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I'm pleased and a little relieved that Fantagraphics is now accepting pre-orders for their second volume of Nancy reprints. This second volume of the series contains the complete dailies (no Sundays) for the years 1946-1948. The publisher hasn't posted a preview yet, so that's where I come in, as I own two original drawings for the strips which will appear in this one. One of them I posted already here, and the other is above.
This installment should be really good, and should show Bushmiller's continuing evolution away from his earlier "gag theme of the week" strategy to the "disconnected joke of the day" approach we've come to associate with his work. Also, his compositional skills tightened up considerably during those years. The strip above, for instance, has a nice see-saw-like rhythm accomplished through the placement of Sluggo in the panels, but still retains his older "jigsaw" strategy of filling in every single space with what would later seem like extraneous details. One somewhat amusing "lazy" detail is the way, in the second panel, the plaid pattern on the man's coat continues uninterrupted over the arm.
Here's the cover design for the upcoming book, which seems to indicate that Fantagraphics has committed to making this the ugliest, most bafflingly designed series of comic strip reprints ever: