From Bill Griffith, the acclaimed creator of Zippy the Pinhead, comes a history of comics as told through the life story of Ernie Bushmiller and his iconic comic strip Nancy.
The Story of Ernie Bushmiller – The Man Who Created Nancy
by Bill Griffith
Abrams ComicArts, August 2023
From Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead and Nobody’s Fool, comes THREE ROCKS, a biography of cartoonist Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the iconic comic strip Nancy. But this graphic novel is about more than a single comic book artist. It is the story of this American art form, tracing its inception in 1895 with the Yellow Kid, the creation of Nancy in 1933, and all the strips that followed, including Peanuts and The Far Side. When Bushmiller died in 1982, Nancy was running in almost 900 daily newspapers—a number few syndicated cartoonists ever achieve.
Nancy is hailed as the “perfect” comic strip by fans and cartoonists alike. The title Three Rocks refers to the trope of three hemispherical rocks often seen in a Bushmiller landscape—just enough to communicate environment to the reader. This distillation is exemplary of the iconic, diagrammatic look of Nancy, a comic strip about the nature of what it means to be a comic strip—the perfect avatar for Griffith to expand upon his philosophy of creating comics.
“As the widest-ranging cartoon chronicler of American absurdity in our time, Bill Griffith has topped himself. This is an instant comic-strip classic!” —Matt Groening
“For many years, I’ve devoured Bill Griffith’s work. It’s always inspiring and engrossing. As it never fails to do, Griffith’s brilliance and consummate drawing chops shine through. Three Rocks is amazing!” —Emil Ferris
“A page-turning, standard-setting, must-have work of biographical art.” —Chris Ware
Bill Griffith is the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip Zippy and the author of Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead. Griffith’s prolific output has been included in such publications as the Village Voice, National Lampoon, and The New Yorker. According to Bartlett, Griffith coined the popular phrase, “Are we having fun yet?” He lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.