Friday, February 24, 2012

Little Nemo and his creator

If you have even a smidgen of interest in comics or early animation, grab hold of Winsor McCay: His Life and Art. Sure to be a collectible (as are the out-of-print volumes of McCay's flagship creation, Little Nemo in Slumberland), this fascinating and lavishly illustrated biography also explores the early-20th-century worlds of vaudeville, dime museums, and newspapers. McCay was a staggeringly gifted artist who drew at the speed of light and whose collaborations with top newspaper technicians in color processes produced some of the most astonishingly beautiful cartoons ever created. Relentlessly creative and innovative, McCay spun fantastically imaginative plot lines and executed them with brilliantly innovative, outside-of-the-box layouts. Imagine the strips below the size of a newspaper page and you can get a sense of their impact.
This detail of the last panel of the strip below shows the artistry with which McCay created the rain on newsprint. See also the underwater scene with the mermaids. Fabulous!
As they used to say in the '60s, "what a trip!"
McCay's son, who had a gorgeous thatch of hair, was the model for Nemo. These final panels are typical, as Nemo is somewhat rudely awakened from one of his phantasmagorical dreams.

Animation comes into being in this segment from McCay's groundbreaking experiments of 1911.


  1. Interesting stuff! He was apparently a big influence on some guy named Sendak (haha) and Neil Gaiman for the "Sandman" fans out there. You're correct, by the way, VERY trippy...

  2. WOW!!! Blow these prints up, frame and cover the walls with them and one could have a bit of rad absurd eye candy. Love it.

  3. These are great! The color & design are just fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Penny- what a great idea!! Slumberland wallpaper! Although the jury is out whether it would be conducive to sleep.