Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reader's Diary #1205- Josh O'Neill, Andrew Carl, and Chris Stevens (Editors): Little Nemo's Big New Dreams

I first heard of Little Nemo through the Eisner Awards. Earlier this year  Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, a tribute anthology to Winsor McCay, won the Best Anthology and Best Publication Design awards. Winsor McCay's Complete Little Nemo collection took the Best Archival Collection/Project Award, and Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland was deemed Best Limited Series.

You may note that Little Nemo's Big New Dreams was not mentioned. It is, however, an abridged version of the Dream Another Dream anthology. That one featured 118 tribute comics in an oversized book, while this one selects and presents 31 in a bookshelf-friendly version.

I was underwhelmed by the whole thing. First off, I'd not heard of Winsor McCay, the early 20th century cartoonist, before. That's quite okay, I enjoy reading about the history of comics. From that point of view, I don't feel the experience was a complete loss. I was very impressed with McCay's artwork and I can appreciate why so many cartoonists considered him to be influential. (As it turned out, I had not been completely unaware of McCay's style and immediately recognized it as the same style employed in Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen). That said, from the few originals shown, I didn't think much of McCay's writing abilities. Invariably, Nemo (a young boy, not a clown fish as it turns out) falls asleep, has a whimisical or nightmarish dream and it's revealed he'd eaten something he shouldn't have before bed. Hardee-har-har.

The tributes (the only names I recognized out of the contributors were Art Spiegelman and Craig Thompson), fortunately, were funnier or more interesting than that, but still nothing I'm likely to remember a year from now. Normally I'd suppose that something got lost in the abridgement. In this case I was sort of glad it was short.

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