what the world is saying about
LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND - SPLENDID SUNDAYS
This book's a dream. A slumbering giant has stirred and walks among us--it's that hot new artist ,Winsor McCay. You literally can't imagine what loving production and full broadsheet sized scale have wrought! A testimonial (please don't confuse this with "hype."): I have every book of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo ever published, I even have a few actual Sunday pages, but I tell you, it's as if I'd never seen Nemo before! Certainly never read it. (The "writing" in Nemo, even the lettering has been underestimated--it was always too hard to squint and absorb it even in so-called "oversized" reproductions.) Perhaps you THINK you know Nemo--that it's easy to extrapolate from what you've seen and go "Uh-huh. I get it. It's bigger." Uh-uh. You DON'T get it--but if towering aesthetic achievement interests you at all, you gotta get it! I mean, it's as if somebody showed you a table-top model of the Chrysler building and said, "It's just like that, only bigger." Or if you saw a refrigerator magnet reproduction of a Van Gogh painting and figured you've seen Van Gogh.... I dunno, for an artist as concerned with shifts in scale and meticulous attention to detail as McCay was, this heartbreakingly beautiful book is the reinvention of Winsor McCay--as if he was being published for the first time. Only better.
--Art Spiegelman, writer, artist, comics historian, Maus, In the Shadow of No Towers
It's truly incredible. What can I say? In a single book you've more or less rethought the whole "culture" of comic strip reprints, and now everything else looks really tepid and mediocre by comparison. I'd always thought I understood the importance of original scale to these pages, but I guess I really didn't, and though I tend towards the critical, there's not a single thing I'd want different in this book -- it's perfect through and through, from the conception to the page selection to the essays to the reproduction to, particularly, the design, which is standard-setting in its tastefulness and sophistication, capturing the dignified excitement of McCay's art without imposing a "modern" sensibility to it ... while at the same time not trying to imitate his work directly, either. My compliments to you and everyone who worked on it! Every time I look at it I get inspired; really, this is a wonderful thing, and if you don't get the grand recognition you deserve for it, then there is simply no justice in the world. It's the "book of the year." This is an astounding thing you've made, almost like you've invented a new way of seeing, or something. Maybe you should patent it. . . you've really contributed more to the appreciation of comics with this than I think maybe you were even hoping to ... it's like going back in time, or seeing a landmark building cleaned and restored to the clarity of the day it was built .
--Chris Ware, writer, artist, editor, Jimmy Corrigan, Walt and Skeezix, Acme Novelty Library
This beautifully done book is a work of art in itself, and a gift to all classic comic strip fans as well as to any art lover. A monument to man's imagination, McCay's masterpiece, which never ceases to amaze me, has never looked better. Kudos to Peter Maresca. May this be the first of many!
--Patrick McDonnell, cartoonist, Mutts
I've waited forever to see Little Nemo as it should be seen, and this makes it possible. What a pleasure. What a treat! The sheer joy and exuberance McCay must have felt doing this strip becomes evident in this volume like never before. It's just amazing!
--Matt Groening, cartoonist, Life in Hell, The Simpsons
Newsprint tearsheets got NEMO through its first 100 years. This stunning volume should propel it well into the future.
--Garry Trudeau, cartoonist, writer, Doonesbury
"The book is incredibly beautiful, it's perfectly, lovingly designed, and best of all it contains some of the most astonishing, delightful, magical graphic art ever made"
--Tony Kushner, playwright, screenwriter, Angels in America, Munich
To see this awesome labor of love and of insight into the creativity of Winsor McCay is to know it has to become part of your library and your life. Peter Maresca has wrought the definitive showcase of McCay's Little Nemo in this unsurpassable volume, a basic book of reference for the ages. Its large, full color pages mirror the original newsprint size of the classic graphic work, an inexhaustible poster display of over a hundred of the most memorable pages and stories ever limned by McCay, to share their wonder with you and your family and friends for long ages ahead.
--Bill Blackbeard, writer, historian, The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, founder of The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art
Congratulations on a truly beautiful and creative showcase of one of America's great works of art. You have done popular culture historians and McCay fans everywhere a great favor by preserving this unique work in such a sensitive and loving manner.
--John Canemaker, animator, professor/Director of Animation, NYU; author, Winsor McCay - His Life and Times
Having looked at it, the new Little Nemo In Slumberland book is every bit as gorgeous as inspiring and as necessary as I had hoped. Yes, it is very expensive, but it is also large enough that, with the addition of legs, it would make a fine table, and, were you reading it on a boat and you were shipwrecked, you could cling to it until you were washed up on some deserted island somewhere, assuming that the desert island was near enough that you got washed up before the pages got waterlogged. And then you'd have something to read on your desert island, or even to make a small house out of. Which makes it a real bargain.
--Neil Gaiman, writer, Neverwhere, Sandman
Ideally, the Sunday comics is a magic carpet ride. You lay on the floor on your stomach-- half on and half off the paper-- and the colorful drawings take you somewhere. In the 1950s I remember comics taking me to the wild crime scenes of Dick Tracy; the prehistoric vistas of Alley Oop; the tropics of Captain Easy and the rustic sites of Lil' Abner and Snuffy Smith. In the 60s and beyond the destination of the Sunday funnies became more sparce--the wry shoreline of BC and the inevitable cell of the hairy prisoner in the Wizard of Id. And finally the destination has become the inevitable punchline at the end of a row of talking heads. Peter Maresca's Little Nemo makes me think that the Sunday Funnies of today have headed away from the light and into a bleak nowheresville by comparison.
--Gary Panter, writer, artist, Jimbo
Peter's book is such an incredible artifact ... just opening it is a new experience! I've never seen a book of that size.. now imagine it being filled by 110 giant pages of the most brilliant artwork ever produced in the comic strip medium, printed with such care and expertise that it offers a perfect facsimile of the original Herald Tribune material -- except for the fact that the vibrant and subtle hues of Ben Day colours are now printed on strong, beautiful paper. So, even if you thought you knew Little Nemo inside out, believe me, every page represents a thrilling FIRST for the 21 st century reader. Not only can you bask in McCay's vibrant palette like never before and experience his immersive compositions at exactly the intended scale, any page will also present you with a dozen yet unrecognized subtleties in the way McCay chose to draw part of one scene or let the color itself draw some backgrounds, playing on innumerable atmospheric and lighting effects... I can't even begin to describe the myriad surprises that lie hidden in those pages. Art Nouveau has always been an holistic concept where the artist likes to focus on the minutest detail with the same intensity of invention as he applies to the whole, and clearly McCay was very much on that wavelength. For the first time after 100 hundred years, at last, a perfect edition in book form lets the reader experience Little Nemo's wonderland -- as if had been drawn yesterday.
--Thierry Smolderen, comics historian, writer, McCay
Some things are worth waiting for. Sweetest of all this week’s treasures, though, has been the time I've been able to steal to drink in the enormity and immaculate artistry of Winsor McCay: Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays!. Maresca's selection of McCay color 1905-1910 Sunday pages is stunning; his editorial decisions are a delight, the text pieces punctuating the selections are worthwhile, and the color reproduction makes full use of the state-of-the-art technology available to provide the richest, closest-to-the-source reproduction of the chosen Sunday pages imaginable. But the almost overwhelming power of this new collection is due primarily due to the key decision to reproduce the Sunday pages in their full dimensions -- that's right, this tome measures over 21" x 16". It's a monster book, a thing of beauty, and an absolutely essential addition to any devoted comics library.
--Stephen Bissette, writer, artist, Swamp Thing
Settle into a comfortable chair, spread open the pages of this colossal book and be transported back to the glory days of the Sunday funnies! Peter Maresca has lovingly restored more than one hundred episodes of Winsor McCay's groundbreaking newspaper feature, Little Nemo in Slumberland , and reprinted them in their original size and color so that 21st century readers can appreciate the stunning artistry of this 100-year-old graphic masterpiece. Looking at McCay's drawings as if for the first time, I soon found myself wondering, "What other comic strips deserve to be showcased in this spectacular format?" Little Nemo in Slumberland - Splendid Sundays 1905 - 1910 will, hopefully, be the first of many collections to recapture the magic of classic American comic strips, reproduced the way they first appeared to newspaper readers many years ago.
--Brian Walker, comics historian, The Comics Before 1945, cartoonist, Hi and Lois
I want to say a few ecstatic words about one of the most spectacular publishing projects to come to fruition in recent years, namely Peter Maresca's stunning new hardcover book, Winsor McCay's Little Nemo in Slumberland: Splendid Sundays, 1905-1910. The first of the book's numerous virtues is its size: measuring 16x21 inches, it reprints Little Nemo at a size that approaches if it does not, in fact, duplicate exactly the size McCay's legendary strip originally appeared at. The second stunner is that the strips are reproduced in the manner that I have always favored: the book's pages were shot from the newspaper pages that printed the strip. What we see here is what we would see if we were reading Little Nemo in our Sunday paper in 1905-1910. This is how vintage comics should be reprinted. Not re-jiggered and touched up and imposed upon a slippery white paper. Not reconstructed. Reconstructed artwork is invariably muddied and botched, no matter how very careful and expert the re-toucher may be. Reconstructed artwork is different artwork. Better to use what the cartoonist left us--the strip as published during his lifetime. And the artwork should be reproduced on paper that approaches the unshiny state of the pulpy newsprint that the pages were first printed on. The most exacting reproduction that can be achieved in re-coloring the original turns into but a garish glimpse of the glory that once was when it's published on slick paper. Maresca, in short, has done everything right here: he published the strips on non-glare paper, slightly off-white like the original newsprint. What a marvelous book! Stupendous -- a genuine treat!
--R.C. Harvey, writer, historian, The Comics Journal, The Genius of Winsor McCay
I've been teaching McCay's work for almost 35 years in major research universities via slides and video projections of scans from reprints, and I can truly say that this is the first time I've actually "seen" them! Even though the projected images were much larger, the tangible feel, look, and smell of the paper and ink used to produce the book so lovingly have created "instant nostalgia" for me. It's as though these indeed are actually the dreams I've had of the Little Nemo strips all along but couldn't locate in the physical world. You've created an ontological displacement of McCay's work and magically restored to the process of reproduction the "aura" that Walter Benjamin argued had been sucked out of originals by their very reproducibility. You have reinvested the original reality of the art as inherent reproduction in ways that even the original readers couldn't quite have experienced, I think. McCay must have been smiling somewhere as these books were finally printed and bound--his vision has been fulfilled.
--Donald Ault, Professor of English, University of Florida
. . . "Little Nemo in Slumberland," undoubtedly his [McCay's] best-known comic strip work, has been hailed by readers and critics for decades, leading to several reprintings. But none of these collections, no matter how carefully selected or produced they might be, have managed fully to convey one of the most impressive aspects of the comic: McCay's exploitation of the entire newspaper page to produce both stunning, expansive vistas and delicate, detailed miniature images - often on the same page. Until now.
This is . . . a book so absolutely stunning in every detail that it literally left me speechless. Editor Peter Maresca has produced what can only be called a labor of love: a hardcover, full-scale collection of 110 "Nemo" pages, commemorating the strip's centennial. . . I've read all of the strips here before, some of them literally dozens of times; but seeing them again in this book was like discovering brand-new territory, an oasis in a desert you'd never before realized you inhabited. To be able to linger over these images, absorbing all of the minute details in the drawing and the often amazing subtleties of the coloring, is a luxury I'd never dreamed of. I can't begin to comprehend all of the technical issues Maresca had to confront to produce such an exquisite volume; but whatever he went through, it was more than worth it.Fans of comic art the world over owe him a debt of gratitude which none of us can ever repay individually. A book this significant belongs in every library in the land.
I've included "Little Nemo" in many of the courses I've taught over the years. After explaining to my students that the original printed pages were about twice the size of the Dover edition, I've confessed that I truly envied the strip's original readers - especially the kids of, say, six years old - who had the privilege to almost literally "fall into" Nemo's world, who could have their entire field of vision filled with McCay's imagination. Today, reading Little Nemo: So Many Splendid Sundays , I finally felt like I was six years old.
--Gene Kannenberg, Jr., Professor of English, University of Houston
"I certainly wasn't prepared for this! It'd be impossible to even dream up such an absolutely incredible object--just stunning . . . it truly is like you've never seen these strips before--to experience them as they no doubt existed in McCay's ideal world is nothing short of a revelation."
--Todd Hignite, editor, publisher of Comic Art magazine
"The most important comic book of the year. Perhaps the most important cultural event in comics for a very long time. You cannot just put this book amongst the others. You keep it out on the table."
--Benoît Peeters, writer, editor, publisher of Little Nemo, 1905-2005, un siècle de rêves