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Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend (Dover Humor) Paperback – June 1, 1973


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Humor
  • Paperback: 62 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (June 1, 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780486213477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486213477
  • ASIN: 0486213471
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

The surreal inventiveness of Winsor McCay, a cartoonist best known for "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and the animated film "Gertie the Dinosaur," surfaced earlier in a weekly black-and-white strip that ran in U.S. newspapers between 1904 and 1913. In each episode, a new character is caught in an escalating tangle of weirdness: a man practicing for a golf tournament watches as the ground beneath his ball grows into a volcano, which then erupts; a Wall Street secretary swallows her gum, triggering a chain reaction that collapses the world financial markets; a woman standing before a gallows to witness her mother’s hanging finds that her husband can’t contain his glee—until, in the final panel, they awaken. Merkl, an art historian, archeologist, and bibliophile, has lovingly assembled the most complete and scholarly collection of these strips to date, reproducing McCay’s phantasmagoric art at, or near, full size.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Review

The surreal inventiveness of Winsor McCay, a cartoonist best known for "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and the animated film "Gertie the Dinosaur," surfaced earlier in a weekly black-and-white strip that ran in U.S. newspapers between 1904 and 1913. In each episode, a new character is caught in an escalating tangle of weirdness: a man practicing for a golf tournament watches as the ground beneath his ball grows into a volcano, which then erupts; a Wall Street secretary swallows her gum, triggering a chain reaction that collapses the world financial markets; a woman standing before a gallows to witness her mother’s hanging finds that her husband can’t contain his glee—until, in the final panel, they awaken. Merkl, an art historian, archeologist, and bibliophile, has lovingly assembled the most complete and scholarly collection of these strips to date, reproducing McCay’s phantasmagoric art at, or near, full size.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker -- NY Book Review

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
The "Far side," type humor is still funny today.
Deborah M. Allen
I wasn't sure when I ordered (not having seen any of the material previously) but quickly realized it's well worth it.
D. Musicant
This small book provides the best introduction to this sadly obscure strip.
ewomack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Thelonious on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" is McCay's overlooked masterpiece. "Little Nemo" gets all the press (and it deserves the highest possible praise) but The Fiend is often equally compelling. More adult in subject matter than Nemo, it is less visually resplendant, but still quite powerful in its invocation of the fears and hopes underlying our day-to-day thoughts.

This collection is the standard, but it collects only a fraction of what McCay produced (this is a reprint of a 1905 volume, but the strip ran until 1910 or 1911). You can pick up the Checker "Early Works" volumes for a more complete run (in questionable quality) and there are more strips in the Canemaker book on McCay as well as the Fantagraphics "Daydreams and Nightmares" (which I highly recommend).

Checker has since produced a fine collection: The Saturdays which would make a great follow-up to this book.

When I first wrote this review in 2006, I pleaded for someone to do this strip justice with a comprehensive reprint. Little did I know that Ulrich Merkl was, in fact, working on one at the time. You can search the web for his "The Complete Dream of the Rarebit Fiend" ([...]). I highly reccommend it, though it is a bit pricey. Amazon now lists it here: The Complete Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Chodoba on January 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Winsor Mccay is considered one of the pioneers of cartooning AND animation. His drawing style is so architecturally fine tuned that each panel of his work is a piece of art itself! The Rarebit Fiend has a habit of eating toasted cheese before going to bed and consistently wakes up from a nightmare at the end of each piece. The nightmares vary from the slightly off-kilter, to the maddeningly surreal. This large paperback book reproduces a good number of these, and is well worth the price. Essential for fans of early comic strips.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though the last century has witnessed a supernova of scientific innovation, our fizzy watery brains still haven't revealed the mysteries of sleep and dreams. Whatever underlies these prickly enigmas, many embrace dreams as something fundamental, almost primordial, to their being. Some even claim those inchoate simmering movies that invade our senses through some wispy interior camera obscura expose our desires, fears, or our "real selves." Perhaps this seemingly inexplicable nature of our private films explains why a some one hundred year old comic strip, fashioned with simple pen and ink, can enrapture gadgetized and digitized twenty-first century people. "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," a newspaper comic strip that ran in the first decades of the twentieth century (1905 - 1911, 1913), penetrates the human psyche even today. It must have given unsuspecting nineteen-noughts incurable nightmares. Some strips may even disturb modern readers. The premise was both simple and brilliant: each strip depicts a horrid surreal nightmare that ends with the dreamer sitting up or plummetting out of bed while cursing the apparently psychotic properties of Welsh Rarebit (sometimes also called "Rabbit"). Each cursed dreamer has imbibed this cheesy concoction served over toast before retiring to bed. Not one of them questions the correlation between their gluttonous ingestion of this noxious substance and their subsequently well-deserved nightmare. Had a "National Welsh Rarebit Council" existed at the time, it would have declared outright war against this comic. History was kind, thankfully, because "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" stands as one of the medium's unquestioned masterpieces.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deborah M. Allen on May 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is no children's book of comics! When I showed it to my over twenty-one daughter she asked,"This used to published in a newspaper?" She loved it as much as I did. The "Far side," type humor is still funny today. Dover said they removed some of the ethic humor that would offend people today. It is sad to me that people can't laugh at themselves any more without getting offended. I would have loved to have seen all of the strips uncensored and formed my own opinion.
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By ramon cattaneo on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
wonderfull to have the book as the original one,with the incedibly imagination of mc cay at full,unbelievable it was createdsoog ago
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