Sunday Press presents Winsor McCay’s masterpiece in all its glory, on the web for the first time ever, in sequence, starting with the very first page. Over 100 years later, these Sunday comic strips, which influenced generations of artists, are as fresh and glorious as ever!
A BRIEF HISTORY
Zenas Winsor McCay was born sometime between 1867 and 1870, most likely in Canada, though his earliest years are not well documented. He quickly gained fame, as his natural talent as an artist and draftsman saw him rise quickly from dime museum sign painter, to prolific newspaper artist and cartoonist, to pioneer animator, even a vaudeville quick-draw entertainer. He started his serious illustration work Cincinnati, where he created his first Sunday feature, Tales of the Jungle Imps (1903), while also drawing illustrations for the original Life magazine. He moved on to the New York Herald where he created a number of small cartoon features, and then Little Sammy Sneeze, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, and his masterpiece, Little Nemo in Slumberland.
Little Nemo drew character inspiration from McCay’s son Robert, architecture and design from the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition in Chicago, and fantastical features from those found at the Coney Island Amusement park near his home in Brooklyn. But the brilliance of it all came from McCay himself, with his unsurpassed draftsmanship and boundless imagination that created a new language of comics, even anticipating aspects of modern cinema decades before appearing on the screen. There were three incarnations of Little Nemo, first at the Herald from 1905 to 1911, then at Hearst’s American from 1911 to 1914, and once again at the Herald from 1924 to 1927.
Winsor McCay died in 1934, ending his career drawing marvelously detailed editorial cartoons. Looking at the images presented in this online feature, it is no surprise that he once stated, “I have never been so happy as when I was drawing Little Nemo in Slumberland.”