Thursday, April 24, 2014

Art Collection: Drawing For 11-27-1965 "Nancy" By Ernie Bushmiller

(Click for bigger.)

What a treat: a rare mid-sixties Bushmiller original is absolutely pristine condition. There isn't a hint of yellowing in the Benday overlay, and the board looks practically like it just came off the press:

(Detail of Benday dots with cuts visible, and a little knife scraping on the upper left.)

The gag is so perfectly constructed. At first I wondered why Bushmiller hadn't condensed the strip into three panels, but there's actually no way to do it as economically as he does here. The second panel can't be dropped without damaging the gag.

Irma is doing the classic Bushmiller "head bob" up and down from panel to panel, bouncing the composition forward (see here and here for more examples). Note, too, the subtle way the horizon line leads the eye forward in the first two panels.

The payoff is just glorious Nancy sight gag nirvana.

One thing I love is that Bushmiller used Benday dots for Irma's dress, but did the ultra-laborious "tweed" pattern on Nancy's dress (it's November!) by hand, which is a useful indication of the border between what an obsessive technician is and is not willing to do:


It was tempting to title this "Nancy's Candy Glory-Hole".

And don't even get me started on fences in Bushmiller. You'll have to wait for Mark Newgarden and  Paul Karasik's How to Read Nancy, due to be released, I believe, later this year by Fantagraphics, because evidently it will include extensive Bushmiller fence scholarship. Praise!

Unwise Bushmiller Purchase

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The drawing shown above is currently available for purchase on eBay. The drawing is signed by Ernie Bushmiller (signature looks real to me). But is the drawing BY Ernie Bushmiller?

What do you think?

My theory is that the drawing was probably sent to Bushmiller with a note saying approximately the following:

Dear Mr. Bushmiller:

I'm a twelve-year-old girl, and I drew the enclosed picture of Nancy! Can I get your autograph?

That's my theory, anyway.

And again, like this Peanuts drawing, I don't think the eBay seller is trying to trick us, as in the Gallery on Baum's notorious attempt; I just don't think they know what they have. So this is another type of non-genuine drawing that isn't necessarily a forgery: the autographed fan drawing. Over the years things like this take on the characteristics of fakes and forgeries through no fault of their own.

There is another possibility, of course: that somebody added the Nancy drawing to a preexisting Bushmiller autograph to make it worth more. Either way, I'm not buying it (literally or figuratively).

Coming in the next day or two: Wise  (very wise!) Bushmiller purchase!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

See, What "Turn The Other Cheek" ACTUALLY Means Is...


I was obsessing over my favorite new website, Barbwire.com, again, and I noticed they had a store! Well, no, they don't actually have "Barbwire" merchandise; instead, they simply link to the Patriot Depot, your one-stop-shop for all your Government-Hating Patriot (!?) needs.

I especially enjoyed the shirt pictured above, and just in case you think they're intentionally trying to be ironic, there's an explanation which should clear that right up for you:


"Blessed are the peacemakers". These words, spoken by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, are often misinterpreted as a call to pacifism. However, the truth is quite the opposite. Sometimes being a peacemaker requires standing against evil, including by force if necessary. As Harrison Ford said in Air Force One, "Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of justice."

George Orwell is smirking in his grave.

Also: needs more wings and skulls.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Most/Least Favorite New Websites

Recently a couple of new websites have fallen before my glittery gaze:
Ezra Klein's left-ish, "serious"  political thing, Vox.com, and Matt Barber's hyper-right wing Christian Barbwire.com. I absolutely adore the latter, while the former is boring and vexing and I'll quickly forget it ever existed. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Right off the bat, Vox annoyed me. It's dry, it's sterile-looking. Worst of all, it has this story banner right at the top:


Ring a bell? That's because I recently wrote about how much I hate the whole "What you need to know about ______" trope, and how it has become so crazily overused that even Buzzfeed, I suspect, is embarrassed by it now.

Otherwise, I suppose Vox is OK. It's irritatingly insidery, which I expected (it's basically JournoList: the website), and populated by supposedly high-profile journalists who I'm not really crazy about. For instance, when they hired Matt Yglesias, I couldn't help but wonder if they were also going to hire a full-time editor to clean up his monstrous, frequent grammatical and spelling errors. Look, he seems like a really nice guy, and everybody obviously loves him, and he knows, I guess, what's he's talking about, but everybody seems to charitably overlook the fact that the guy cannot write! I'm not talking about occasional typos and homophone errors; I'm talking about a profound inability to use the English language in either an elegant or logical manner, and an approach to style and grammar which suggests "vague familiarity" at the best of times. As writers, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein et al were made for TV.

Let's turn to the infinitely more fun Barbwire.com. Are you familiar with Matt Barber? He literally makes his living denouncing the hairdressers, and this is his new website devoted mostly to doing just that. It is amazing. You will think it is a brilliant satire. Almost every article is about the homo menace, and while some "conservative" sites have learned to cool it with the Nazi comparisons, Barbwire embraces them with such frequency and enthusiasm that it's almost like a verbal tic. Enjoy the comment threads while you can, because they're  totally dominated by liberal trolls (including me; I know it's lame but I couldn't resist!) and a few Christian commenters who are bizarrely, pathologically invested in combating the frightening gay demons in their midst. I expect they'll scrap the comment fields soon. The whole thing is so strident and bonkers that it makes One News Now look like hippies in comparison. You will LOVE it. Barbwire should be preserved in the Library of Congress so that future generations can marvel at it.

UPDATE: According to Talking Points Memo, conservatives hate Vox, but I'm a liberal and I hate... well, no, I don't hate it.  But I don't like it, either. I love Barbwire!


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Condibox! Because Tech Companies Are Still Supercool!


Great news, everybody! Now, every time you use Dropbox, you're helping to keep Condi in her Ferragamos! The annoying app company or whatever it is selected Condi because she's always been known to show superior business acumen, displayed great knowledge of Silicon Valley in general and "Cloud" technology (ugh) in particular. Ha, ha, just kidding! They hired her because she's a celebrity spokesmodel who on occasion may be called upon to help grease a few foreign palms.

Hooray for Condi! Hooray for Dropbox! Oh, and don't forget that Condi is also the RNC's new spokeslady for income inequality issues 'n' such. It's great to be Condi!

UPDATE: Holy cow, response on Twitter is brutal.

And, as was inevitable, here's Drop Dropbox.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Fun With Your New Jennifer Rubin


This week's "What If?" column over at Wonkette is really strange. OK, stranger than usual. This time I've taken Sparklecrush Jennifer Rubin and inserted her rather unhappily into Thomas M. Disch's great short story "Fun with Your New Head". The result is unnerving and, probably, irritating. Enjoy!