Rarely in the history of comics has there been a turnaround as abrupt and pronounced as that of “Nancy.” As of just a few months ago, no discerning critic paid the long-running comic strip any mind. Sure, the strips made back in the day by original creator Ernie Bushmiller were held up as revered objects by comics nerds, but he’d died long ago and his successors had never garnered his level of fame. Then came Olivia Jaimes.
Complimenting his profile of Olivia Jaimes from earlier this month
now Abraham Riesman interviews cartoonist Olivia Jaimes.
In a wide ranging interview Olivia gives her take on the comic strip’s characters…
Nancy as a character had drifted from where I envision her, in that the Nancy I know and love is a total jerk and also gluttonous and also has big feelings and voraciously consumes her world. And I was like, I need to do a character-reset week. Just kinda being like, Here’s who Nancy’s gonna be right now.
I’m kinda going in and tweaking Sluggo a little bit. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot…I’m trying to keep him true to the spirit of that character, which is, he’s kinda more passive and more go-with-the-flow than Nancy, who kinda wants to grab life by the shoulders and shake it violently. He’s also somehow become wiser than Nancy, in a lot of ways.
Fritzi I see as just Nancy, but Nancy who apologizes. Fritzi is like a Nancy who knows that she should do this or that and feels bad when she doesn’t. She’s dealing with the responsibilities of adulthood and caring for this child, who has come into her care for some reason.
Among the questions asked and answered in the involved interview are:
When did you start creating your own comics, roughly? Was that after you’d become an internet user, or have you been making comics since you were a wee person?
That’s a big step up, if you’re all of a sudden doing a daily strip. How did you get from not doing “Nancy” to doing “Nancy”?
Do you keep a little notebook and sketchbook around you at all times in case inspiration strikes, or is this more of a you sit down at your work desk and you bang it out?
Why did you decide to lead off your run on the comic with the strip about Nancy eating corn bread?
What was the note you wrote down for the famed “Sluggo is lit” Labor Day strip? Did you just write down “Sluggo is lit?”
Let’s talk about the appearance at Cartoon Crossroads. How did that come together?
Do you have a 30-year plan for “Nancy”? Do you have arcs that you’re thinking about? Do you see yourself doing this for a long time? What does the future look like?
And, of course, so much more.
Read the Olivia Jaimes “Nancy” at GoComics.