Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dreams Of A McCay Fiend

Saturday Leftover Day.

Recently I ran across some Windsor McCay material that is not very often seen. McCay is most well known as the artist of Little Nemo, Hungry Henrietta and my personal favorite (and least reprited) A Pilgrim's Progress. He is also known as The Father of Animation, since the handmade animation shorts he did at the begining of the last century were an inspiration to many (as well as miles away in quality from anything procused until years after his death). For the last part of his life he did editorial drawings for the Hearst papers, which are as outdated as they are beautifully drawn. One of his most fanous strips was Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend, depicting the insane nightmares of people who ate to much rarebit before going to sleep. In 2007 the German fan and collector Ulrich Merkl published a huge volume collecting most of these black and white strips, complete with a cd disc tha reprodues all of them as well as many related pieces, some great commentary and comparisons with movies and cartoons which took their inspiration from this great strip. Included with the extra's were a series of strips McCay did about five years after the Rarebit series, alternatively called It's Only A Dream and Dream of a Lobster Fiend. It's from this last series I found a few, as well as an add for a movie with the same name and subject from the same period. I don't know if the movie was inspired by McCay or if McCay was inspired by the movie (not fearing a lawsuit, since they movie director clearly took his earlier strip as an inspiration - and maybe even taking the movie as a chance to take up his own strip for another syndicate or newspaper, this time signing it with his own name instead of the pseudonym Silas he had used on the original). It is even possible he was asked to do the series as a sort of promotion or to change the name of It's Only A Dream to Dream Of A Lobster Fiend for the same reason. Anyway, he is te material. I also checked on Amazon, but Ulrich's rediculously low priced book is still available there. That surprises me because it had only a low print run. It should be in every American library and in the collection of any serious fan of the art form.

March 28 1912:

April 23 1912:

April 26 1912:

April 29 1912:

0ay 1 1912:

May 8 1912:

Another May 8 1912:

May 19 1912:

May 12 1912:

May 27 1912:

May 1912:

May 1912:

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