Day #108: Little Nemo and the Diamon... Woah!

"Little Nemo in Slumberland" dated November 03, 1907:


Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (SEPTEMBER 12, 2020):


This strip is hilarious and a quiet masterpiece. I think it's really easy to miss the magic of this one, but once you see it, it really pulls the entire thing together. - 1/16

So, let's start with the most important question: Does Impie slip? In panel 3, Flip says, "No! He did not slip and neither am I slipping!"… But we're clearly seeing his feet propel from under him; he's in motion to go straight into the water. - 2/16

So, is he just being deliberately obtuse? Embarrassed by the fact that he slipped? Or is something else happening here… I think that there is something else entirely going on. - 3/16

Notice that at no point throughout the entire strip are all three of them standing on a diamond. It's only *ever* two at a time. - 4/16

By the time the strip begins, all three characters are off the shore, but Impie seems to fall just as Flip gets on his diamond. Then Flip "slips" when Impie climbs back up, and Nemo falls as soon as Flip does the same. - 5/16

This makes me believe that there is some sort of magic that allows only a certain number of people to stand on the diamonds at one time… almost like a child's version of an Indiana Jones trap! - 6/16

After seeing his friends fall Nemo asks, "what ails you fellows? Can't you stand up?". Flip, who doesn't like to be the butt end of a joke, comes back with a very peculiar response… - 7/16

He says, in panel 5, "Well! You can laugh at yourself now. Take a good one." This happens as he climbs up onto his diamond and Nemo begins falling into the water. - 8/16

Sure, it's possible that this cause and effect wasn't what McCay intended, but when you couple it with Flip's comment (who not only refutes that he and Impie slipped, but also seems to have figured out the gag by panel 5), you can see how it *looks* intentional. - 9/16

And this is why I think it's brilliant. A kid gets a laugh seeing the characters fall and adults get aesthetic pleasure in identifying the mechanism of the falling gag. At least, that's what I experienced; excitement that I'd noticed a detail obscured by the joke itself. - 10/16

Who knows. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit and this was an all too obvious observation… Feel free to deflate my ego a bit here! I'm genuinely interested in other perceptions about this! - 11/16

There's a peculiar choice in Flip's facial colouring in this strip; the green has given way to a yellow… is this just the reflection of the water? - 12/16

It isn't a material/reproduction issue; I checked Taschen, as well. His green face likely wouldn't have worked against the green water, so maybe a production choice, but also a decent storyworld explanation, so I don't mind it. - 13/16

Finally, I'll just mention that the Queen of Diamonds reminds me of Crystalette from way back in strip #6 (November 19, 1905). If you recall, Nemo broke her because he couldn't resist kissing her: - 14/16 [INSERT IMAGE]

I think that it's quite fitting then, that he has run into the Queen of Diamonds here; a mineral so strong that there's no chance of breaking her… Suddenly the trio's discussion about diamond's strength in the last strip seems less random to me… - 15/16

This is my reading of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" #108. What's yours? - 16/16

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