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Nancy and Sluggo's Guide to Life

Nancy and Sluggo's Guide to Life

Comics about Money, Food, and Other Essentials

by Ernie Bushmiller, foreword by Denis Kitchen

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The newspaper cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller once admitted that “all my characters are conceived in desperation.” Nancy was no exception. She was the niece of the star of his other strip, Fritzi Ritzi, and meant to serve as a throwaway gag character. But Nancy could not be contained: Within a few years, Bushmiller’s strip had been renamed for her, and she had begun her ascent into the pantheon of cartooning greats.

Nancy, along with on-and-off boyfriend Sluggo, delivered absurd laughs to readers for decades, all rendered in Bushmiller’s distinctive line that cartoonist Denis Kitchen once called “geometric perfection.” A masterpiece of humor and cartooning, Nancy earned both scorn and acclaim for decades, serving as a muse (and sometimes punching bag) for the likes of Andy Warhol, Joe Brainard, Gary Panter, Matt Groening, and more.

This collection of Bushmiller’s Nancy brings together a selection from the beloved Kitchen Sink Press editions of Nancy strips, including How Sluggo Survives! and Nancy Eats Food, as well as a number of newly selected cartoons.

Together, this wide-ranging collection offers a chance for readers to experience the full range of Bushmiller’s absurd humor and unexpected visual delights. As Nancy once said: “Anything can happen in a comic strip!”

Additional Book Information

Series: New York Review Comics
ISBN: 9781681378367
Pages: 148
Publication Date:


Ernie Bushmiller’s long-running comic strip, Nancy, helped establish the way we think visually.
The Atlantic

Bushmiller refined his art, honed it to its barest essentials, and thereby produced a comic strip that in many respects was the very apotheosis of a comic strip.
The Comics Journal

Bushmiller choreographed his familiar formal elements inside the tightest frame of any major strip, and that helped make it the most beautiful, as a whole, of any in the papers.
The Village Voice

[A] sturdy American product and often a good chuckle.
The New York Times

Nancy invites us to meditate on Bushmiller’s iconic landscape. She is pure Zen.
—Bill Griffith, author of Three Rocks: The Story of Ernie Bushmiller: The Man Who Created Nancy

Universalizing historians have given the newspaper comic strip a distinguished pedigree as the twentieth-century descendant of sacred Egyptian hieroglyphics. True or not, no classic strip was better suited to embellish the inner sanctum of Pharaoh Tut’s tomb than Ernie Bushmiller’s long-running tot saga Nancy.... If Bushmiller was the comic-strip artist’s comic-strip artist, Nancy was a trademark to rival Coca-Cola’s logo.
—J. Hoberman, Artforum

It is possible that Nancy is the best comic today, principally because it combines a very strong, independent imagination with simplification of the best tradition of comic drawing.
The New Republic

Here are vintage selections from Nancy, the comic strip that continues to this day but was perfected to a zen-like simplicity for 44 years by Ernie Bushmiller. Astute choices reveal an amusing perspective and useful advice.
—Michael Giltz, Parade Magazine

Subtleties include Bushmiller’s mastery of panel spacing, object inclusion, balloon placement, and use of solid black—details easily missed by an original audience reading the strip in a cheaply printed and disposable format over breakfast . . . . New York Review Comics has just published a new Bushmiller collection, Nancy & Sluggo’s Guide to Life, that restores some of the finest and best-loved strips to print. If you want to know what it’s like to be a comic strip, you need to get your mitts on a copy.
—Michael Robbins, Book Post

This curated collection of Bushmiller strips, culled from three books published by Kitchen Sink Press in the 1980s with some additional material, brings the prime era of Nancy back into the public’s hands.
—Frank M. Young, The Comics Journal

One terrific strip has Nancy being swatted by a giant mosquito; another has ghouls, ghosts and devils chasing her through her dreams and inspiring her to open a haunted house. All of them, through that peculiar Bushmiller magic, take longer to describe than they do to read and enjoy.
—Sam Thielman, The New York Times Book Review

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