The Nancy Book

Published June 8, 2009 by Molly


“The world has in Joe Brainard a semi-secret maverick hero who will win new friends indefinitely,” says art critic Peter Schjeldahl. Well, the world had him for a few decades (1942-1994); now what we’ve got left is the genius poet/artist’s work, including The Nancy Book. It’s a classic of reappropriation, up there with anything that Warhol churned out and a lot funnier, too.

You’ll recognize Nancy as the cutenick from Ernie Bushmiller’s comic strip, Nancy. With her perennial bow and plump build, the character is an affable icon for Brainard to play with. The Nancy Book is an anthology of Brainard’s reappropriations, which involve plopping Nancy in all sorts of untoward and obtuse situations. Bushmiller threatened to sue, as people will, but nothing came of it. Nancy lives on.

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2 comments so far

  1. Inkstuds says:

    Have you ever checked out Mark Newgarden’s Nancy work. Great stuff.

  2. Stephanie says:

    The Believer had an excellent article on this a few months ago: