26 December 2010
boxing day ennui
Sluggo was the rough-and-tumble character in Ernie Bushmiller's post-Depression era comic strip Nancy. Some have said that Sluggo was like "a moron on an acid trip" [or could that have been a reference to Bushmiller himself?].
Bushmiller's style was of an understated elegance. One should never mistake the simplicity of design for simple-mindedness, however.
Bushmiller's work has been repeatedly alluded to by other artists: Andy Warhol made a painting based on Nancy. Many cartoonists have produced work directly inspired by or commenting on Bushmiller's art, including Art Spiegelman, Mark Newgarden, Chris Ware and "Zippy the Pinhead" cartoonist Bill Griffith, who lives in East Haddam, wrote an essay on Bushmiller.
The American Heritage Dictionary uses a Bushmiller Nancy strip to illustrate its entry on "comic strip."
Me, I didn't think about any of the philo- or sociological underpinnings to the strip. In my own way, I thought, quite simply, that Sluggo, was sexy. Nothing boring about that.