Goodness, those are awfully close (NOT in quality, mind you). How well do they match up? Let's turn the original blue and the fake red and overlap them:
It's positively uncanny! No, it's not uncanny: it's a tracing done on a lightbox. But could it be a tracing by Bushmiller himself? Ask this question: why would he do this? If Bushmiller were to dash off a quick sketch for a fan, why would he lug out a lightbox instead of... well, dashing off a quick sketch? Also, if Bushmiller himself were doing the tracing, one would expect him to understand his own drawing and not make what are called "tracing errors." Does the Gallery on Baum's drawing include tracing errors? Oh, yes, that and more. Let's really get into this:
(Click to open a larger version in a new window and play along at home!)
- On the left, the horizontal lines in the building are Bushmiller's visual shorthand for "planks of wood," misunderstood by the tracer as simply shading lines, which he doesn't feel a need to follow exactly.
- Note that where the tracer doesn't feel a need to exactly follow the original, as in the bushes and the shading lines on the building mentioned above, the lines are fast and assured. Where the tracer feels more of a need to follow the original contours closely, such as in Sluggo's outline, the lines are shakier and slower, less sure. These are elementary aspects of tracings, and once you get used to spotting them, you'll notice traced drawings everywhere, like this Warhol.
- Tracing error: Bushmiller uses two separate lines to delineate the collar of Sluggo's shirt and his left hand. The tracer misinterprets this as a single, continuous line.
- Tracing error: the crease in the pants caused by the bend in Sluggo's knee in the original is misinterpreted as... Sluggo's bulging crotch? Ew.
- After decades of drawing Sluggo, "Bushmiller" suddenly forgets how he has always drawn his ear.
- The tracer says to himself, "Stupid Bushmiller should have put shading there!"
- On the left is Bushmiller's visual shorthand for "edge of the sidewalk and grass." On the right is "Bushmiller" suddenly forgetting how he has been doing this for decades.
- This is probably the most damning detail: "Bushmiller" suddenly starts constructing the letter "B" in a totally different way than he has been doing for decades.
- And here is "Bushmiller" suddenly forgetting how to draw the same shoes he's been drawing over and over on a daily basis for years and years and years.
I could probably come up with at least five more points, but I think I've already belabored the obvious here.
And don't even get me started on the signature.
One last thing: Could Gallery on Baum's drawing be a rough sketch for the final strip? No: Bushmiller's rough sketches didn't look anything like this, and he didn't make them on index cards with felt-tip markers.
UPDATE: Bushmiller authority Mark Newgarden (and co-author with Paul Karasik
of the upcoming HOW TO READ NANCY) has this to add about the drawing:
As far as we can tell EB never owned a light box.
His real drawings for fans were nothing like this. They are usually quite
tight and often water colored-and never drawn in a ruled panel (let alone
one taken from a daily strip!)
Click on the "Gallery on Baum" topic tag below for more in this series.