1905-1911

1911-1914

1924-1927

WINNER!
2009 Will Eisner Award
Best Archival Reprint

Winsor McCay's
Little Nemo in Slumberland -
Many More Splendid Sundays
(Volume 2)

A "best of" collection from all three Little Nemo series, first in the New York Herald, then with the Hearst papers, then once again in the Herald-Tribune.

See Sample pages


Notes from the Editor

One of the most difficult things about publishing our first Little Nemo in Slumberland volume was trying to limit the selection to only 100 Sunday pages for the Centennial edition. In fact, we couldn't, so we ended up with 109 pages. One of the best things about that book's unequivocal and unanticipated success is the opportunity to restore and reprint another volume of Splendid Sundays, a volume to include some of those other wonderful pages.

The newspaper pages presented here include two incredible adventures from the first Little Nemo series (1905 - 1911) and a sampler of the best Sunday pages from the other two incarnations of Winsor McCay's timeless classic. In the Land of Wonderful Dreams was published from 1911 - 1914 and Little Nemo in Slumberland ran again from 1924 - 1927. The total series spans over twenty years and contains nearly 500 pages. Once again, we had to choose: this time we selected 120 Sundays.

When dealing with a collection of material this old, there are always wide variations among pages in the printing inks, color separation, and paper quality. These differences become magnified because of the time span of the work, different newspapers, and changing print processes. Restoration is a complex effort as we strive for continuity and a common appearance of these strips through the years.

As with previous Sunday Press titles, our goal is to recreate the experience of reading the Sunday comic pages as they originally appeared a century ago. Most of the natural flaws that appeared in the original form, such as off-register colors, ink smudges and paper imperfections, can still be seen. Those imperfections that have come about through time or neglect: stains, tears, and excessive yellowing have been digitally repaired. The paper for this book is uncoated woodfree, selected to duplicate the way colors appeared on newsprint, but without newsprint's ephemeral characteristics.

The result is another opportunity to enjoy Little Nemo in Slumberland as it was intended to be seen. Again, for the first time.





Little Nemo at Coney Island - excerpted from the introductory article by Jeffrey Stanton

Winsor McCay's   imaginative comic strips, especially Little Nemo in Slumberland , were influenced by the greatest amusement resort of its era, Brooklyn's Coney Island.   McCay, who had spent his adult life in the cities of Detroit, Cincinnati, and Chicago before taking a job as a cartoonist for the New York Herald in 1903, settled in Sheepshead Bay, a two mile trolley ride from Coney Island. The astounding delights of Coney Island had more in common with Little Nemo than entertainment for an emerging middle class. Many of the rides and attractions actually made their way into Winsor McCay's cartoon creations.

            Luna Park, designed by Frederic Thompson, was an enchanted fairyland forest of tall towers, minarets, and dome buildings, all in Oriental style that surrounded a central lagoon with a water slide on one end. Many of McCay's skylines resembled those of Luna Park, particularly the city at the North Pole seen in December 17, 2005. This similarity was most noticeable at night, when 250,000 electric light bulbs outlined the structures against the dark skies and reflected in the lagoon and canals.

  In its opening season, Luna Park's "Canals of Venice" attraction included a gondola ride past a rendition of the Plaza San Marco's tower and colonnaded buildings. Because Thompson remodeled his park extensively each season to install new attractions, resort visitors in following years would experience a similar indoor version, at least until the park's fiery demise in 1911. The canals wound through scattered Venetian sets along its route. Steeplechase Park nearby had an outdoor canal ride, sans scenery, where patrons rode in gondolas from 1901 - 1905. Since McCay had never visited Italy, the Luna Park Canals were the likely inspiration for his Venice-like skyline and gondola ride across the Slumberland canal on June 10 and 17, 1906.

Luna Park's owners loved elephants and used several for heavy lifting when the park was under construction. In 1904 they staged the "Dubar of Delhi," a spectacular parade with 300 colorfully costumed natives of India who rode 60 elephants, 65 camels, and 100 horses. Although the money-losing spectacle lasted only for the 1904 season, elephant rides could always be found at the park at least until the late 1920's. Similar natives, costumes and creatures appeared in Nemo's own ride atop an elephant in the famous pages of September 23 and 30, 1906.

Steeplechase Park, which was located several blocks west between Surf Avenue and the beach, had numerous fun-house attractions. The most often cited Little Nemo series, the stupefying wonders of "Befuddle Hall," is filled with Slumberland versions of Steeplechase Park. The Monte Carlo building contained the "Human Roulette Table," a large nearly flat spinning wheel where patrons tried to hang on, but were eventually flung off into the surrounding spinning bowl. Nemo faced a similar challenge in the strip of March 15, 1908. "The Laughing Mirror Gallery" was a room full of convex and concave mirrors that distorted the human form. Tall people became midgets in one mirror, and children became as tall as adults in another mirror - just like the reflections of Nemo, Flip, and Impie on February 2, 1908. Walkways nearby had floor grates containing hidden air blowers that blew woman's dresses above their waists to reveal undergarments. Nemo's crew in baggy pants and coats met a similar trick on March 1, 1908.

A model for Nemo's looping automobile ride with the Princess on October 7, 1906 might have been the vertical loop roller coaster called the "Loop the Loop" on Surf Avenue. Built in 1901 by Edwin Prescott, the ride's 35-foot-diameter steel elliptical-shaped loop eliminated the abrupt G-Forces to rider's necks, and the centrifugal force kept the cars on the track. Prescott charged the curious public 15 cents to watch, while adventurous daredevils rode free. But Dreamland's premiere circus act in 1904 may have been the real inspiration for the 1906 strip, in which the auto exits the open-ended loop and flies off into space. In the 1904 act, "Leaping the Gap," daredevil cyclist Dick Vrooman thrilled the spectators when, upon exiting a spiral vertical loop, he flew on his bicycle nearly 100 feet through the air before landing.

All the adventures on Coney Island were wonders to the public and an inspiration to many. Like a newspaper, these entertainments were within almost everyone's reach, and each Sunday, through Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland   these wonders came right to your door.










To Be Continued - excerpted from the introductory article by Ron Goulart

By chronicling the nocturnal adventures of a little boy, Winsor McCay helped the funnies grow up. Unlike most of his contemporaries, McCay's work has survived and his audience, like that of George Herriman, continues to grow; not just in America, but worldwide. He has been praised in many languages for the unequaled quality of his draftsmanship, the breadth of his imagination, and his tireless exploration of the world of dreams. In their own way, these explorations were as revolutionary as those of Sigmund Freud, and are certainly more entertaining! Comparatively little attention, however, is paid to the fact that McCay was a pioneer in the craft of continuity.

Influenced by McCay's pioneering work from 1905 through 1914, continuing stories in comic strips became a staple of the funny papers from the 1920's onward.

In the first decades of the 20 th century, most of the comics had simply started all over again each week. Little Jimmy, Buster Brown, and the Katzenjammer Kids got into a brand new mess as each Sunday dawned, and in the final panel they got their comeuppance. McCay, on the other hand, concocted ongoing stories that ran for weeks, often months. From the very first Sunday in 1905 where Nemo was summoned to Slumberland, the story progressed each week. Later adventures would take Nemo from The North Pole to the Seven Seas, from far-off jungles to the wildly unpredictable Befuddle Hall.

Although Nemo had a rude awakening in the final panel of each Sunday page, he returned to just about the same spot in his dream the following Sunday. Now and then, characters even made a point of reminding each other that the narrative would be continued. For instance, the Professor would say to Nemo "Next week I want you to teach him a lesson, my boy!"

Continuing stories required McCay to employ an odd sort of temporal logic. As with most other comics of the time, there was a call to connect the stories with current holidays and seasons. For instance, in this volume, Nemo and his traveling companions go over the falls on Sunday, June 27 th , 1909. But when he returns to his dream in what is shown as the following week it is the Fourth of July. Enormous fireworks are spouting out of the water he and the others were about to land in the week before. Of course, this all made perfect sense to Nemo. He could pick up his dream exactly where he left off, but he would add details of the day he had just lived through, or an event in his near future.

The legacy of the McCay adventure stories was widespread. Shortly after Nemo's first trips to Slumberland, Buster Brown, Sambo and others took trips around the world, and in 1919, Bringing Up Father went on a tour of the Continent. But it was not until the mid-1920s, as Nemo was coming to an end, that Sunday comic strips gave readers true continuing adventures. Led by the travels of Chester in The Gumps, strips such as Barney Google and Thimble Theater (Popeye) gave their continued stories detailed plotlines and character development, adding adventure while creating more sophisticated humor. By the 1930's, true serial adventures (evolving from pulp magazines as well as comics) shared equally the pages of the greatly enlarged comic sections. But by the 1970s, adventure strips became harder to find.

That legacy of continuity is well hidden in today's comics: but not to worry. Thanks to the increased number of publications reprinting classic comics, you can return next week anytime you like.