September 1926, 1996
hit and run
Who's the sexiest woman in comicland?
Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.
There are some who might find the golden-trussed, buxom Blondie the most attractive. But, here at Hit & Run, the feeling is that she's probably way too puritanical, which is one reason the only thing Dagwood ever does in bed is eat sandwiches.
For those who like their women on the zaftig side, there is always BC's Fat Broad or the Wizard of Id's better half.
LuAnn's Tiffany is fine if your taste runs to teenagers, but for our 60 cents, Hit & Run has to go with Aunt Fritzi of the Nancy strip, which appears six days a week in the Daily News.
Aunt Fritzi, you say?
The woman who for years was merely a head peeping around a corner?
Well, it seems that lately, old Aunt Fritzi is showing more and more of herself, which, as drawn by the Gilchrist brothers of Canton, Conn., looks like a cross between Rosie Perez and Demi Moore.
A look, says cartoonist Guy Gilchrist, that is more in line with the character originally drawn by Ernie Bushmiller in the 1930s.
"The strip started out as Fritzi Ritz," says Gilchrist. "She was a very pretty woman. She was originally a flapper and an actress and a dancer who had adventures in Hollywood and New York. Ernie took very great pride in the way he drew her."
So what happened?
Well, first, Bushmiller introduced a little orphan named Nancy.
"Originally," says Gilchrist, "Nancy was a secondary character. But she and her friend Sluggo became so popular. And then the strip was geared more toward the suburban audience as people moved out to the suburbs and Nancy and Sluggo became the prominent characters of the strip, which had long since been renamed 'Nancy.'"
By the late 1960s, Bushmiller was no longer really drawing the strip and Will Johnson, the guy who was, wasn't into Fritzi, says Gilchrist.
In the last year or so since Guy and his brother Brad have been drawing Nancy, Aunt Fritzi has regained her prominence and her dusky sexuality.
She is, as Gilchrist points out, the only lifelike character in the strip.
"One of the things that I brought back was this sense of 'Wow, here is a woman who seems like she is coming in from another strip.' She is the only person in the Nancy universe who is drawn realistically. And that is fun for me."
And for his audience, at least according to recent fan mail.
Especially that culled from the Internet.
"I get so many letters from the Internet from guys complimenting me every time Fritzi appears," says Gilchrist. "Everyone is thrilled that she is back."
Does that mean there will be even more of Fritzi wearing even less than she does now?
"No," says Gilchrist. "The strip is called 'Nancy.'"
And don't get any ideas about Fritzi hooking up with any suitors. Gilchrist says that she will remain chaste.
"Right now, I am dealing with the intense love/hate relationship between Nancy and Sluggo," says Gilchrist. "Of course, now Rollo has re-entered the picture, so it is now a love triangle. Aunt Fritzi has her hands full dealing with that and so do I. I am not planning on having Fritzi date. She will remain mysterious."