May 22, 2017
Nancy: Lesbian Panic in a 1950s Comic Book
Nancy has remained in print ever since. In contemporary strips, written by Guy Gilchrist, Fritzie is in her 50s and works as a music reviewer.
When John Stanley retired from the Little Lulu comic book,, he went to work on Nancy, writing all of the stories in issues #162 through #173, and then the renamed Nancy and Sluggo through #185 (1961).
Stanley specialized in the terrors and anxieties of childhood, and in Nancy's world he goes unbrindled. The result is disturbing, sometimes painful to read.
Fritzie is at best neglectful, and sometimes downright abusive.
Nancy is jealous, spiteful, vindictive, petty, and vain.
Sluggo lives alone in an abandoned house and often goes hungry, unless Nancy agrees to feed him.
They are not friends, like Lulu and Tubby; they are dating, adding dark humor to their interactions as Stanley hints about just how physical they have become.
Sluggo has an adult nemesis who literally intends to kill him.
And the weird physical manipulations that, in Little Lulu, happened in stories, here happen in real interactions with the yoyos, who will transform you permanently unless you trick them into letting you go.
Perhaps the most disturbing element of the yoyos are the adults who fall into their trap, and spend their entire lives transformed, until, in old age, Nancy rescues them.
To top it off, there's Oona Goosepimple, who looks like Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family comics, an orphan (that's three of the regular cast). She lives in a spooky old house with her usually absent grandmother. Other relatives usually appear, as threats.
Nancy dislikes the "creepy" Oona, and rejects all of her overtures of friendship -- but finds herself drawn unwillingly to the house anyway.
She is invited to a party, but arrives to discover that she is the only guest.
Oona pushes Nancy to eat cookies, play games, and spend the night.
Nancy tries to refuse, but can't help herself.
A weird compulsion to spend the night with a creepy girl, or eat the forbidden fruit.
Just another of the horrors of Nancy's world.
See also: Little Lulu