Playing 5-Card Nancy

June 26, 2008

A scatter 5-Card Nancy deck

For reasons I’ll never understand, one of my teaching jobs occasionally pitted me against vicious packs of screaming teens expecting entertainment. So we played 5-Card Nancy instead.

Years ago, an old friend printed me a deck on company cardstock right before his employer went bankrupt. It turns out the deck’s a great teaching tool. Doing film, the Soviets, the Kuleshov Effect? Here’s Nancy, here’s a burger. Pacing? What happens if you put thirteen panels of Nancy walking in a row? Leibniz? Each panel’s a monad!

A 5-Card Nancy play

Most of the people I’ve played with don’t really know the strip. A few have never seen it before. But they all take to the game– that is, Ernie Bushmiller’s comic strip– like it’s as natural as breathing. Everybody knows when a panel’s right, or wrong, or deliciously wrong.

A 5-Card Nancy Play

Some panels are so right they don’t need anything else. Like this one, which I wish were on a 12×12 canvas hanging in my postindustrial loft:

Nancy Gets Rained On

Or better yet, on billboards all through the countryside, advertising Nancy’s absorbent hair as it drinks in the pathetic fallacy’s rotgut.

***

There is an online version, in color, with its own clutch of panels. And a huge list of examples from someone’s LJ.

And I have trouble arguing with the Greatest Nancy Panel Ever Drawn, or even its video. Copacetic!

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