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Winsor McCay : His Life and Art Hardcover – November 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Rev Exp edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810959410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810959415
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland, introduced in the New York Herald in 1905, has been called the most beautiful comic strip ever drawn. A pioneer film animator (Gertie the Dinosaur and cartoonist whose works border on surrealist dream fantasies, McCay profoundly influenced artists ranging from Walt Disney to Maurice Sendak. At every turn, Little Nemo confronts irrational taboos and forbidden places; his Slumberland is a Freudian landscape. Another eerie strip, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, cheerfully portrays the irrationality and instability of everyday life. Sendak, in his introduction, rightly calls McCay "one of America's great fantasists." That this strange, elfin man (18671934) was also a political cartoonist who, at his best, rivaled Daumier is clear from animator-film historian Canemaker's authoritative, richly illustrated, oversize biography. A rare treat.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School McCay has been aptly described by Maurice Sendak as one of America's rare, great fantasists. Few artists have been as influential in the field of comic strips and animation as he has. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his surreal, groundbreaking fantasy strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Abrams has released a newly revised and expanded edition of the original 1987 biography. Canemaker's lucid account of the artist's life provides a comprehensive overview of his contribution to American popular culture and his achievements in comics, animation, theater, and advertising. The superb layout and design of this oversize edition are complemented by the copious illustrations (230 black-and-white and 40 full-color). The use of high-quality paper results in crisp, clear reproductions that are faithfully and accurately rendered. Overall, this is one of the most beautifully designed and well-written biographies of a cartoonist ever published. A pleasure to look at and read. Philip Charles Crawford, Essex High School, Essex Junction, VT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christian Hartwig on December 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It amazes me how little information and awareness there is of Windsor McCay and his work now when he was so well known during his lifetime. While thanks to the DVD collection of animation and the recently self-published (and now sold out) large scale book of Little Nemo strips, Little Nemo in Slumberland - So Many Splendid Sundays, more people are discovering him. All contemporary cartoonist are greatly indebted to him. John Canemaker has thankfully republished and updated the only biography of McCay.

Throughout the book there are rare photographs, posters and excellent reproductions of his Sunday comics pages. Canemaker does an excellent job of setting the context under which McCay traveled through his life and created his art. While the book does an excellent job of illuminating McCay's surroundings and events in his life it is unfortunately is not able to cast much light on the man himself. For whatever reasons Canemaker cannot or will not go out on a limb to discuss interior motives and thoughts of McCay. l finished the book knowing a lot about McCay's work but very little about what made him tick. With access to personal letters and other items of the estate I was hoping for more. Why did he allow Hurst to relegate him to an editorial cartoonist and give up his strips? How did he feel about it?

If fleshing out the character of McCay is the book's weak point, it's strength is the discussion of McCay's work. Canemaker pulls on his impressive knowledge of not only McCay's work but the history of comics and animation to provide some truly insightful commentary. His sometimes panel-by-panel discussion of some of McCay's more striking work was a pleasure to read and at times like taking a course on comic appreciation.

If you're looking for a riveting character biography, look elsewhere. But if your looking to find out more about Windsor McCay's contributions to comics and animation this volume is an excellent resourse.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thelonious on February 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you don't know McCay's work, check out "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" and "Little Nemo in Slumberland" (not the movie). His art was visually compelling and psychologically savvy. Nemo was the more elaborate, with plenty of grand vistas and architectural wonders while Rarebit was visually spare, but more adult in content. All his work has a marvelously surreal sense about it, heightened by the detailed realism of his style - characters exit the confines of the strip or discuss the cartoonist's failings with the reader, landscapes and characters metamorphose into new configurations in ways that are perhaps best described as psychedelic.

This book presents a biography of this strange and gentle man as well as a generous sampling of his better work, including more obscure feaures and his stunning editorial cartoons (more sweeping panoramas and vast architectural wonders). Also recommended is the Fantagraphics volume "Daydreams and Nightmares" which offers up another good cross-section of his work (except Nemo, which is collected elsewhere).

A true American original, it's a shame more people don't know and appreciate his work.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A debt of gratitude is owed to John Cannemaker for his comprehensive book on Winsor McCay, and his many artistic endeavors. McCay, whose vivid perception has inspired artists and animators for decades, is captured in this exhaustive study. A rich range of his art complements many personal photos of McCay and his family, most notably perhaps, his son Robert, who was the inspiration for Little Nemo.
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By queenartist on January 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The biography and life works of incredible artist and illustrator Windsor McCay is just a phenomninal representation of his life and works and should be read by anyone interested in his art. I thoroghly enjoyed it.
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