Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Little Nemo’s Big New Dreams by Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl, Chris Stevens, and forewords by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly.
Little Nemo’s Big New Dreams is one of a number of books published in recent decades in homage to Windsor McKay’s seminal newspaper comic Little Nemo. McKay’s work, now well over a century old, is notable for its inspirational effect on recent comics creators from Vittorio Giardino and Brian Bolland to Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, and Neil Gaiman. Over thirty other artists and writers are represented here, each contributing a single full-page work on the pattern of the original McKay compositions.
Contrary to both promises of the title (“Big” and “New”), this book is actually a reduced-scale abridgment of the earlier oversized art book Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. The present format has taken the 16″ x 21″ broadsheet-sized pages of the original, and turned them ninety degrees to spread across two modern comic-book sized pages as a 10″ x 13.5″ image. This level of reduction keeps the pages quite legible; the most significant loss is the horizontal interruption from the binding between the pages, which does not always coincide with a gutter between the comics panels. The object of this version was to create a book that ordinary consumers could own, with a list price below $20.
There is a wonderful amount of variety represented here, along a full spectrum from conservative pastiches carrying forward the themes of McKay’s story to radical reinventions evidently founded in the actual sleeping dreams of the creators. Perhaps my favorite pieces representing each extreme are Cole Closser’s “Little Flip in Slumberland” (34-5) for the former and the contribution of Bishakh Kumar Som (48-9) for the latter. Splitting the difference are pieces like the deliciously gothic “Last Night I Dreamed I Went to Slumberland Again” by Jamie Tanner (40-1).
I had unusual and vivid dreams after reading this book! [via]