember what any of this means (click for bigger):
7. Letter from cartoonist Ivan Brunetti. If you've ever read his comics, you won't be surprised by the tone of this except: "Anyway, here is the first issue of my comic book, Schizo. It's very late, due to the ineptitude of myself, the United Parcel Service, and the printer. You'll note that the printer did a lousy job on the book. Oh well. I am cursed."
8. My favorite rejection letter, from The Advocate: