Comics on comics

Today’s Bizarro, punning and meta:

Carbon footprint, cartoon footprint. Plus the cartoon references,

Two references, to Mr. Natural and Nancy.

From Wikipedia:

Mr. Natural (Fred Natural) is a comic book character created and drawn by 1960s counterculture and underground comix artist Robert Crumb. The character first appeared in the premiere issue of Yarrowstalks (the May 5, 1967 issue).

[Added 11/13: Bob Richmond points out that the character above is one of Crumb’s, but not Mr. Natural (who can be viewed in the posting linked to just below). Instead, it’s the Keep on Truckin’ Man. Both characters step out with big feet in front.]

Mr. Natural and Nancy appeared together in a posting of mine (from January 11th):

For some time I’ve been meaning to post on the underground comics of the ’70s (and later), but the project grew unwieldy, and I never got around even to the major figure of the period, R. Crumb, the Crumb of the Keep on Truckin’ comics and the characters Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural [illustration in the posting]

… Crumb’s own site is here. The Wikipedia entry labels him as an artist and illustrator, not a cartoonist (there’s that art vs. the comics thing again):

Robert Dennis Crumb (born August 30, 1943) — known as Robert Crumb and R. Crumb — is an American artist, illustrator, and musician recognized for the distinctive style of his drawings and his critical, satirical, subversive [I would say savage] view of the American mainstream.

Then there’s Bushmiller:

Ernest Paul Bushmiller, Jr. (23 August 1905 – 15 August 1982) was an American cartoonist, best known for creating the long-running daily comic strip Nancy. (link)

… For years I took the adventures of Nancy and Sluggo to be symptomatic of what had gone wrong with the daily comics after their golden days: bland, flat, formulaic, and not at all funny. (Many people pick Garfield as the exemplar of the great descent into inanity.) But canny observers, including Bill Griffith [of Zippy the Pinhead], have found much to admire in Nancy.

The posting goes on to give an appreciation of Nancy from comics theorist Scott McCloud (who’s come up on this blog several times).

One Response to “Comics on comics”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    That’s not Mr. Natural, that’s the Keep on Truckin’ Man, who as far as I remember doesn’t have a name. Mr. Natural is a rotund little fellow who looks like he used to be Gurdjieff.

    Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy was indeed the ultimate in flat, bland, and formulaic, but it was one of my favorite comics when I was a kid in the late 1940s.

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