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Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream Hardcover – December 9, 2014
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"More than just a book, this is a treasure--the stuff that dreams are made of." -Publishers Weekly
"Winsor McCay might blush to see the awe-inspiring tribute his successors have assembled...these comics, like McCay's, are more enjoyable than the sweetest slumber." -NPR
"These loving and lovely tributes...end up being an essential companion to McCay's strips themselves." -The New York Times
"It's comic book jazz...a book busting with artistic treasure." -Sequart
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The colors range from black and white, to pastels, to vivid, glorious color. The pages are bright white and matte finished rather than glossy but of very high quality. They give the feel of newsprint without its murkiness. every illustration leaps off the page.
Perhaps the most surprising thing was to compare these new works with McCay's. The originals hold up remarkably well. Visually, McCay laid out much of the technical work of these newer artists. He was already experimenting with pacing and panel lengths and borderless sequences over 100 years ago.
Some updates were fascinating. One cartoonist had a grown up Nemo consigned to an insane asylum. Another tracked the lifetime of the dreaming Nemo through parenthood, old age and death, implying that life itself passed like a dream. Several cartoonists updated the look of Flip and Imp which are seen as racial stereotypes. My favorite one of these was by Cliff Chiang who has a realistically-drawn Imp (looking almost like a young Jean-Michel Basquiat) holding a plastic mask of the caricature face ("How silly," he says) and then Flip and Imp proceed to find Nemo's creator asleep at his board. The only thing better than dreams..." says Imp -- standing in for Cliff Chiang, the artist himself, "is making them come true." It sent shivers down my spine because there is probably no better summary of creativity and the creative process.
There is some very limited accompnying text, but you should not think of this as a major critical text or exploration of McCay in an academic sense.
The musing on McCay's work and meaning are almost all artistic. Each artist responding in his or her own way to the original works.
The Introduction of the book tries to make the case for McCay being a genius in comics form -- which I think is true -- but it lacks adequate time,space, and examples to address the issue meaningfully.
The point about McCay's genius is more strongly made if you can read this book side-by-side with McCay's originals. When you compare each page, artist to artist, there is almost a dialogue going on.
Finally, this book is by far the largest physical book I have ever purchased. It is bigger than many coffee tables. It is bigger than most Taschen books. It even dwarfs the Taschen blockbuster "75 years of DC Comics" by Paul Levitz. I have no idea where I'm going to put this monstrosity. But I am happy to have the "problem"!!!
I have never seen such a beautiful book. Ever.
The sixe is nothing short of colossal, and more than a little overwhelming, but it showcases the art magnificently. Every page is something special, even when the specific artist on it may not be your cup of tea.
Be prepared to NOT fit this onto your bookshelf unless you already have 'Nemo sized' books. This thing is massive, but will go very nicely next to older Nemo books of the new one from Taschen that just released.
An essential book for ANYONE that enjoys Little Nemo or would like to jump in.