Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: THE JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY: NANCY, VOLUME 3 by John Stanley and Dan Gormley (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011)

John Stanley continues to exude a sense of "liberation" in these stories from Dell NANCY #170-173. Evidently attempting to make a point, he leads off each issue with a wildly fanciful story in which Nancy, despite her own best efforts, is forced to brave bizarre perils in her friend Wednesday Addams', um, Oona Goosepimple's creepy mansion. This is the sort of stuff that Stanley had previously been obliged to run only in the backs of his issues of LITTLE LULU, plus a handful of issues of the TUBBY title. The weirdness seems to leach into other stories, as well; Nancy and Sluggo play ring-toss with hula hoops and a flag pole in #171's "The Hulahoops," Nancy's cat and bully Spike's dog converse with each other (in thought balloons, to be sure) in #173's "The Kitty's Collar," and a teeth-grindingly self-pitying Nancy literally clads herself in "sackcloth and ashes" in an effort to move an unyielding Aunt Fritzi in #170's "Nancy and the Cold Dinner." There is a zaniness here that many of the later issues of LITTLE LULU conspicuously lacked. Great fun, especially for those who've ever nodded their way through a series of Ernie Bushmiller's stultifying comic-strip gags.

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