Day #387: The Princess is Kidnapped by Lilliputian Brigands

"In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" dated June 08, 1913:


Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (JULY 8, 2021):


There is a lot going on in this strip… it's frenetic and chaotic… the way that McCay depicts the characters rushing around and moving quickly from location to location creates that feeling well. - 1/16

But it's juxtaposed nicely by the beginning where the Princess is sleeping in the hammock. The action begins fairly quickly after that, but the "calm before the storm" opening sequence is a good choice, I think. - 2/16

Of course, that moment of repose fits well within the narrative McCay is trying to tell… another kidnapping narrative (we've seen a few of these over the years) that focuses exclusively on the Princess this time. - 3/16

When the gang arrives to find the Princess missing, it's Impie that actually finds the ransom note nailed to the tree trunk. - 4/16

This moment is interesting because he speaks again for what must be the first time in months… of course, it's only to say he "can't read". - 5/16

Now, though it's a moment that highlights Impie's otherness through language/inability, it is also a moment where Impie clearly plays a vital and important role. He finds the ransom note and, though we don't see it, presumably tells the group that it is there. - 6/16

Would someone else have seen it eventually? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not? - 7/16

Impie's able to contribute to the search for the Princess here (and throughout) which I do think has some meaningfulness. Of course, it's undercut a little bit by having him fall in panel 5 just so Nemo can make a comment and readers can giggle. - 8/16

Panel 6 sees the entrance of the Native American Lilliputian who is, as usual and to be expected at this point, depicted in stereotypical fashion complete with a feather. Beyond that, he is linguistically othered by the broken language he uses. - 9/16

He also plays the stereotypical Native American role within the narrative as guide. He brings them to the volcano where the brigands have taken the Princess, but won't go in. In total, he appears for three panels and is gone. - 10/16

McCay's handling of Native Americans caricature is less frequent than his handling of black caricature, but it is certainly worth noting when it crops up and this is about as stereotypical a depiction as it gets. - 11/16

When the rescuers get into the volcano we see that the brigands, though kidnappers, are anti-smoking. Maybe I'm wrong… but I feel like a cigar wouldn't do much harm inside a volcano… it certainly wouldn't make it erupt, would it? - 12/16

So, the moment that follows when the Princess, who is being kidnapped, asks Flip to put out his cigar instead of saying something like "THANK YOU FOR COMING NOW SAVE ME!" is just ludicrously funny. - 13/16

Even the brigands seem to be terrified that Flip's cigar will ignite the volcano… Of course, Flip calls their bluff and it seems to work? One of the brigands does declare "we'll give her back to you.". - 14/16

It'll be interesting to see whether or not McCay builds a continuity with this strip, or whether it will simply be a one-off. - 15/16

This is my reading of "In the Land of Wonderful Dreams" #387. What's yours? - 16/16