Friday, April 10, 2009

2-in-1 Nancy post

November 2012 note: I see this post is getting a lot of hits of late... is it just because of the stories themselves, or has someone linked to this particular blog entry? Any information is welcome...


Jim Gill put in a request for some more Nancy stories. I don't want to impinge upon the Drawn + Quarterly volumes soon to appear, so I opted for two oddball stories.

Thus, this is a 2-in-1 post.

"Take Me To Your Ladder" [Nancy #163]

This story gives us an unusually formal introduction to a supporting character. Presumably, John Stanley saw all sorts of potential in the self-assured, cheerfully inept burglar, Bill Bumble.

I don't think Bumble was used again. I don't have four issues of the Stanley Nancy run. It's possible he made another appearance in one of those issues.

Bill Bumble is another archetypal Stanley character. He's Tubby, grown up and on the wrong side of the law. Like so many Stanley anti-heroes, he's utterly sure of himself. He operates on the highly flawed assumption that he's unerring, and that the world around him is easy pickin's.

He's a fine foil for Sluggo, who barely needs to rouse himself from sleep to cross, double-cross and bollix Bill Bumble's hapless life of crime.

Great comic timing distinguishes this story. I like Bumble's character design. On the newly-created characters, including Oona Goosepimple and McOnion, Stanley and artist Dan Gormley could indulge in some off-model designs. It gives the faux-Bushmiller look some visual variety.

A good story speaks for itself, so enjoy the high-level sitcom that follows.

Part Two: Is This Stanley's Work?
"The Magazine Wreck," Nancy & Sluggo #185

John Stanley's last full issue of Nancy and Sluggo was #180. Thereafter, the quality of the title went into a steep decline. The sole exception: a few more stories, obviously by Stanley, that were used as filler in subsequent issues. This was the last one. It appears to be Stanley's work. It shows the hand of an editor; some re-writing was done.

The neurotic behavior of Mr. Krank, the magazine store proprietor, smacks of Stanley's hand. As well, Nancy and Sluggo's repeated demolition of his inventory is indicative of our hero's efforts.

It's curious that a few isolated stories appeared after Stanley left the series. Were these from an incomplete issue #181? Did Stanley quit the series suddenly? He appears to have written his final N&S summer camp giant comic in early 1961. Perhaps that lionized his time, and he was only able to script a few scattered stories for the regular title.

It is a highly amusing story--unlike its neighbors in this issue--so I'm inclined to consider this a genyoowine Stanley Story. What do you think?

1 comment:

Doug Gray said...

Thanks for posting these stories...I can't wait for the book collections to come out! I haven't read much of Stanley's Nancy stories so it will be almost all new stuff for me.

Happy Birthday!