Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2019 Issue

A Classic Comic Strip is Making Its Return

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Nancy with her Aunt and guardian, Fritzi Ritz.

There are no superheroes in this comic strip. No one is paying millions of dollars for a copy of her first edition. No one is spending tens of millions of dollars turning her into a super action film. There are no murderous villains, no gratuitous violence. Her life was fairly commonplace, even boring. For decades, she practically disappeared, and whether she will ever regain a significant place in our consciousness is yet to be seen. Probably not, but here she is again, youthful as ever – Nancy!

 

She may not have achieved anything resembling the status of Superman and Batman, but Nancy has been around longer. She first appeared in 1933. We don't know much about her background. Who were her parents and what happened to them? We don't know. We aren't even sure of her last name. She came to stay with her aunt, but we don't know for sure whether her last name is also Ritz. Aunt Fritzi had her own strip, which is where Nancy first appeared in 1933. Fritzi Ritz was a typical 1920s flapper, her strip first appearing in 1922. Gradually, her role was pushed aside for that of Nancy, who won over the hearts of Ernie Bushmiller's readers. A 1920s flapper was a dying breed by the 1930s.

 

I used to follow Nancy's adventures when I was young, back in the 1950s. She and best buddy Sluggo were maybe sort of funny, though nothing to put you in hysterics. Still, it was an easy strip to read so how could you pass it by? As the years went on, she pretty much disappeared. I think it was Snoopy who brought about her demise. I'm sure the claim that Peanuts was once daring and edgy will bring more laughter from young people than do the endlessly rerunning Peanuts strips today, but in their time, it was cutting edge. Time has dulled those shears, but it was way sharper than Nancy's genre.

 

Nancy provided more typical than groundbreaking humor even in her early days. There were gags worth a chuckle, but she was never quite so daring as the mischievous Katzenjammer Kids. She didn't have the distinctive personality of Our Boarding House's Major Hoople. Her stories weren't as compelling as the serial adventures from Gasoline Alley. The latter had characters that actually grew and aged with time, just as we did. This is an aside, but did you know that even Gasoline Alley is still around? I think it appears in something like six newspapers, but it is still with us. Walt Wallet is still alive. His wife, Phyllis, died quite a few years back, but if Walt can hang on a little longer, he will be 120 years old next year. He is the oldest verified living person on earth. He is a bit forgetful these days, but still sharper than many 110 year olds. Are you ready for this? In less than two years, even Skeezix will turn 100. He looks very good for his age.

 

I digress. Nancy experienced years of decline. Once appearing in 880 newspapers, her circulation dropped all the way to 75. Finally, in February of 2018, Nancy's long run actually came to an end. But, you can't keep a good woman down. Two months later, she popped back up, still as full of spunk as ever. Unlike Walt Wallet, Nancy is still eight years old. As such, she understands modern technology, carries a cell phone, takes selfies, speaks the current slang Walt and I can't comprehend. The new writer/artist is Olivia Jaimes, but not really. That is a pseudonym and “Olivia Jaimes” guards her identity and privacy religiously. In that way, she resembles the reclusive Ernie Bushmiller. She has updated Nancy to fit the times. And now, there is a new Nancy book, Nancy: A Comic Collection. It gives you a chance to meet the new Nancy. Reportedly, newspaper circulation for Nancy has doubled, meaning we probably would be more conscious of her again already if anyone still read newspapers.

 

For those unaware, there is a website where you can read new comics online – www.gocomics.com – and reportedly, Nancy's traffic has quadrupled. Heck, you can find Gasoline Alley, Dick Tracy, Alley Oop, Annie (without the “Little Orphan”), and many more still there. Ones no longer drawn, like Li'l Abner, have reruns. Old comics, like old soldiers and Walt Wallet, never die, they just fade away.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1032. RATZER, BERNARD. Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1011. [BROADSIDE]. Life, Last Words and Dying Confession, of Rachel Wall... $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1055. BEATON, CECIL. Scrapbook prepared by Cecil Beaton over the period 1935-1944, with some later inclusions. $800 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Rare Books, Autographs & Maps<br>Timed auction, April 29</b>
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1051. ADDAMS, CHARLES. Original drawing "I hope the power doesn't go out until after Masterpiece Theatre." $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1037. The Campaign Speeches of Nixon of Kennedy, inscribed to William Safire by Richard Nixon and secretarially for John Kennedy. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1036. Celebration of the Commencement of Work on Rapid Transit Railroad. March 24th 1900, one o'clock, City Hall Park, New York. $200 to $300.
    <b>Doyle, Rare Books, Autographs & Maps:</b> Lot 1005. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers signed baseball including Jackie Robinson. $3,000 to $5,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 12. OKLAHOMA! Celeste Holm's vocal score for Oklahoma! inscribed by Richard Rodgers. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 20. WILSON, DOOLEY. Fine inscribed photograph to Celeste Holm with Casablanca reference. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 79. Original production script of the Broadway musical CATS with notes written by Claude Tessier. $600 to $900.
    <center><b>Doyle<br>Stage & Screen<br>Auction April 28</b>
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 139. STEPHEN SONDHEIM. Autographed musical manuscript signed for "Broadway Baby" from Follies. $500 to $800.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 180.<br>Cecil Beaton. Headdress for Liza at the Ball, from My Fair Lady, circa 1962. $700 to $900.
    <b>Doyle, Stage & Screen:</b> Lot 177.<br>Cecil Beaton. Set Design for The Gainsborough Girls, 1951. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 54. Fanciful engraving of earth's interior with magma core and errupting volcanoes (1682). $1500 to $1800.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 165. Rare state of Jefferys' influential map of New England in contemporary color (1755). $8000 to $9500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 177. Mouzon's foundation map of the Carolinas (1775). $10000 to $13000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 183. Very rare first state of De Fer's map of the Lower Mississippi Valley (1715). $20000 to $25000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 253. Scarce Scottish edition based on Ellicott's plan of Washington, D.C. (1796). $2400 to $3000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 313. Stunning view of Philadelphia by John Bachmann (1850). $3250 to $4250.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 338. Rare Civil War map based on Bucholtz map of Virginia (1862). $9500 to $12000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 667. First map to accurately show Luzon in Philippines (1590). $6000 to $7500.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 682. Rare map of Shanghai International Settlement published just after WWI (1918). $7000 to $9000.
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 738. Coronelli's superb map of the Pacific showing the Island of California (1697) Est. $2400 - $3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 743. A cornerstone piece in the mapping of Australia and New Zealand (1726) Est. $6000 - $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (April 28):</b><br>Lot 781. An uncommon signature during Jefferson's Governorship of Virginia (1779) Est. $9500 - $11000

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