Day #107: Impie and the Entrance of the Diamond Cave

"Little Nemo in Slumberland" dated October 27, 1907:


Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (SEPTEMBER 11, 2020):


Admittedly, this is not the most exciting of #LittleNemo strips. That said, there are still a few things worth discussing, so pet your lion's mane and saddle up cuz we're going for a trek through the precious gemstone mountains. - 1/18

Continuing (yet again) from where we left off in the last strip, Impie and the lion's are leading Nemo and Flip… somewhere? Not really sure where, though. - 2/18

As we move across the gutters in tier one, though, we get a sense that wherever we're going is mighty special… the rock face of panels 1 and 2 shift into silver, gold, and finally, diamonds. - 3/18

Even Flip can't help but notice how "it's getting beautiful" in panel 4 and we get some fun banter between Nemo and Flip about how to tell a real diamond apart from a fake one. - 4/18

The spatial composition of the top tier is really simplistic (regular slender vertical panels), but by nature of their height, they really demonstrate the massiveness of the canyon they're in and show off the splendor of the precious rocks they become! - 5/18

The diamond cave looks really amazing, and I just love the effect that the waterfall has on the colouring here… it's really playful in a way that’s both whimsical and not too outlandish, I think. - 6/18

The water and the diamonds, working together, seem to almost be creating their own light as the water reflects the glint of the diamonds and tints the water a greeny-yellow. - 7/18

In contrast to the well defined silver and gold rocks, the diamonds almost merge together into a unified massive diamond with a cave cut out of it. I find it very affective! - 8/18

Now, we also have to discuss a very uncomfortable moment in panel 2 when Flip, frustrated at not being able to understand Impie's communication, tells him to "talk United States". - 9/18

This is the same sort of blatantly racist language that I can (sadly) still imagine being used today. It's an action that privileges white supremacy by perpetuating the dominance of a system that systemically disenfranchises people of colour. - 10/18

We've talked a lot about the disappointing racial undertones in #LittleNemo, and I think, through these discussions, it's become clear/likely that McCay wasn't consciously racist, but rather that some of the inclusions in his work reinforced white supremacy nonetheless. - 11/18

I bring this up because I was recently introduced to Dr. @barnor_hesse's theory about the #EightWhiteIdentities: - 12/18 [INSERT IMAGE]

For me, particularly in terms of studying socio-historical artefacts, it's become quite important not to attribute racism to a *person*, but to recognize and denounce their *actions* when they reinforce structures of white supremacy. - 13/18

This exercise has helped me recognize that McCay's decisions and choices often reflected actions within the position of the "White Supremacist" (i.e. Flip's comment in this strip) and the "White Voyeur" (i.e. racial caricature of the jungle imps). - 14/18

To be clear, this is *not* me saying McCay was a "White Supremacist"; far from it. Instead, I'm simply saying that some of the decisions made for the strip actively reinforced systems of BIPOC oppression. Whether he meant to or not. - 15/18

From a "teaching with comics" pedagogy standpoint, I think there are some very important lessons to be learned here and connections that students can make to our increasingly volatile present moment. - 16/18 [INSERT IMAGE]

Who would've thought that over 100 years after it's publication, such a simplistic strip could be used to make such a powerful statement about our contemporary moment? - 17/18

This is my reading of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" #107. What's yours? - 18/18

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