The Story of Ernie Bushmiller: The Man Who Created Nancy
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- Publication Date: August 29, 2023
- Imprint: Abrams ComicArts
- Trim Size: 6 3⁄8 x 9 1⁄2
- ISBN: 9781419745904
- Page Count: 272
- Illustrations: Black-and-white illustrations throughout
- Rights: World/All
From Bill Griffith, the acclaimed creator of Zippy the Pinhead, comes a history of comics as told through the life story of Ernie Bushmiller and his iconic comic strip Nancy
“As the widest-ranging cartoon chronicler of American absurdity in our time, Bill Griffith has topped himself. This is an instant comic-strip classic!” —Matt Groening
“For many years, I’ve devoured Bill Griffith’s work. It’s always inspiring and engrossing. As it never fails to do, Griffith’s brilliance and consummate drawing chops shine through. Three Rocks is amazing!” —Emil Ferris
“A page-turning, standard-setting, must-have work of biographical art.” —Chris Ware
From Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead and Nobody’s Fool, comes Three Rocks, a biography of cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the iconic comic strip Nancy. But this graphic novel is about more than a single comic book artist. It is the story of this American art form, tracing its inception in 1895 with the Yellow Kid, the creation of Nancy in 1933, and all the strips that followed, including Peanuts and The Far Side. When Bushmiller died in 1982, Nancy was running in almost 900 daily newspapers—a number few syndicated cartoonists ever achieve.
Nancy is hailed as the “perfect” comic strip by fans and cartoonists alike. The title Three Rocks refers to the trope of three hemispherical rocks often seen in a Bushmiller landscape—just enough to communicate environment to the reader. This distillation is exemplary of the iconic, diagrammatic look of Nancy, a comic strip about the nature of what it means to be a comic strip—the perfect avatar for Griffith to expand upon his philosophy of creating comics.
“If you stare deeply enough into the bottomless abyss of black dots that serve as the eyes of Nancy and Sluggo, would you live to tell the tale? Well, Bill Griffith has. And the tale he tells is a complex, peculiar, and funny graphic biography of Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the brilliantly strange (and strangely brilliant) Nancy and Sluggo (as well as Fritzi Ritz and Phil Fumble). As the widest-ranging cartoon chronicler of American absurdity in our time, Bill Griffith has topped himself. This is an instant comic-strip classic!”Matt Groening —
“For many years, I’ve devoured Bill Griffith’s work. It’s always inspiring and engrossing. As it never fails to do, Griffith’s brilliance and consummate drawing chops shine through. Three Rocks is amazing!”Emil Ferris —
“I inhaled this book. If there’s one Nancy mystery greater than the peculiar, clean hum of the strip itself, it’s what Ernie Bushmiller, the man, was actually like. In this last, best volume of a three-book talismanic paean to the inspirations that have sustained and formed him for the past half century, underground comix legend Bill Griffith grafts all the real messiness of life—research, anecdotes, and interviews with those who knew Bushmiller—to perfect examples of the distilled graphic haiku of the Connecticut Zen master of the comic strip. The result, quite simply, is a page-turning, standard-setting, must-have work of biographical art. Two words: Three Rocks. Five stars!”Chris Ware —
“As the curator of the fictional Bushmiller Museum in Altadena, California, I was thrilled to learn from reading Three Rocks that there’s a fictional one in Stamford, Connecticut, too!”Tom Gammill —
“Bill Griffith is a master of pen-and-ink graphic storytelling. This delightful book is, first and foremost, a well-researched biography of Ernie Bushmiller, creator of Nancy and one of the unsung geniuses of the comics business. It is also a thought-provoking discourse on the inner dynamics of cartooning and its relationship to fine art. The narrative alternates deftly between realistically rendered scenes of Bushmiller’s life and career to flashbacks, future fantasies, dream sequences, clever asides by Nancy herself, and informative insights from the author. It is a thoroughly entertaining journey into Bushmillerland that is destined to take its place among the select group of classic graphic novels.”Brian Walker —
About the author
Bill Griffith is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy and the author of Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead. Griffith’s prolific output has been included in such publications as the Village Voice, National Lampoon, and The New Yorker. According to Bartlett, Griffith coined the popular phrase, “Are we having fun yet?” He lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.