Little Nemo in Slumberland

Nemo’s bed

Windsor McCay was the creator of the Little Nemo in Slumberland newspaper comics, which appeared in the New York Herald from 1905 to 1911, and in the Hearst chain of papers from 1911 to 1914. The strip featured Nemo’s adventures in his fantastic dreamland, and every strip ended with Nemo waking up. The strips are wondrously beautiful in their use of line and perspective, and their imaginative situations are fascinating. The most well-known is probably this strip, in which Nemo’s bed grows legs and walks. But there are dozens that are just as interesting, and here’s the good news–all of the strips have been in the public domain since January 2005.

McCay’s Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend is also a very good comic, though not as ambitious artistically. McCay was a pioneer of film animation, and his short film based on the Rarebit Fiend is very entertaining.

McCay was also a pioneer of cross-marketing. A lot of Little Nemo products were marketed at the time that the strip was being published. But the strip itself wasn’t overwhelmingly successful at the time of its publication, which is a little surprising. It may have to do with the fact that people don’t generally feel like poring over their morning paper and examining its every charming detail, which is the kind of viewing of Little Nemo that is most rewarding. For a nice close look at the comic below, click to the file and zoom in.


Nemo on stilts


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