“How To Read Nancy” originally appeared as a short essay in Brian Walker’s essential The Best of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy (Henry Holt, 1988). This 7-page essay went on to become a staple in comics studies curricula around the world.
We are gratified that educators (in a variety of disciplines) have already invited the new book-length expansion into their classrooms. If you are using How to Read Nancy, The Elements of Comics in Three Easy Panels in your course we’d love to hear about it.
“A crash course in the semiotics and formal resources of comic art - but it’s also a glimpse into the life of an early to mid-20th century strip cartoonist and how a newspaper strip actually got syndicated and published in myriad contexts. With all of these angles (and more) to explore, it's an inexhaustible trove of a book – and teaches like a dream.”
– Charles Hatfield, Professor of English, California State University, Northridge, California, “Comics and Graphic Novels”
“How To Read Nancy was a big success with my students - they mentioned again and again how useful it was in their first foray into comics studies.”
– Dr. Gwen Athene Tarbox, Professor of English, Western Michigan University, "Peanuts, Doonesbury, Calvin & Hobbes"
“It was perfect for demonstrating how the various elements of a work of art can work together to produce an effect (i.e.: Poetics). I used it to lead into Fun Home, which is of course a book that rewards such an approach.”
– Joe Sutliffe Sanders, University Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, "Poetics, Aesthetics, and Criticism"
“I teach a class on reading and writing about comics for the writing program, so basically a history/criticism course. How to Read Nancy was a very helpful book and it enriched nearly everything the students wrote and read for the rest of the course.”
– Tim Hodler, Instructor, Department of English, School of Visual Arts, “How to Think and Write About Comics”
“I teach a Summer Session course that is, essentially, close-reading comics, and the vast majority of my students are new to the medium. We start with Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, to give them a theoretical vocabulary, traditionally paired with the original 7-page article. With this comprehensively expanded version, my students were able to grasp immediately the comics toolkit, as this essential book enabled them to get past plot summary and into analysis.”
– Karen Green, Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Columbia University, “Comics and Graphic Novels as Literature”
“I use How To Read Nancy in my ‘Intro To Game Design’ class. We talk about the connection between its design lessons and those of our tabletop readings, the craft necessary to get that level of intuitive clarity, the creativity in spinning variations on a common theme, and the importance of "spatial rhyming" to subconsciously cue the reader/player into making connections. It's very useful to me, both for giving them a different but related perspective on their own design practice, but also as a springboard for the sort of "cool stuff" hip young creatives should probably know about, that I try to sneak into my courses whenever I can.”
– Jesse Fuchs, Instructor, NYU Game Center, New York University, “Intro To Game Design”