Item description for Little Nemo: 1905-1914 (Evergreen) by Winsor McCay & Bill Blackbeard...
A reproduction of some of the "Little Nemo" comic strip from the early 20th century. This volume reflects the distinctive art-nouveau style of the original drawings and follows Little Nemo as he journeys nightly into the world of dreams.
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McCay was one of the earliest masters of modern cartooning and animation. Born in Canada in 1867, McCay began his career as an illustrator in Cincinnati before relocating to New York to take up his pen for William Randolph Hearst's New York paper. He is best known for his long-running newspaper strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland.
Reviews - What do customers think about Little Nemo: 1905-1914 (Evergreen)?
Nice collection! May 27, 2008
After having only had the opportunity to read a handful of Little Nemo strips in the Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (another great book), I was happy to find that this was available. Even though the size of the pages are smaller than the original newspaper prints, I think this collection is definitely worth it, particularly since it's a fair price for so much material.
Little Nemo: 1905-1914 (Evergreen) is a lot for the money Feb 16, 2008
I discovered Winsor McCay only 2-3 months ago when reading the Sunday book review supplement in the San Francisco Chronicle. The column was about several different books and authors, however one of them was about the recently (July 2007) published Dream of the Rarebit Fiend (complete), edited, published, masterminded, etc. by the German Ulrich Merkl. I probably wouldn't have noticed the review but for a graphic showing several of McCay's sketches. It turns out that they were from the front cover of Merkle's book. They are, of course, illustrations from McCay's Dream of the Rarebit Fiend series. I was immediately taken with McCay's obvious genius and I immediately looked up McCay at my local library and checked out a copy of Little Nemo in Slumberland, the "Best of..." book edited by Richard Marschall. I was highly impressed by this and looked online and bought this Taschen/Evergreen version and at the same time the inexpensive but very nice reprint of the 1905 book published by Frederick A. Stokes of early Dream of the Rarebit Fiend strips.
The Taschen/Evergreen (the book reviewed here), it turns out, has renderings of Little Nemo in Slumberland that are evidently taken from the same source as those in the Richard Marschall book I just referred to. The colors and even the occasional imperfections are the same, as well as the size. This volume, however, has many more episodes, over 400, probably. The Marschall has a few that are not in this, but they appear to be mainly late (after 1920) episodes, and are generally not up to the quality of the earlier work.
Looking at the reviews of the Peter Maresca 2005 version of Little Nemo in Slumberland ("So Many Splendid Sundays"), I was highly impressed and I discovered that my library had a copy, and of course I checked it out. The full size presentation and superior production was so astonishing that I decided to buy a copy of my own, and it arrived yesterday. I'm still glad I have the Taschen/Evergreen because it has more than three times as many episodes as the Maresca (which has about 110 episodes) and it's nice to have that for continuity (there are often serial runs of episodes). This book is adequate to get the stories and conveys a lot of the majesty and McCay's genius, but having seen the Maresca it's hard to be satisfied with the 2:1 reduction and the inferior colors. They are certainly OK, but the Maresca is breathtaking.
Better than it promised to be! Jan 14, 2008
This book is the quintessential collection of Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo" Sunday strips. Every single page is lovingly reproduced herein, guaranteed to delight the devotee and novice alike. I cannot and will not try to expound on the oft-repeated acknowledgment of McCay's brilliance. The focus here is the completeness of this compilation. It's all here, in one handy volume for all to see and be dazzled by. The only thing that could have been better would be full-sized reproductions (hint, hint). My thanks to the editors and everyone else who brought it into reality!
Important for Reference and Historical purposes Feb 19, 2007
This is an excellent collection to own.
The visuals in Little Nemo are excellent, leaps and bounds above what most filmmakers can do, even with technology and money.
And Little Nemo was probably one of the ten most important comic strips of the early part of the 20th century.
And this is a reasonably affordable edition that contains all (or at least claims to contain all) of the strip.
That being said, I'm not sure that Little Nemo is really something that would hold the interest of a lot of contemporary readers, comic and otherwise. This was kind of a hard thing for me to write because it is an important work in terms of comic history.
If you do plan on buying this, think of it as a reference book or a picture book (when I bought this at the comic store, the employee said it really existed solely for the art and, history aside, I'm not entirely sure I disagree with him). It is incredibly useful in that regard. In terms of an actual plot or characterization, don't really go in with high expectations. This is an attractive volume worth having on a shelf and consulting every few months but it isn't something that you are probably not going to read cover to cover.
Little Nemo has little to speak of in terms of plot or characterization. And, like the Walt and Skeezix collection, racial stereotypes come in occasionally, something that would probably have flown in 1905-1914 but something that is unacceptable now (though I regret that the dislike of such things often comes at the expense of a reasoned view of the historical context).
And I really wish that I could give this a better review due to its historical importance. Overall, it gets three stars but with a qualifier of some kind.
What Dreams May Come! Dec 11, 2006
Little Nemo in Slumberland was introduced to America over a century ago, and these pages still have the power to astonish and touch anyone that reads them. The utter timelessness of this strip, both in artwork and vision, is the kind of testament to genius that very few graphic artists ever receive. Winsor McCay was such a genius and his major work, Little Nemo in Slumberland, is a vastly rich exploration of human dreams.
What is it about Little Nemo that was so special? First and foremost, we have the pure draftsmanship of Winsor McCay. The man could (and with his imagination, often did) draw anything. Where a great deal of comic art from the time was somewhat static and stiff, McCay's figures had fluidity. His characters seemed to be caught in motion, captured in very difficult angles and postures to draw. McCay handled it all with incredible ease. When McCay drew Little Nemo climbing over a wall, it captured perfectly the struggle of a nine-year-old boy, fighting both his own small size and his pajamas. The man had a sense of perspective and composition that was nearly superhuman. He could portray an entire make-believe city, with shimmering towers and distant castles, in a single panel and give it a quality of detail and depth that barely seems possible.
Secondly, of course, was the breadth of McCay's imagination. Sometimes little Nemo dreamt beautiful fantasies, sometimes disturbing nightmares (Nemo's journey toward Slumberland at times resembled Dante's journey through the nine circles). Suffice to say that the details of these dreams are simply mind expanding. One can only imagine the impression they made on a 1905 comic strip reader.
Lastly, and for me most importantly, was the character of Nemo. McCay's portrayal of a six year old boy was completely spot on and timeless. Anyone that has ever had a boy child will instantly see their own son in Nemo, and this superb characterization was done more visually than with text or dialogue (if this doesn't make sense, have a look at the strip to see what I mean. Nemo's very posture suggests all the heartbreaking vulnerability and innocence of a young child). There is a subtle and complete sweetness that underlies the entire work that makes it emotionally memorable and captivating. The staggering beauty of McCay's panels often overshadows the fact that Nemo was nearly always the terrorized victim of his dreams. Yet no matter how hostile and threatening his dream world became, he never responded with anything but trust and hope (amazingly, this quality never seemed sentimental but always rang true - such was the power of McCay's art). It is the kind of work that has a place in both your heart and your mind.
This is a very affordable and worthwhile edition of McCay's historic series. The colors are well reproduced, the paper stock is excellent, and the binding is superb. Lovers of the graphic arts should be very grateful to Evergreen for producing this well-done and reasonably priced book. I highly recommend it. ---Mykal Banta