Winsor McCay was a newspaper cartoonist best known for “Little Nemo In Slumberland,” in which a little boy named Nemo has wondrous and thrilling dreams. Each strip ends the same way – Nemo is awakened and pulled back into reality.
The weekly comic strip ran from 1905-1911 in the New York Herald, from 1911-1914 in the New York American under the title “In The Land Of Wonderful Dreams" and then again from 1924-1926 in the New York Herald Tribune under its original name.
McCay was no stranger to the land of Nod; his other well-known strip was "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend,” which also featured fantastical dreams that the characters blamed on their fondness for Welsh Rarebit – melted cheese mixed with a bit of beer and mustard, served on toast.
Locust Moon Press is publishing the book; co-owner Josh O'Neill told the comic blog The Outhousers that McCay was his favorite cartoonist of all time.
…and at our comic shop in Philly he’s a huge figure. We talk about his work all the time, and the two Sunday Press editions of his Little Nemo strips are well-worn and well-loved to say the least. He’s this giant, outsized inspiration for cartoonists and illustrators and animators, but the average person – even the average comic book fan – doesn’t even know who he is.
We wanted to shine a light back at him, refracted through the visions of the incredibly diverse, brilliant artists in the book. And we knew that the awe-inspiring intimidation factor of McCay would bring out the best in the people we were lucky enough to work with.
Contributing artists include those featured above: (in order of appearance) James Harvey, David Petersen and Toby Cypress.
The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918), by animation pioneer Winsor McCay (Little Nemo, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend).
In 1915, during the First World War, a German U-boat torpedoed the Cunard ocean liner RMS Lusitania, killing some 1,200 people. The attack caused outrage worldwide and was one of the factors that pushed the US into entering the war.
Very smooth, fluid animation–after nearly 100 years, it’s still a pretty impressive piece of work.
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was first released on July 15, 1989, in Japan.
This film includes several references to Winsor McCay’s other work. For instance, Gertie the Dinosaur is seen holding up a bandstand cover, and Nemo’s mother asks him if he has been “sneaking pies again,” in reference to “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend.” (x)