Not to be confused with “Sluggo Saturday” — warning: this is terrible.
Totally not Sluggo’s correct voice.
Not to be confused with “Sluggo Saturday” — warning: this is terrible.
So pal Andres points out this eBay auction to me on the Twitters, and I think “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I need to save money,” and “I really shouldn’t try to bid on that, I’ve got enough junk in the house for the creditors to haul out after I’m dead,” and “what’s my eBay password again, I need to go bid on that.”
As it turned out, the auction got too rich for my blood…well, actually, I put in one bid and I was busy working when the auction ended and thus couldn’t enter that last second bidding war which is always so much fun on the eBay. Ah, well, at least I have these images liberated from said eBay auction to remind me of that ship which passed me in the night:
Yes, that’s right, only the Nancy and Sluggo Game dares to bring you an “infinity cover” on its lid. (Not to mention the omnipresent “three rocks.”) This game is produced by Milton Bradley, and has a 1944 copyright notice. The cover appears to be genuine Ernie Bushmiller (there’s his signature, though that doesn’t always mean anything), while the images on the board inside:
…appear to be just slightly off-model, as if traced from original panels, or simply done from scratch by artists at the game company. It’s hard to say without having the actual board right in front of me. As for the game proper, it’s all pretty basic, rolling the die and moving the pieces around the board, gaining advantages or penalties based on what’s in the square you land on, in case you were wondering what a “board game” was like. It’s just that there’s nothing specifically Nancy or Sluggo-ish about the game itself, beyond the imagery. It’s not like you’re moving a Sluggo piece around the board, and lose a turn every time you land on a square containing a hammock or a harmonica…though that‘s within spitting distance of a Nancy and Sluggo role playing game, and I’m not sure the world is quite that ready for such a wonderful thing to exist. (If you’re wondering…yes, the Nancy and Sluggo role playing game would have Gelatinous Cubes in it.)
Speaking of the game pieces, here’s a shot of them from that auction, along with what I’m presuming to be the original die:
Man, they’re just round wood thingies. They don’t even have pictures of the Nancy cast or anything: “HA HA you have to be Pee Wee!” “Dash it all!” Okay, I know it was wartime, and Nancy and Sluggo face decals had to be conserved for the war effort, but still, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
A brief Googling didn’t bring me much more information about this, though to be honest I’m not sure what more there is to know. Board Game Geek didn’t have a listing for it, though it did have a listing for the unofficial Scott McCloud creation 5 Card Nancy. And here’s a site with an archived description of the board game from an older eBay auction.
So sadly, I guess my ownership of this game simply wasn’t meant to be. …At least, not yet.
Just a short post to share with you a gift, sent to me by reader Eric – the Listen, Laugh & Learn record from 1982:
“It’s learning, the way you always hoped it would be, filled with songs and laughter.”
“It’s Nancy and Sluggo in their very first record album. They’re here to help your child explore new horizons in learning … with a few giggles along the way. Each story and song is designed to open up young minds to their endless possibilities as they Listen, Laugh & Learn with Nancy and Sluggo.”
Listen, Laugh & Learn • Video Brain • Figure It Out • Anything You Want • Perspecive • Listen, Laugh & Learn (reprise) • When the Levee Breaks”
Okay, maybe not that last one.
I have had a busy weekend, so I haven’t yet had time to give this “vinyl record album” a “spin” on my “record playing turntable” (kids, ask your grandparents what these things mean), so I have no idea if Sluggo was given the deep and rich baritone that he obviously should have. I’ll report when I can.
Also, I shudder to think at what lessons Sluggo has to impart, unleashing his terrible knowledge upon impressionable minds.
By the way, I had a person in the comments lament the fact that his retailer doesn’t carry this sort of book. Well, I checked on Diamond’s website Thursday evening, and Classic Popeye #1 is still available for reorder, so march on in to your shop, tell ‘em “I want one copy of Classic Popeye #1, Diamond order number JUN120397, please” and all it takes is a phone call, email, or visit to the reorders section on the Diamond retailer site, and they should be able to get it for you. While supplies last, of course.
And if your retailer can’t or won’t get it for you, I will. …Again, while supplies last, so act fast!
Having read and reread and rereread the previous Nancy strip collections and nearly committing all their contents to memory, having some new (relatively speaking) material to enjoy really is a treat. Plus, getting to see some of the more explicitly propagandistic wartime material (Sluggo throwing a firecracker at a globe, which blows off the country of Japan, for example), as well as some of the more politically-incorrect gags (a couple of punchlines which play off the stereotypically-slanted eyes of Nancy’s Chinese friend), is certainly interesting from a historical perspective.
I also like the red lettering for the years and page numbers on each page…really gives the book a unique look. And there’s plenty of Sluggo in this volume. Mike, like Nancy, Is Happy.
The appeal of the series is of course the “complete” aspect, where we get to see strips that eluded the previous paperback reprintings and are finally seeing the light of day for the first time since originally popping up in the funny pages. I’ve noted before that my prime Peanuts reading was when I was but a young Mikester in the late ’70s/early ’80s, where I read just about every Peanuts book I could get my hands on, thus making the reprint-debut of strips in the Complete Peanuts volumes presenting years prior to about that time of particular interest to me. I missed most of the ’80s Peanuts strips, except possibly for having read them once in the newspaper way back when, which makes these more recent Complete volumes almost all new to me.
A number of years ago, just prior to Peanuts ending, I got back into collecting the paperback reprints of the later strips, which, at that point, seemed to be collecting full dailies for each year, or at least close to it. Thus, once we move into the ’90s volumes for the Complete Peanuts, I’ll likely have read most of those strips…but I’ll keep getting these new collections anyway, because I’m a sad old fanboy who has to have the full set, that’s why.
In other cool drawin’ news, Ming Doyle, artist of the swell webcomic The Loneliest Astronauts (written by close personal friend Kevin Church), drew this fantastic Nancy and Sluggo sketch that will forever change your perception of the characters. Forever, I say.
I bought the five Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy books published by Kitchen Sink Press in the late ’80s/very early ’90s, spurred on by snippets of the books I’d seen in magazines, the admiration of the strip by one of my favorite cartoonists, (Bill “Zippy the Pinhead” Griffith), and my old friend Rob extolling the virtues of the comic.
I’d never thought much about the strip prior to that. I was aware of it, of course, but I was hardly an avid follower. But I thought “well, I’ve been amused by what I’ve seen so far, my friend Rob really likes it, and Bill Griffith likes it…I’ll give it a shot.” I started with Nancy Eats Food, the first of the series. And in short order, I ended up buying the rest.
It’s difficult to explain just why I enjoy Bushmiller’s Nancy so much. I’ve read many essays by a variety of folks trying to explain (or perhaps justify) their own love for the strip, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready to add my own to the mix. I don’t know that I really even can pin down what exactly it is that endears the strip to me. The juxtaposition of apparent normalcy with bizarre circumstances? The dedication to the more-than-occasional shameless joke? The awesomeness of Sluggo? It’s all these and more besides, I’d say.
My enjoyment of the strip even extends to the comics, as you may have noticed, though the Bushmiller-ness of the strips is softened into the new “kid’s adventure” stories created specifically for those publishers, if they weren’t simply reprinting the original strips in color. But even in this lesser form, the occasional moment of weirdness still shines through. (And legendary cartoonist John Stanley contributed his skills to the cause, so you can’t go wrong there.)
I know I’m not the only fan: looking at the Amazon listing linked above for Nancy Eats Food, as well as for the following books – Bums, Beatniks and Hippies/Artists & Con Artists, Nancy’s Pets, How Sluggo Survives!, and Dreams and Schemes, I see some adventurous pricing at work, in the $30 to $60 (or even $100+) range. Okay, what they’re selling these for isn’t necessarily what people are buying them for, but it’s at least one indicator of demand. (And yes, all those Amazon links throw a little somethin’-somethin’ back in my direction should you decide to take the Sluggo Plunge. Buy the really expensive ones, if you do.)
I’m…well, I was going to say I’m surprised there hasn’t been a more extensive reprinting of these strips in recent years. Just a handful of books, like the Kitchen Sink volumes and this intriguing book that I don’t yet have. But I’m not terribly surprised if only because Nancy may be just a little too “niche” to support an extensive “Complete Nancy” publishing program like Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts.
But boy, it’d be nice.