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Little Nemo's Big New Dreams

Review

Little Nemo's Big New Dreams

There are some artists toward whom others in their field look as a guiding light, even when those artists are barely known outside the relatively small circle of their contemporaries. “Phil Woods is a jazz musician’s musician,” my jazz cat father has often said about that saxophonist. James Salter, recently lost to us, had a reputation as a writer’s writer. All fields have them --- creators whose works are praised to the highest heavens by their inspired and envious fellows.

Each of these lovely dreamscapes is self-contained in a slim but gorgeously packaged volume...that’s worth a look from lifelong comics fans, art appreciators and curious children alike.

Winsor McKay, like Walt Kelly and other creators of early 20th Century American newspaper comics, is often cited as a cartoonist’s cartoonist --- a point hard to argue when comics power couple Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman are two of your greatest champions. The duo recently introduced TOON Books’ lavish repackaging of LITTLE NEMO’S BIG NEW DREAMS, a collection of broadsheet tributes to McKay’s masterpiece, a strip called Little Nemo in Slumberland that ran on and off in the old New York Herald and New York American (under an altered title) between 1905 and 1926.

The collection boasts loving recreations by star cartoonists from Craig Thompson to Mark Buckingham to Yuku Shimizu, which riff on McKay’s trademark art nouveau philosophy and page layout while maintaining the personal style of each illustrator. Each selection is a reformatted broadsheet courtesy of a project conceived and edited by West Philadelphia’s Locust Moon Comics, in which more than 100 contemporary cartoonists paid tribute to the master.

Each of these lovely dreamscapes is self-contained in a slim but gorgeously packaged volume, turning what otherwise would have likely remained nothing but a collector’s fancy into a reintroduction to the works of a near-forgotten cartoonist that’s worth a look from lifelong comics fans, art appreciators and curious children alike. See you in Slumberland.

Reviewed by John Maher on September 1, 2015

Little Nemo's Big New Dreams
by Josh O'Neill, Andrew Carl, and Chris Stevens

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2015
  • Genres: Graphic Novel
  • : 72 pages
  • Publisher: Toon Books
  • ISBN-10: 193517987X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935179870