Cartoonist Nancy Burton has donated 65 pieces of original underground comix art to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Known by her pennames Hurricane Nancy, Nancy Kalish and Panzika, Nancy Burton is considered one of the first published women cartoonists of the underground comix era. Her donation includes the original art from Gentle's Tripout, published in the East Village Other beginning in 1966, as well as Busy Boxes, which was published in Gothic Blimpworks (1969), and other unpublished early work. In 1970, Burton's work was included in the seminal women's liberation underground comic, It Ain't Me Babe, edited by Trina Robbins. By 1971, Burton stopped creating comics but later picked the practice back up in 2009. The collection also reflects her more recent works.
Originally from the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York, Burton grew up in a liberal, activist family, marching with her father on union picket lines, and later on Washington in protest of the Vietnam War. She spent time traveling across Europe in the early 1960s, where she encountered the work of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and then while living in New York, she found inspiration in the abstract art of Clifford Still as well as the art nouveau movement. A formative visit to San Francisco for the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival led to her living in California through the Summer of Love. On the West Coast, Burton's work became more primitive and psychedelic, influenced by the iconic concert posters of the era and Native American art.
About her decision to donate her collection to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Burton said, "It was clear from the outset we are a perfect match. Knowing that serious students, and some just for fun, will have access to my work is satisfying to say the least. I made the decision immediately to donate the work and am honored to do so."
Writer Alex Dueben is editing a monograph about Burton set to be published by Fantagraphics, which collects work from throughout her career and includes an expansive interview detailing her life and artistic output. Dueben connected Burton and Associate Curator Caitlin McGurk after Burton expressed a desire for the material to be preserved. McGurk says, "I was over the moon to be connected with one of the pioneers of women's underground comix – it is such an honor to us to be chosen as the home for preserving this important work. Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies courses as well as anyone interested in exploring the feminist history of comics will find this collection to be a treasure. It is imperative that we continue to document and preserve the history of women working in this and all eras of cartooning, and this collection is an invaluable part of those efforts."