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Waiting for Sluggo
June 30, 2013 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Why did Samuel Beckett write to Ernie Bushmiller? Did he feel a sense of kinship with the cartoonist whose strip he read every day? Did he see in Bushmiller a man who quietly pursued his repetitive vocation day after day, no matter what? Did the Bushmiller characters strike a chord in the creator of Vladimir and Estragon? Did Beckett first formulate some of the innovations of his later plays while pondering situations for Nancy and Sluggo? We can never know if the inadvertent surrealistic antics of Bushmiller’s tykes influenced the translator of Eluard and Breton, or what first prompted the author of The Unnamable and Krapp’s Last Tape to begin sending strip ideas to a cartoonist in Connecticut. Was it Beckett’s frustration with his literary career, or the seemingly endless difficulties in mounting Godot that led him to seek another outlet, in yet another literary form, for his ideas and emotions? Whatever the reasons, we are lucky that much of the Beckett-Bushmiller correspondence has been preserved.

Nancy previously.
Beckett previously.

Ernie Bushmiller, The Lawrence Welk of Cartoonists

Samuel Beckett's Nobel Prize Citation

The LA Times on the Beckett-Bushmiller Letters.
posted by chavenet (19 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
What about Henry?
posted by clavdivs at 2:22 PM on June 30, 2013


Ask the aardvark.
posted by fairmettle at 2:24 PM on June 30, 2013


No Ernie Bushmiller/Nancy thread can be complete without mentioning the absurd greatness of The Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:30 PM on June 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


Looking at some of the images that Bushmiller drew in response to Beckett, all I can think is "oh man if I had a Five-Card Nancy set these would totally be going into it".
posted by egypturnash at 2:45 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. This is fascinating- thanks for posting.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:55 PM on June 30, 2013


Worth norting: the "Bushmiller" drawings in that piece are done by the wonderful R. Sikoryak, who has mined similar territory before.
posted by neroli at 3:21 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted to believe the story....
posted by Agave at 3:22 PM on June 30, 2013


What about Henry?
posted by clavdivs


Man, that kid used to freak me out when I was young. Just seems like such a sad little bastard.
posted by timsteil at 3:27 PM on June 30, 2013


Parody, people. NIcely done, but you can see the gags coming a mile away.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:11 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hysterical!
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 4:13 PM on June 30, 2013


I should have read all of TFA.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:27 PM on June 30, 2013


Wow, this is so entertaining ... I'd never seen it before. I love the Nag & Nell trashcan bit from Endgame.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2013


Alain Resnais not only cited Chester Gould, the creator of Dick Tracy, as an influence in interviews, but also listed him as a collaborator in the credits for one of his movies (cite).
posted by jonp72 at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2013


And of course, Federico Fellini was a Stan Lee fan.
posted by jonp72 at 5:37 PM on June 30, 2013


Brilliantly done. (At first I believed it and thought that SB was having Ernie Bushmiller on. )
posted by AnnElk at 6:01 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Fritzi only, and only her mouth visible"? From the look of his sketch, I think Bushmiller should get a creative director credit for this.
posted by iNeas at 6:11 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, if I can believe in this hard enough, then I'll get the Shulz-Calvino letters that need to exist in the same universe that I exist in.
posted by iNeas at 6:22 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: Nothing is funnier than unhappiness. The rest is Gasoline Alley.
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:00 AM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, if I can believe in this hard enough, then I'll get the Shulz-Calvino letters that need to exist in the same universe that I exist in.

And if you leave there and drive 30 miles to the northeast you come upon Arachia, the cartoon city. It is populated entirely by children. Girls with dark hair sit in booths, dispensing advice for a modest fee. In the distance can be seen baseball diamonds, musical instruments, filthy blankets, beagles sleeping on kennels and boys running to catch ever-falling baseballs.

Some who visit Lucis claim that in the fine lines of its depiction can be discerned, for those who attend with sufficient care, a blueprint of misery. Others say that it is rather a diagrammatic expression of joy. One thing is certain. The boy is still running.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:28 PM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


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