Hallowe’en Countdown V, Day 30

« Every time I go to Oona Goosepimple’s spooky old house something SCARY happens to me! » — Nancy

Back in the blog’s early days, my partner ds, wrapping up her tribute to John Stanley, stated:

« And I haven’t even mentioned Stanley’s Nancy, nor her friend (and my favourite character) Oona Goosepimple. Next time… »

Well, that time has come. Despite my deep and enduring love of John Stanley, I never could warm up to what’s generally considered the cornerstone of his œuvre, Little Lulu. It’s hardly Stanley’s fault: I just happen to dislike Lulu creator Marjorie ‘Marge’ Henderson Buell‘s visual conception of her characters.

On the other hand, I’ve always been in thrall to Ernie Bushmiller‘s world. Purists will, and surely have, objected to the bold liberties that John Stanley took with Nancy and Sluggo, but I don’t care a whit. This collision between the singular visions of a pair of cartooning geniuses is every bit as delightful as I might have hoped.

Night Howls first appeared in Nancy and Sluggo no. 174 (Jan.-Feb. 1960, Dell). It was reprinted in Nancy, Volume 4: The John Stanley Library (2013, Drawn & Quarterly). Script and layout by John Stanley, finished art by Dan Gormley.

One more short one?

The Ghost Story first appeared in Four Color no. 1034 – Nancy and Sluggo Summer Camp (Sept.-Nov. 1959, Dell). It was reprinted in Nancy, Volume 2: The John Stanley Library (2009, Drawn & Quarterly). Script and layout by John Stanley, finished art by Dan Gormley.
Fancy, uh? This is Nancy, Volume 2: The John Stanley Library (2009, Drawn & Quarterly); meticulous series design (and covers) by Gregory ‘Seth’ Gallant. Now if only D&Q would finish building the library, or at the very least give us Kookie and Dunc & Loo!
In 1975, when fandom movers and shakers Robert Overstreet and Donald Phelps visited Stanley in his home, « … he dug into a closet, and said, ‘I have something that might interest you.‘ He pulled out the roughs for the first Oona Goosepimple story for Nancy. Stanley told Phelps he could keep it. (Actually, it was the script for an unpublished story). » [ from the late Bill Schelly‘s illuminating Stanley bio, Giving Life to Little Lulu (2017, Fantagraphics). ]


“Just a feminine hygiene version of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”: Russo & Wong’s ‘Rancid Plotte’ (1993)

« We’re not very accepting of people who act strangely. » — Chester Brown

Scott Russo’s Jizz, published by Fantagraphics in 1991-93 (10 issues in all), was a fearless, often downright incendiary and frequently fascinating repository of vitriol from the heart and soul of Mr. Russo. As his own drawing style was pretty rudimentary (but clean and distinctive), the auteur drew upon collage, détournement and plain old text pieces for variety. Russo may have been embittered and misanthropic, but the entertainment he proffered was quite deliberate; a fine, dexterous trick to pull off.

Here, from Scott Russo’s Jizz no. 10 (March 1993, Fantagraphics), is his merciless but spot-on takedown of publisher Drawn & Quarterly‘s stable of neurotics: Julie Doucet, Joe Matt, Chester Brown and Seth, rendered in a breathtakingly accurate facsimile blend of their respective styles and schticks. Script by Russo, art by his trusted confederate ‘Master’ Jeff Wong. Not particularly ‘safe for work‘, I should say.



From Scott Russo’s Jizz no. 7 (Sept. 1991, Fantagraphics). I’ll always be grateful to Mr. Russo for this scathing exposé of the Olive Oil industry. My girlfriend at the time was taking a chemistry class at McGill University, during which they subjected various brands of olive oil to chemical analysis and essentially confirmed Russo’s claims. Now I merely snicker and shrug when I see someone shell out big bucks for the stuff… sometimes there’s no sense in trying to convince anyone.