America's Sweetheart, Reimagined
By Noah Michelson
>The Nancy Book (Siglio Press, $39.50), now available in stores, collects nearly 50 works by gay artist Joe Brainard, each starring two-dimensional American sweetheart Nancy sprung from her funny-page confines and cast in a series of surprising, often scandalous vignettes.
In Brainard's hands Nancy becomes an "acid freak," an androgyne lifting his skirt to reveal a petite line-drawn penis, and "an underground comic character" caught in an autoerotic frenzy with a cartoon vibrator humming in her mouth.
The startling discrepancy between what we expect -- or don't -- from the comic icon and how she is represented by Brainard evokes a delightful mix of nostalgia, discomfort, and deviant pleasure.
See more of Brainard's work at Popnography.