icon_uk: (Default)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I wanted to post something for today and am embarrassed it took me so long to realise the perfect choice, one of the most genuinely groundbreaking, and visually arresting graphic format stories of all time

I mean, of course

Little Nemo in Slumberland.

Be warned LARGE images (gathered from hither and yon on the interwebs)  under the cut....

Debuting in 1905 in the New York Herald, and the brainchild of the the legendary Winsor McCay, Little Nemo was like nothing before it, and little afterwards. Not even really a children's story, it details the strange, outlandish and surreal dreams (eg normal) of a little boy named Nemo, who visits the realms of Slumberland (or other strange, exotic locales) whenever he falls asleep, summoned to play with The Princess of Slumberland by her father, King Morpheus, and aided and hindered by a strange cast, including Flip (Son of the Sun, nephew of the Dawn) first Nemo's rival, then ally, then friend, and the Imp (I should note in advance that the Imp is a racial stereotype of a sort long since gone (I hope). Defenders of the strip note that he's a lot LESS offensive than most, since his appearance is derogatory, but he's not picked on, or looked down on, and Nemo and Flip are just as likely to make fools of themselves as Impie, but I leave others to make their own personal judgements on that one.)

Always a page long, McCay experimented with the confines of his medium in ways that would set the standard for decades to follow.

Here are a few samples of the rich, lucious lines and colours that McCay used

And here is an example of the linework. Even without the colours it's a remarkable piece of work.

Nemo became Public domain in the USA in 2005, and so was too late to appear in Gaiman's Sandman, though I'm sure that a story featuring him in that run would have be awesome beyond words. (A collection of text short stories set in The Dreaming DOES feature a young man who has a very similar series of adventures, meeting 7 most unusual beings in the process, it's rather good...)

There was a, not bad, but nothing special, animated movie made of Little Nemo a good few years ago now, but there was also, as [personal profile] his_spiffynesss  pointed out below, a test pitch by the legendary Studio Ghibli to put together a animated feature, which alas never got further than this beautiful test.


And there's the extremely memorable "Walking Bed" image which has even seen an homage in... well, it's me doing the posting,what do YOU think....

Oh, and I might also point you at this fascinating collection of covers which are from an even earlier era, but which aren't exactly comic books, but are great graphic covers

Date: 2010-12-17 07:59 pm (UTC)
his_spiffynesss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] his_spiffynesss
I understand some of Winsor McCay's original Nemo strips are in the Louvre's collection. Apparently the only comic art in their collection but definitely deserving the honor.

Date: 2010-12-17 08:07 pm (UTC)
sethgray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sethgray
Hey, wasn't there a cartoon/anime-ish movie based of this? I remember a dark haired little boy having to rescue a king from some kind of black sludge or something.

Date: 2010-12-17 08:29 pm (UTC)
his_spiffynesss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] his_spiffynesss
Yeah, it was a bad Disney ripoff from the 80's/ 90's, they went cheap and the results were quite forgettable.

Though Studio Ghibli did do a test film for Little Nemo, that still looks amazing.

Date: 2010-12-17 10:28 pm (UTC)
sethgray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sethgray
I thought so. I remember it scaring the piss out of me as a kid.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:38 pm (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (hopey car)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
A Studio Ghibli Little Nemo film? Of course this cruel, imperfect world could not handle the awesomeness. ;_;

Date: 2010-12-18 08:49 am (UTC)
randyripoff: (Default)
From: [personal profile] randyripoff
I went to a lot of animation festivals in the 90's, and I remember seeing one short--I can't remember the name of it now, and Google is not being my friend--that was done very mucn in a Little Nemo style. This particular short featured a police officer--a bobby, specifically--trying to deal with issues on his beat. At least, that's what my faulty memory tells me.

Date: 2010-12-17 09:06 pm (UTC)
silverzeo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverzeo
Whoa, this a trippy and clever. Are you sur ethis was before Golden Age?

Date: 2010-12-17 10:41 pm (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
Speaking of Superman - did you ever see the homage that Stuart Immonen did to Little Nemo in a Superman annual? It was fantastic. (And a huge testimony to Immonen's talent, that he could pull it off so well.)

Date: 2010-12-17 11:51 pm (UTC)
skalja: Ultimate Spider-Woman posing like a BAMF (spider-man: foes)
From: [personal profile] skalja
He also homaged McCay a lot in the trippier action sequences of Nextwave.

Date: 2010-12-17 11:29 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Cripes, you should try to make sense out of The Yellow Kid or Krazy Kat!

Or study the engineering of Smokey Stover's "Foo-Mobile".

Date: 2010-12-17 09:17 pm (UTC)
v_various: (Default)
From: [personal profile] v_various

Date: 2010-12-18 08:53 am (UTC)
randyripoff: (Butterworm)
From: [personal profile] randyripoff
I own a copy of this. Unfortunately, I've not been able to read it as the type is just too small, at least at the beginning. Still, one of these days...

Date: 2010-12-17 09:48 pm (UTC)
ulf_boehnke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ulf_boehnke
The music video for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Runnin' Down A Dream seems to be a homage to Little Nemo.

Date: 2010-12-17 10:40 pm (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
Thanks for this. You're so right, there's no-one like McCay - his page layouts are so clever, and so fun. It really feels like he's having a ball. And considering how early this is (pretty much the first full-page comic) he invented the form and used every inch of it's potential as he was exploring it. Amazing work.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:41 pm (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (delirium kindly ones)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
Absolutely. I love the energy he brings to the page. The ability that man had to visualize full and alive characters and worlds is simply...it's just...no one else quite matches him! It's incredible how much comics today are still influenced and shaped by his innovations (I mean, he invented his own kind of animation before anybody else did! just for FUN RAHRGH)...and how little people are aware of him. A real pity. Nemooooo :D

Date: 2010-12-17 10:47 pm (UTC)
neev: Be Yourself Until You Bleed (Default)
From: [personal profile] neev
Ah, Little Nemo in Slumberland is the best. Such amazing work.

However, needs moar Gertie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsXV0Lr2xqg

Date: 2010-12-18 01:27 am (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
That was probably the best in-joke in the whole Runaways series.

Date: 2010-12-17 11:59 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
The picture outside the cut was enough to sell me on the quality of illustration, but oh maaa gaaaaahh that horse

That's wonderful.

Date: 2010-12-18 12:11 am (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
It's so good it makes me kind of want to have been a 'horse fan' kind of girlchild, so I could appreciate it to an even greater extent.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:15 am (UTC)
grazzt: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grazzt
"Nemo became Public domain in the USA in 2005, and so was too late to appear in Gaiman's Sandman, though I'm sure that a story featuring him in that run would have be awesome beyond words. (A collection of text short stories set in The Dreaming DOES feature a young man who has a very similar series of adventures, meeting 7 most unusual beings in the process, it's rather good...)"

Also, the dreams Brute and Glob cause in Jeb's head are reminiscent of McKay's stuff, down to the panel numbering.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:43 pm (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (marlys!)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
Maybe you were thinking of them...they came to you in a dream and bid you make this post. :D

Date: 2010-12-18 03:35 am (UTC)
darklorelei: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darklorelei
Gorgeous. I love early 20th century everything. That horse is so beautiful.

I'm pretty sure those turkeys will haunt my nightmares, but it was worth it. ;)

Date: 2010-12-18 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Holy crap, that is GORGEOUS! It's a crime against humanity that they never made that - I would have loved to have seen what they would have done with the larger cast of characters, like Flip and the Princess.
And always good to see new Little Nemo comics. Great post!

Date: 2010-12-18 01:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Well, you never know, it might be. Studio Ghibli is pretty hot stuff these days, and now that the strip itself is in the public domain, I bet they could get it done.
One thing they'd have to remember, though, is to not make the film quite as... BENIGN as their stuff usually is. I mean, Little Nemo's adventures definitely had a sort of childlike magic to them, but a good deal of them actually wound up as nightmares. Look at that giant turkey strip - sure, it's got a funny element to it, but it's a giant turkey trying to catch the kid and eat him - if you actually dreamed about that, it would be a nightmare for sure and certain. Hell, the first year or so of the strip, if I remember correctly, consisted pretty much entirely of Nemo trying to reach Slumberland to meet the princess, but every time his dreams turned into nightmares and woke him up before he could get there. That clip would be a very good start, but they'd have to maintain that balance between 'WHEEEE!' and 'AAAHHH, HELLLLP!' pretty consistently.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
They wouldn't have a PROBLEM with it, no, but Miyazaki seems to focus more and more on the harmless and friendly these days, which would not be an advantage in this case. He used to feature some great scenery-chewing villains in his movies, but those have all dropped by the wayside now, and what a Little Nemo film would really need is a central threat.

Date: 2010-12-18 02:50 pm (UTC)
meatwhichdreams: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meatwhichdreams
I agree, the combination of delight and terror is crucial to Nemo! It's a spot-on way to portray the mental world of childhood as well as dreams. That turkey comic...brrr. One of McKay's other strips, the Rarebit Fiend, leans really heavy on the TERROR side and adult of the dream world, and oh jeez that one will give you the heebie jeebies.

You're so right about that clip! Ghibli under Miyazaki excels in both emotions, but obviously prefers to focus on delight, especially recently...they did rather take the teeth out of Howl's Moving Castle, unfortunately. I thought the ending of the Nemo video was a great smack of strangeness right in the face. Why can't it be realll and coming out this year...;_;

Date: 2010-12-18 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Yeah, I think I would have liked 'Howl's moving Castle' a lot more if I hadn't read the book first. It was good for what it was, and none of his movies are bad, but the book was better.

Date: 2010-12-21 01:06 am (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
I think the dude who does SuperPunch was reading this post: day after this was posted, this was the second article in the newsletter:



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